The Actors Fund, the national human services organization for everyone in performing arts and entertainment, raised $1.1 million at its first virtual gala November 2.
The evening celebrated both The Fund and the 35th anniversary of Career Transition For Dancers, a program of the organization. The Fund’s Medal of Honor was presented to Tony winner Matthew Broderick and Emmy winner Sarah Jessica Parker (presented by Tony winner Nathan Lane), founding member and Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem Virginia Johnson (presented by Director of the Juilliard Dance Division Alicia Graf Mack), Tony winner and Chairman of The Actors Fund Brian Stokes Mitchell (presented by Actors Fund Board Vice Chair and Oscar nominee Annette Bening), Oscar-winning producer and philanthropist Steve Tisch (presented by Actors Fund President and CEO Joseph P. Benincasa), and American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations President Richard L. Trumka (presented by Actors Fund Board Member and President of the International Alliance Of Theatrical Stage Employees Matthew D. Loeb).
“There’s no question that this year has been one monumental challenge after another. But one of the key strengths of The Actors Fund is our commitment to meeting the constantly changing needs of everyone in performing arts and entertainment,” said Benincasa in a statement. “Thank you to all the great artists who shared their talents and to our esteemed honorees and donors. This virtual celebration showed the vital importance of ongoing support for The Fund, to help ensure that we continue to build stability and resiliency in our community, and provide a safety net to those in need over course of this pandemic and beyond.”
The virtual fundraiser included online appearances by Jelani Alladin, Lynn Ahrens, Kate Baldwin, Andréa Burns, Danny Burstein, Caitlin Carter, Chuck Cooper, André De Shields, Brandon Victor Dixon, Stephen Flaherty, Mandy Gonzalez, Joshua Henry, James Monroe Iglehart, John Kander, Hailey Kilgore, LaChanze, Norm Lewis, Michael McElroy, Ruthie Ann Miles, Billy Porter, Desmond Richardson, Chita Rivera, Lea Salonga, Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Sondheim, Jonathan Tisch, Marisa Tomei, Courtney B. Vance, and Nia Vardalos with video performances by the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Broadway Inspirational Voices.
Since the beginning of the ongoing pandemic in mid-March, The Actors Fund has distributed more than $16.9 million in emergency financial assistance to more than 13,900 people in need across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and some international union members.
To learn more or to donate, visit ActorsFund.org.