Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS announced October 1 that $18.1 million was provided in grants in the fiscal year, ending September 30. This marks the most ever awarded in the 32-year history of the organization, which has been a light for those in the industry facing economic hardship during the ongoing pandemic.
The organization continues to raise funds to ensure healthy meals, lifesaving medication, and emergency assistance are available as the country faces an uncertain future.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone in the theatre community—those onstage, backstage, and in the audience—for sharing their generosity and talents to accomplish such a feat when half our fiscal year was consumed by a pandemic,” said Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. “But today, on October 1, our fundraising slate wipes clean and we begin again. So while we celebrate the work made possible and the countless individuals helped, we also charge forward with our efforts to continue to raise these vital funds for the most vulnerable among us.”
In the face of the public health crisis, Broadway Cares changed its fundraising course to adapt to a socially distant world and to support the growing number of people within the entertainment industry and beyond needing help. On March 17, the organization launched its COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund with an initial $250,000. The fund, administered by The Actors Fund, ensures thousands who work in theatre and the performing arts receive lifesaving support during and after this devastating pandemic. Within a week, more than 20 Broadway producers offered a $1 million challenge match to double the impact of donations. When that initial match was met, another group of producers offered a second $1 million match. Bette Midler also personally matched donations to the emergency fund up to $100,000.
In total, the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund has provided $6.5 million to The Actors Fund so far. An additional $1 million was shared with The Actors Fund to launch the Every Artist Insured program, expanding on The Actors Fund’s free and confidential health insurance counseling and enrollment support services.
These pandemic-specific grants were in addition to annual support of the vital safety net of social services of The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, and The Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. In total, Broadway Cares awarded $11.2 million to The Actors Fund in fiscal year 2020.
Broadway Cares’ fundraising and grant-making efforts expand beyond the theatrical community and into its National Grants Program. In January, the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS grants committee provided $2.1 million to 125 organizations nationwide as part of its annual food grants round. These grants ensured healthy meals would continue being served to the most vulnerable and marginalized.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theater community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other critical illnesses across the United States. Visit BroadwayCares.org for more information.