A spirited two-week competition among six of Broadway and Hollywood’s most charitable stars raised $1,919,254 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ annual National Grants Program, supporting organizations nationwide that provide lifesaving medication, health care and emergency assistance for those affected by HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other critical illnesses.
The first Red Bucket Match-Up online fundraising campaign, which ended April 16, 2021, included a $1 million matching grant from Gilead Sciences Inc.
Successfully leading the friendly but fierce competition were Jason Alexander, Jordan Fisher, Kathryn Gallagher, Eric McCormack, Aaron Tveit and Jenna Ushkowitz.
Each of the stars took to their social media channels to ask for contributions to their virtual red buckets, the iconic symbol of Broadway Cares’ fundraising efforts. From live Instagram broadcasts to impromptu musical performances, the six supporters courted their fans and followers to help them raise more donations than the other team leaders.
Tveit landed in the top spot, raising $174,125 in donations to Broadway Cares. He was closely followed by McCormack, who raised $159,250. Alexander, Fisher, Gallagher and Ushkowitz impressively each raised more than $100,000.
Every donation to the Red Bucket Match-Up was matched by Gilead dollar for dollar. Embracing the success of the campaign, Gilead ultimately donated $1 million.
“Thanks to these six team leaders, the gracious generosity and support of Gilead and the thousands of individual donors, people across the country will receive critical medication, access to doctors and mental health support, and so much more to help them overcome challenges exacerbated by this pandemic,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said. “I celebrate our fearless fundraisers for their impressive efforts. Watching these beloved Broadway Cares advocates go head-to-head to rally support provided inspiration and a bit of levity in challenging times.”
Brett Pletcher, Gilead’s executive vice president for corporate affairs and general counsel, said: “Gilead is committed to funding programs and organizations that offer much needed services and support for people living with HIV. The events of the last year have only exacerbated and exposed existing inequities in communities affected by HIV. Our matching grant to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will help fund local HIV service organizations so they can continue making an important impact in communities across the country.”
Broadway Cares’ iconic red buckets are a staple for in-person fundraising during the spring and fall at theaters across the country. With the shutdown of Broadway, Off-Broadway and national tour in its second year as the campaign started, these grants provide help and hope at a time of unprecedented uncertainty in communities that need it most.
For many communities that already faced inequities before the pandemic, including access to health care, the events of the last year have only exacerbated and exposed these injustices. The organizations that will receive the grants, many of which have been part of Broadway Cares’ National Grants Program for years, provide 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 response to this pandemic.