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Arts center from Mifflin Street

A rendering shows the proposed Madison Youth Arts Center along Mifflin Street, with Stone House Development's proposed 11-story mixed-use building in the background.

Two of Madison’s more prominent foundations are pledging $1 million to help build the Madison Youth Arts Center.

The Madison Community Foundation’s $500,000 grant and the Evjue Foundation’s $500,000 grant were announced at the annual Madison Gives dinner Tuesday night, with more than 600 people attending the Madison Community Foundation event at Monona Terrace.

The arts center, fronting East Mifflin Street, is part of a larger mixed-use project including housing and office space on East Washington Avenue.

Pleasant Rowland, one of Madison’s biggest arts philanthropists, especially for youth arts, pledged $20 million in January toward the construction of the $35 million youth arts center, and other major donors have pledged more than $5 million to the project.

“These two large grants from well-respected foundations confirm the inspiration, impact and value of education and the arts in our communities,” said Diane Ballweg, a member of the Madison Community Foundation board of governors and head of the capital campaign to build the youth arts center.

The Madison Community Foundation started in 1942 as a community trust and now has $250 million in assets.

“MCF has a strong history of support for arts and education in Dane County, as does the Evjue Foundation, said Bob Sorge, president of MCF.

The Evjue Foundation is the charitable arm of The Capital Times, named after newspaper founder William T. Evjue. Since its start about 50 years ago, the foundation has given about $70 million in grants to educational, cultural and charitable causes in Dane County.

“Though Mr. Evjue and his wife had no children of their own, he always demonstrated a special commitment to young people, which makes the youth arts center a perfect fit for Evjue Foundation philanthropy,” said Paul Fanlund, editor and publisher of The Capital Times.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the first name of Bob Sorge.]

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