Do Something Good: How a businesswoman uses her expertise to help the arts

Do Something Good: How a businesswoman uses her expertise to help the arts

Betty Harris Custer is a pioneer in the financial planning world, but her heart is with the arts.

“I feel so passionate about the arts from a lot of perspectives. I was an art major in college,” she said.

She has raised millions of dollars over the decades for organizations such as the Overture, Children’s Theater of Madison, Madison Ballet and dozens of others.

A piece of Custer’s heart broke when she learned of the vandalism last week to Monona’s massive 120-foot mural. The artwork was a cooperative effort between the Ho Chunk National, Dane Arts Mural Arts and hundreds of at-risk youth.

“Why on earth would someone want to do damage to it?” she said.

Betty brought her financial expertise and love of art together to support DAMA and the thousands of youth already involved in the 25 murals peppered throughout Dane County.

Wednesday night she invited area business leaders to be “a part of the art.” This was an opportunity for them to get their hands on future murals, literally by painting on them and getting their logos on them if they “Adopt a Mural.”

Sharon Kilfoy is the director of DAMA and has a surprising invitation to those behind the Monona vandalism.

“We really need to be doing a better job as a community of engaging those young people, and this is something that they can get engaged in and the community can work alongside with those kids; we can turn those lives around,” Kilfoy said.

By her side is a powerhouse philanthropist who once again is bringing many communities together to Do Something Good.