For many theatrical seasons, Broadway shows originating overseas or with foreign-born actors in their casts have participated generously in BC/EFA’s six weeks of audience appeals prior to the Gypsy of the Year and Easter Bonnet competitions.
In appreciation of their enthusiastic efforts, BC/EFA grants a portion of the funds raised by these companies to AIDS service organizations in their native countries. These foreign charities are chosen and introduced to BC/EFA by the company members involved. Once the organization's charitable status has been officially established by BC/EFA, a grant in the name of the company is wired overseas.
In fiscal year 2010, BC/EFA made international grants totaling $422,000 to AIDS service organizations in Australia, England and South Africa.
The first of our international grants was a $5,000 donation made to West End Cares (renamed TheatreMAD in 2008), our sister theatre-based AIDS fundraising organization in London, in honor of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that participated in the 1996 Easter Bonnet Competition.
Many English actors in numerous Broadway productions — including Dame Judi Dench, Petula Clark, Alan Cumming, the late Natasha Richardson, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Elaine Paige, Anthony Sher and Sir Ian McKellen, as well as entire companies from the West End playing in New York City, including Closer, An Ideal Husband, Art and Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and Play Without Words — have been a part of BC/EFA’s fundraising efforts since then.
In 2010, BC/EFA made grants to TheatreMAD in the U.K. and Oz Cares in Australia in honor of A Steady Rain stars Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman.
The vast majority of grant money distributed through BCEFA’s International Grants Program has been to South African AIDS service organizations in appreciation for the efforts of the South African members of the Broadway and touring productions of The Lion King.
Since 1998, BC/EFA has sent more than $3 million to 51 South African AIDS service providers in honor of and identified by the South African actors in the Broadway and national touring companies of The Lion King. As the AIDS pandemic continues to devastate this region, funding for South African ASOs will remain a funding priority for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.