When Broadway, national tours and arts across the country went dark in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS jumped in to action by creating the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund. Between the new fund, the ongoing fundraising opportunities and with the generosity of the theatrical community and dedicated supporters, Broadway Cares is proud to announce a record $18.1 million was provided in grants in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020.
This marks the most ever awarded in the organization’s 32-year history. Any enthusiasm about that record, though, is tempered with the recognition that continued fundraising is essential to ensure healthy meals, lifesaving medication and emergency assistance are still available as the country faces an uncertain future.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone in the theater 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.”
The $18.1 million in 2020 grants exceeds 2019 grant-making by a remarkable 22 percent, up from last year’s $14.8 million in grants, which had been the previous annual record. In the face of the pandemic, Broadway Cares was forced to change its fundraising course, both to adapt to a socially distant world and to support the growing number of people within the entertainment industry and beyond needing help.
The Broadway Cares COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, started with an initial $250,000 and is administered by The Actors Fund, ensures thousands who work in theater 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 to the fund. When that initial match was met, another group of producers, inspired by the first, offered a second $1 million match. The full list of producers can be found at broadwaycares.org. In May, entertainment icon Bette Midler 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.
To learn more about Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS or to make a donation please visit: www.BroadwayCares.org.