Letter From The Executive Director

December 2010


Dear Friends:

This is one of my favorite moments of the year because I get to say one simple phrase: Thank you.

Thank you for your tremendous support. Your friendship and the generosity of spirit you have shared with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS mean a great deal to me.

Like so many, we have endured some tough times. But as an organization with a foundation built on more than two decades of support, Broadway Cares is standing strong, thanks to the efforts of our loyal supporters.

Your generosity helps us create miracles, not only during the holidays, but year-round.

Miracles in the form of almost $10 million in grants during 2010, including support for The HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic and other vital programs of The Actors Fund.  More than 400 AIDS and family service organizations are funded by BC/EFA to help hundreds of thousands who face great uncertainty as they navigate short-term crises and long-term challenges.

We’ve been at it a long time, over 22 years now. When I think back on how much we’ve accomplished together, I’m reminded of friends who once were a part of these efforts, as well as so many who undoubtedly benefitted from them who are no longer with us. I’m also reminded of hundreds of thousands we can never know who have walked a most difficult path as I talk to our grantees across the country about the truly challenging times they face today.

I recently heard from some of our donors about why they support BC/EFA.  One wrote that she appreciates the “ongoing, non-judgmental compassion” of BC/EFA.  Another wrote that he supports BC/EFA “because we cannot forget or allow the HIV community to be forgotten.”

If you’ve been to a show recently, you probably heard the passionate audience appeals given by cast members of Broadway, Off-Broadway and National Touring shows in support of Broadway Cares. These efforts have made life-affirming differences for men, women and children across the country living with HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses.

Sometimes, the calls for help can be overwhelming. They leave you wondering what any one of us can really do. But it’s then that I am reminded of an old parable that a very good friend shared with me years ago:

Walking along a beach, a man saw thousands of starfish the tide had thrown into the sand.  Unable to return to the water, the starfish were dying.  He also observed a boy picking up the starfish, one by one, and throwing them back in the water.   “There are thousands of starfish on this beach,” said the man.  “You can’t possibly save enough to make a difference.”   The boy smiled as he tossed another starfish back into the ocean.  “Well, it sure made a difference to that one,” he replied.

Your support helps to make our grants larger and the life of a person with AIDS that much better. We’ll continue to help – one starfish at a time.

Your consistent generosity helps provide medicines or counseling services for those who would otherwise do without.Another starfish.

And with your continued support, I know that we can keep the doors of a health clinic or food pantry open, provide diapers for a child, dog biscuits for a client’s beloved pet or bus fare to a recovery meeting. More starfish.

Thank you for sharing some of your gifts and hard earned resources with BC/EFA.  I deeply value your friendship and support.   I love doing this work with you.  You play a vital role in all we accomplish because what we do together makes a difference.

Happy holidays,

Tom Viola