Meet the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s Senior Manager of Development, Emily Ponkratz. Like many employed and volunteering at the Center, Emily has always had a deep love for the arts. She also grew up in Appleton, forming a long-standing and continuing history with your Fox Cities P.A.C. As the Senior Manager of Development, Emily is one of the faces of the Center, forming relationships with donors and patrons throughout the community over a shared appreciation and support for the live performing arts. A recent focus of Emily’s has been on the Center’s 2023 Year-End Giving Campaign. Through this campaign, Emily and various Center teams are sharing with the community how people can “unlock the spirit of giving” Beetlejuice: The Musical-style and donate to support students in mission-based programs including the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program, Frank C. Shattuck Performing Arts Touch the Hearts of Students (P.A.T.H.S.) Program, Family First Nights® Program, Community First Community Engagement Series and the Amcor Education Series.
Click here to donate to the Year-End Giving Campaign until December 31. Every dollar donated to the Fox Cities P.A.C.’s Year-End Giving Campaign will be doubled, up to $10,000, thanks to a gift match from Kessler-Fahrenkrug Funeral Home.
Pursuing her artistic dreams, Emily attended UW-Stevens Point studying music and graduating with her B.A. in Arts Management. When looking for an internship in the arts industry for her education requirements, Emily turned to your Fox Cities P.A.C. She loved her time as the new intern for the development department, spending the summer of 2015 working on data clean up and mailings, as well as the Annual Partner Cookout. “I was absolutely thrilled to be at the Center,” Emily commented. “Most people I’ve met in the fundraising world just fell into the role, and that’s how it happened for me. I was a theater kid and loved music. Fundraising to support the arts is a great fit with those passions and the education I pursued.”
After graduating from UW-Stevens Point, Emily was asked if she would take a full-time staff role supervising the team of student event coordinators. She worked on bigger events like concerts with Juicy J, Jessie McCartney and Panic at the Disco. She also was able to attend talent-buying conferences and oversee Homecoming Programming. “It was a really cool experience, but the Fox Cities P.A.C. was really more of my calling,” Emily shared. “I was drawn to the development team and my role.” In March 2017, Emily returned to the Center as the donor services coordinator, eventually working her way up to senior manager of development in 2023.
For Emily, her day-to-day can look a little different. “I am often brainstorming new ideas for fundraising campaigns, communications or event planning, which is fun,” she explained. Sometimes Emily’s responsibilities require her to work on her own, drafting plans, and other times the work is interdepartmental. Emily works frequently with various Center teams including marketing, creative services, production and facilities, guest experience and ticketing. “I get to spend a lot of time with my co-workers, which is really great,” Emily said.
“I feel a great sense of pride talking to any one of our patrons and donors; you can tell how much they love their Fox Cities P.A.C. and how connected they feel. That is a testament to the staff and all the opportunities that are created for them to engage with the Center.” Referring specifically to the development team’s big projects and events, Emily mentioned how she’s proud of the work done for the Year-End Giving Campaign, The Gala, various stewardship events, and the variety of donor communications. “Looking at all the compounded work, it’s really wonderful to see that over time,” Emily shared.
Written by Philomena Dorobek, Brand Storyteller
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center