Milwaukee Repertory Theater Receives $500,000 Challenge Grant
The Windhover Foundation - founded by the late Harry and Betty Quadracci and continued today by their children - has issued a $500,000 challenge grant as part of Milwaukee Repertory Theater's ongoing capital campaign to raise funds to repair its sinking, 115-year-old building. The announcement was made Saturday evening at The Rep's 60th Anniversary Gala.
The Rep announced in February that its historic building at 108 E. Wells St. had experienced significant settling that required approximately $1.75 million in repairs. As part of the Windhover Foundation grant, each dollar raised toward repairing the building will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $500,000. If successful, the challenge grant will raise $1 million. That support, in addition to individual contributions and previously announced grants from the Herzfeld Foundation and the United Performing Arts Fund, will cover the entire cost of the project.
"My mother always said Milwaukee was America's best-kept secret because of all the wonderful things the city has to offer," said Elizabeth Quadracci-Harned, the Quadraccis' daughter and a member of The Rep's Board of Trustees. "My parents had a strong commitment to Milwaukee and my siblings and I intend to build upon that commitment. The Windhover Foundation is thrilled to be able to propose this challenge grant as a catalyst for preserving and enhancing The Rep, which is a critically important downtown Milwaukee center for cultural excellence, performance and learning. We are looking forward to enthusiastic participation from others who are similarly dedicated to The Rep and a vibrant downtown Milwaukee."
Judy Hansen, The Rep's Board president, said the challenge grant reflects the Quadracci family's longstanding appreciation and love for both the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
"The Windhover Foundation grant will ensure that the gift Betty and Harry gave us, the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater, will stand for generations to come," Hansen said. "For that, all of us who know and love The Rep will be forever grateful to Betty and Harry's greatest accomplishments - their four children, Richard, Kathryn, Joel and Elizabeth." Richard Quadracci-Ewens serves on The Rep's Board, as well.
Milwaukee Repertory Theater's historic building unites all its production shops, theaters and administrative offices. The original portion of the building dating back to 1897 is supported by hundreds of wooden piles that have begun to deteriorate. The deterioration began with a drop in Milwaukee's water table, which exposed the wooden piles to air and made them susceptible to rot. The settling poses no current threat to the public or Rep employees, but a permanent fix is necessary.
Work on the repairs is expected to begin this summer, Hansen said.