My friend Tom Viola, the Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, shares some very good news (which we all can use right now):
The Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS fiscal year 2020 has ended and October 1 marks the start of a new beginning. The last six months brought with it a devastating shutdown, anxiety, isolation and tragedy. Yet it also allowed the heart of our community to shine brightly.
We close out fiscal year 2020 with remarkable news: Thanks to the generosity of this community – a community that includes all onstage, backstage and in the audience – we have together provided a record $18.1 million in grants. That’s up 22 percent over our 2019 grant-making.
That total includes more than $11.2 million to The Actors Fund to support their entire safety net of social services – from the HIV/AIDS Initiative and the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative to the Friedman Health Center, Addiction and Recovery Services and the Career Center. I am especially proud and happy that $11 million also includes $6.5 million for the Fund’s COVID-19 emergency financial support and $1 million for the creation of a new, essential program, Every Artist Insured.
In addition, more than $5 million was also awarded to over 400 grantees across the country through our annual National Grants Program. Food banks and health clinics, supportive housing programs and harm reduction services, serving millions of men and women, families of all variety and colors, diverse communities too often underserved and now also buffeted by COVID.
Finally, another $909,000 was awarded as emergency grants to organizations outside our theatre/performing arts family and annual grantees in the National Grants Program that reached out for help. Folks and organizations who at another time might have fallen outside our safety net of grant making. Now, as best we can, is not about “no.” Now is about trying to reach out as much as possible with the resources at hand. Resources that so many of you reading this have made possible.
This has been a truly collaborative accomplishment that literally saved lives, put food on families’ tables and kept friends and colleagues safely in their homes. Learn more at broadwaycares.org/2020grants.
We didn’t get to present this year’s Easter Bonnet Competition in April which, since 1995, has ended with the anthem “Help is on the Way.” So, David Friedman, who wrote the song, gathered Broadway stars who have performed the Bonnets finale in the past and an army of other voices – some quite familiar, some soon-to-be – to create a virtual rendition that we share at this start of our new fiscal year.
May we all embrace its message of health and hope.
On Friday, October 23, my castmates from the national touring company of CATS (back in 1986) will be presenting our own special streaming event benefitting the Broadway Cares COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund.
If you tune in, you just might get to see me swing my rehearsal tail a bit…Click here for details.
But for now, let’s enjoy these world-class Broadway artists lift our hearts a bit 🙂