BC/EFA Donates $150,000 to Help Orlando Victims, Families

PULSEPULSEBroadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS announced today that $150,000 will be donated on behalf of the Broadway community and all Broadway Cares supporters to three service organizations in central Florida committed to reaching out and providing emergency assistance to the victims of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting, and their families and friends.

“Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS historically has moved quickly and responsibly on behalf of the New York theatre community to assist those affected by extraordinary, traumatic events,” Executive Director Tom Viola said. “We stand with our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community in Orlando and indeed with all who suffer from the violence that comes with inflamed rhetoric, toxic misconceptions of each other and subtle promotion of hatred. Let us respond with love and real resources.”

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS this week will award emergency grants of $50,000 each to Equality Florida, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida in Orlando and the OneOrlando Fund.

Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Working with the city of Orlando, local partners and the National Center for Victims of Crime, Equality Florida will manage and distribute funds being raised through its Pulse Victims Fund campaign on GoFundMe.com, which already has raised $4.7 million.

These funds will address the medical costs, emergency expenses and funeral arrangements of the victims and their families, coordinating immediate emergency assistance with long-term crisis management and support. Since all funds raised by this specific GoFundMe page have been pledged to go directly to those most affected by this horrific incident, BC/EFA’s donation will support Equality Florida’s administrative costs to ensure that these funds are distributed efficiently, responsibly and with careful oversight.

“We are determined at Equality Florida to take care of our LGBT loved ones, families and community,” Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith said. “The responsibility to be an effective and efficient central processing center for all of the many pieces involved with responding to the aftermath of such a tragedy has created a considerable strain on our infrastructure and entire support team. This kind and extraordinary donation from Broadway Cares and the Broadway community, specifically for administrative expenses, allows us to do our best to provide the support created from thousands of individual donations on GoFundMe that our LGBT family so desperately needs now and in the weeks and months ahead.”

The GLBT Center of Central Florida is organizing and offering a range of frontline, on-the-ground services to families, friends and others most affected by the shootings, including crisis counseling and an emergency hotline.

“We are so grateful to our friends in the Broadway community and at Broadway Cares for this donation,” said GLBT Center Executive Director Terry De Carlo. “We have been running 24 hours a day since Sunday to make sure the families of the victims of this senseless crime are taken care of. From housing, meals and clothing, to flights to get family members here and caskets shipped home, these families have been devastated and face terrific challenges on top of shock and great sorrow. This grant is a blessing and allows us to respond to them now and for weeks to come. The Broadway community will be forever in our hearts.”

The OneOrlando Fund was set up by Mayor Buddy Dyer and the city of Orlando this week specifically to respond to short-term and long-term needs, supporting and starting projects to strengthen the entire Orlando community. The fund will help nonprofits that are supporting victims and families; support the LGBTQ, Hispanic, faith and other affected communities; and address the underlying causes of this tragic event.

“Broadway Cares has carefully vetted the three organizations receiving these emergency funds,” Viola said. “Too often after such tragedies, well-intentioned people and those with more nefarious motives rush to solicit donations without the infrastructure, ability or genuine intent to reach those who need it most. By partnering with these credible, established entities within the Orlando community, we can be confident that funds raised by the Broadway community will deliver meaningful, immediate and long-lasting help. Please be cautious in responding to online solicitations.”

These emergency grants are in addition to $218,500 provided in 2015 by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS through its annual National Grants Program to 23 HIV/AIDS and family service organizations across Florida.