COVID-19 Fundraiser Helps Theater Community

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has launched a special online fundraising campaign to create the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund.

This special fund, which will be administered by The Actors Fund, assists those in the entertainment community – onstage, backstage and behind the scenes – who are facing health care crises and other immediate needs in the wake of the evolving coronavirus pandemic.

More than 20 Broadway producers are offering a $1 million challenge match to double the impact of donations to the fund.

The emergency assistance fund, which was launched March 17, 2020, is helping entertainment and performing arts professionals impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and work shutdown. With every passing day that theatres remain dark, they  face unprecedented health and financial challenges requiring immediate attention and resources.

With the producers’ challenge, every donation made to the emergency fund will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $1 million. You can make your tax-deductible donation at broadwaycares.org/help2020.

The producers generously coming together to offer the $1 million challenge are Spencer Ross, Rebecca Gold Milikowsky, Elizabeth Armstrong, Bill Damaschke, Diana DiMenna, Jeanne Donovan Fisher, S. Asher Gelman, John Gore & Lauren Reid/The John Gore Organization, Louise Gund, Judi Krupp, Larry & Beth Lenke, Carmen Pavlovic & Gerry Ryan, Marc Platt, Daryl Roth, Jordan Roth, Scott Rudin, Jeffrey Seller, Jana Shea, Iris Smith, David Stone and Barbara Whitman. Lauren Reid, Jordan Roth and David Stone also serve on the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Board of Trustees.

The Broadway producers’ challenge was initiated by Ross who pledged $50,000 and began recruiting other producers to join him in each pledging $50,000 for the match. Milikowsky quickly followed suit and joined Ross to co-lead the recruitment effort. Armstrong was the first to sign on. In just a few days, they had 20 producers onboard collectively offering the $1 million pledge.

Broadway Cares launched the emergency fund with an initial $250,000. Lin-Manuel Miranda generated $52,000 during a special segment of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: At Home Edition.

The COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund is helping entertainment professionals meet coronavirus-related expenses. It provides urgent additional resources for the vital social service programs of The Actors Fund, including emergency financial assistance, health insurance, counseling and the operation of The Actors Fund’s Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts (729 Seventh Avenue, 12th floor, NYC).

“When crises hit, the extended Broadway community and the theatre fans everywhere have always responded with generosity, compassion and action,” said Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares. “Buoyed by and on behalf of those onstage, backstage and throughout the theaters of New York City and on the road, we are proud to launch this emergency initiative in collaboration with The Actors Fund to provide immediate, basic support for those facing uncertainty in this unsettling pandemic.”

The Actors Fund is actively processing applications for help from 5,000 people that have been submitted in the last 10 days, and expects the need to increase. Hundreds already have been provided help, including insurance assistance for a diabetic musician who lost all his gigs, food and rental assistance for actor parents with two young children and third on the way, and temporary housing for a director to self-quarantine after learning she’d been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

The Actors Fund offers a wide safety net of programs for everyone in the performing arts and entertainment industry. Broadway Cares is the single largest financial supporter of The Actors Fund.

Thanks to the historic generosity of donors and supporters, Broadway Cares awarded The Actors Fund $6.2 million in 2019. Since 1987, Broadway Cares has provided $101 million in support for The Fund’s essential programs.