Fox Cities P.A.C. announces gift match for Act 2 Fund

APPLETON, WI (August 17, 2021) — The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is announcing a 1:1 gift match that will allow donations made to the Center’s Act 2 Fund to make twice the impact on the way to raising the $500,000 needed to continue recovering from the negative financial impact of COVID-19.

Thanks to the generous support of community leaders Kate and Tom Burgess, Ryan and Marissa Downs, Angelo and Jennifer Ninivaggi/Plexus Corp., Kathi Seifert and Cathie Tierney/Community First Credit Union, donations to the Act 2 Fund will be matched dollar for dollar up to $250,000, which will help meet the Act 2 Fund goal.

“By offering this incredible match, these community leaders hope to encourage patrons, theater enthusiasts and others to give what they can and know they are making twice the impact in supporting their beloved Fox Cities P.A.C.,” said Act 2 Fund Chair Beth Flaherty. “After a prolonged intermission, the Center is still looking to recover financially and by completing this match and raising the $500,000 needed, the organization can continue to focus on new and exciting ways for the Center’s mission to make an impact on our community.”

While the Center prepares to welcome audiences back, it continues to navigate the negative financial impact of the pandemic. With the loss of performances, events and patron services, and therefore all associated earned revenue for nearly 18 months, the Center quickly reduced expenses by $2.5 million including furloughing 84% of staff, renegotiating contracts, transitioning to remote work and more. Even with reduced expenses, making health and safety upgrades to prepare for reopening and delivering the Center’s mission virtually resulted in $5.89 million in expenses over the course of the building’s closure. Private contributions from generous businesses and individuals, and relief funding, including government funding, have helped narrow the gap, but due to the sustained financial impact of the pandemic, the Center is actively raising $500,000 toward the Act 2 Fund. With this match, the community is asked to help raise $250,000 to be matched by five generous donors to close the gap.

“The community has been so generous in supporting the Fox Cities P.A.C. through the extended intermission, allowing us to provide connection and inspiration to our community as we delivered our mission virtually,” said Fox Cities P.A.C. president and CEO Maria Van Laanen. “We are grateful for this opportunity for matching funds to help us toward our Act 2 Fund goal and continue to deliver exceptional live experiences through programs and performances that engage, educate and inspire our community.”

The Center has worked diligently to secure financial resources through federal, state and local programs including the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, two PPP loans (one of which has been forgiven), two grants from the State of Wisconsin, grant funding from Arts Midwest, the Wisconsin Arts Board and the National Endowment for the Arts, a grant from the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau and several grants from the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.  In addition, individuals and businesses have supported the Act 2 Fund since it was announced in 2020. While each grant and donation has helped the Center cover necessary expenses related to virtual delivery of the mission, the community’s help is still needed to close the $500,000 gap.

More information about the Center's financial story can be found here.

Throughout the extended intermission, the Center remained committed to delivering its mission safely. The Community First Community Engagement Series held virtual and, more recently, in-person activities that celebrated diverse music and art, shared inspirational stories in the weekly The Show Must Go On Show and reached patrons of all ages and backgrounds from Northeast Wisconsin and beyond. The all-virtual Amcor Education Series continued to educate students through the arts and connected educators with arts-integrated teaching tools. Educators from 22 schools participated in monthly Teachers’ Lounge events and the Education Series had more than 16,000 students engage in an arts experience. The Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program welcomed a record number of 24 high schools, impacting more than 1,400 students from nine counties throughout Northeast Wisconsin. More information about the Center’s virtual mission is available at

The Act 2 Fund was created as a way to provide needed financial support to help offset the negative financial impact of the pandemic during the Center's nearly 18 month forced intermission.

Donations made to the Act 2 Fund ensure the future financial health of the organization by covering the costs incurred as the Center continues to deliver its mission, prepares the building to welcome audiences back in person for its second act, and begins to replenish the funds used in the emergency shutdown.

Donors to this fund make a direct impact on the future of the organization and support the power of live performing arts experiences and the programs and performances that have made a difference in the community.

Learn more about the impact a donation can make and how to give at

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts and cultural education organization located in downtown Appleton, provides a premier venue for live performing arts. Since 2002, the Center has proudly served as a gathering place for the community to engage in educational opportunities while enhancing a greater understanding and appreciation of life through the live performing arts. The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center — Where the Arts Come Alive!

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