Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is launching Emergency Grants for Pandemic Relief, a one-week fundraising initiative to provide $2 million in grants to vital organizations across the country whose resources are stretched dealing with immediate needs heightened by the COVID-19 crisis.
Gilead Sciences Inc., the M•A•C Viva Glam Fund, ViiV Healthcare and the P. Austin Family Foundation have stepped up to kickstart the campaign. Gilead is providing the lead gift of $500,000 and an additional $500,000 match for all new donations to the effort, bringing its commitment to $1 million. M•A•C Viva Glam Fund has provided $300,000; ViiV Healthcare has donated $250,000 and the P. Austin Family Foundation $100,000 toward the initiative.
The dollar-for-dollar match by Gilead and the fundraising campaign began May 6, 2020, and end at midnight Eastern on May 13.
“Few organizations have touched as many lives of people living with HIV/AIDS as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS,” said Amy Flood, senior vice president at Gilead Sciences. “The COVID-19 pandemic is shuttering community organizations and pushing our health care system to its capacity. This means communities affected by HIV/AIDS face more obstacles than ever to access the health care services they need. We are proud to do our part, and humbled to stand alongside the talented artists who have been supporting the HIV community for years.”
As the coronavirus pandemic took hold and traditional in-theater fundraising and events abruptly stopped last month, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS suspended its National Grants Program for the remainder of 2020. That meant hundreds of organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., would not receive the Broadway Cares grants traditionally awarded in the spring and summer, following the annual six-week spring fundraising campaign in theaters on Broadway, Off-Broadway and on the road.
The Emergency Grants for Pandemic Relief effort allows many of those organizations to now receive partial funding this year after all. These organizations, many of which have been part of the National Grants Program for years, are providing essential outreach, medical services, emergency help, direct services and harm reduction programs to those most in need and often forgotten, left behind or abandoned by the federal response to this pandemic.
“Thanks to the generosity of Gilead, the M•A•C Viva Glam Fund, ViiV Healthcare and the P. Austin Family Foundation, Broadway Cares will be able to make a difference for so many organizations we have supported in the past and that are overwhelmed today with requests for help,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said. “Although this $2 million in emergency grants will be less than the $3.4 million we would have awarded in normal circumstances this spring and summer, these interim grants serve as a sincere promise that Broadway Cares stands with you and will be back with support in 2021.”
In addition to the Emergency Grants for Pandemic Relief, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised nearly $4 million so far through its ongoing COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund for The Actors Fund. As the money has been donated, so far seven wire transfers of $500,000 each – totaling $3.5 million – have been wired weekly to The Actors Fund to ensure every dollar raised is being put to immediate use.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, The Actors Fund has provided support to more than 4,700 performing arts and entertainment professionals. In the first four weeks, The Actors Fund distributed more financial assistance than it normally does in a year.
This help includes insurance insurance assistance for a diabetic musician who lost all his gigs, food and rental assistance for actors with two young children and a third on the way, and temporary housing for a director to self-quarantine after learning she’d been exposed to someone with COVID-19.