More than two decades ago, Equity Fights AIDS was created by the Council of Actors Equity to raise funds for the newly created AIDS Initiative of The Actors Fund. Since that time, during which Equity Fights AIDS merged with Broadway Cares in 1992, BC/EFA has continued its unwavering support, awarding over $55 million to The Actors Fund to help entertainment industry professionals nationwide cope with life’s crises, including issues relating to healthcare, housing and job training.
From 1988 to 1995, BC/EFA’s support for The Actors Fund was solely The AIDS Initiative. In 1996, BC/EFA’s Board of Trustees decided to broaden the scope of that support – for the first time expanding BC/EFA support beyond just the issue and challenges of AIDS – to include the newly created Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative. Today that support has expanded to include now six programs of The Actors Fund including The HIV/AIDS Initiative, The Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic, The Actors Work Program, The Dancers’ Resource, The Stage Managers’ Project and three supportive housing residences – The Aurora in Manhattan, The Schemerhorn Residence in Brooklyn and The Palm View in Los Angeles.
Through this unique partnership with The Actors Fund, BC/EFA touches the lives of entertainment professionals living with HIV/AIDS and thousands more coping with a variety of other health issues, crises and challenges through a safety net of vital programs and services.
In 2009, BC/EFA awarded The Actors Fund $3.45 million to support these various programs. In 2010, BC/EFA awarded $4.16 million, an increase of 18% from 2009.
THE AIDS INITIATIVE
The collaboration between BC/EFA and The Actors Fund’s AIDS Initiative is a model for how an industry can respond with effectiveness and compassion to the AIDS crisis. The AIDS initiative provides a full spectrum of essential supportive services including emergency financial assistance for basic necessities such as rent, food, health insurance, and non-reimbursable medical expenses, case management referrals to other sources of community and public assistance, benefits advocacy, vocational retraining, counseling, and support groups for people with HIV/AIDS and their partners, families and caregivers.
2009 / $2,150,000
2010 / $2,100,000
THE PHYLLIS NEWMAN WOMEN’S HEALTH INITIATIVE
The Actors Fund established the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative in 1996 to provide a safety net for women in the entertainment industry coping with critical health concerns. The Women’s Health Initiative dedicates a range of resources solely to addressing the health needs and concerns specific to women, including breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, plus domestic violence , chemical dependency and mental health issues, as well as providing services and financial assistance to women without health insurance.
2009 / $400,000
2010 / $600,000
THE AL HIRSCHFELD FREE HEALTH CLINIC
The Hirschfeld Clinic was established in 2003 to address the immediate needs of members of the entertainment community who are uninsured or underinsured. People in the entertainment industry work in uncertain careers and may not make medical care a priority, ignoring symptoms, concealing diagnoses and putting off treatment. The Hirschfeld Clinic provides necessary medical services and works to prevent illness and emergency room visits that result from neglecting healthcare.
The Clinic provides primary and specialty care, health screenings and patient education. Primary care includes routine preventative medical care, ongoing management of medical problems, and urgent sick visits. Preventative care includes flu vaccinations, mammograms, prostate exams, breast examinations, tuberculosis and diabetes screening, blood pressure and cholesterol testing, vision screening and more. Lab testing provided through the Clinic is free to uninsured patients.
2009 / 400,000
2010 / $585,000
ACTORS WORK PROGRAM
A comprehensive employment and training program, the Actors Work Program assists entertainment industry professionals in identifying and finding sideline work and new careers. AWP is a comprehensive employment and training program committed to fostering resiliency and self-reliance for industry professionals as well as providing a resource for referral of highly skilled and creative workers to the larger employment community. Through AWP services, clients can develop rewarding sideline careers in such areas as teaching, administrative support, healing professions, and real estate. Often, working professionals need to work outside of the industry to support the continuing pursuit of industry work.
Among the many vital services of the Actors Work Program is the AIDS Training and Education Project (ATEP) which has become a critical, empowering component of The AIDS Initiative’s overall programming. In the late 1990s, as treatment options for HIV/AIDS improved dramatically, clients with longer life expectancies began shifting their focus from dealing with an immediate critical illness to managing a chronic condition. Concurrently, their needs evolved to include back-to-work issues. With this in mind, ATEP was created by The Actors Fund in 1998 to help AIDS Initiative clients return to work or participate in meaningful activities outside the home.
2009 / $300,000
2010 / $300,000
THE DANCERS’ RESOURCE
Launched in the summer of 2007 with a $150,000 grant from BC/EFA, The Dancers’ Resource was created in response to the unique situation dancers face due to the physically demanding nature of their work coupled with the significant financial challenges of earning a living in dance. Recognizing that the situations faced by injured dancers are all-encompassing in terms of both life and career, the program was started to create a support system that addresses the needs of dancers, including emotional support for dancers dealing with injuries, by providing individual and group counseling; referrals for healthcare and health insurance; information and advocacy with Workers Compensation and Disability Insurance and much more.
2009 / $150,000
2010 / $200,000
THE STAGE MANAGERS’ PROJECT
BC/EFA’s support funds the printed and online version of The New York Stage Managers’ Unofficial Health Directory compiled by The Actors Fund from names provided by Broadway stage managers and information submitted by the providers. There is a long tradition among stage managers of maintaining a select list of doctors and other emergency service providers who can be called when cast members, crew and staff need medical care. For years, this information was tacked on bulletin boards and scrawled on post-its in stage managers’ offices across Broadway. This directory is a single reliable resource, both in print and updated regularly online, of this wealth of vital information.
2009 / $35,000
2010 / $50,000
Note: In addition to the funding for these specific programs, BC/EFA’s 2010 total includes an additional $329,000 for Actors Fund event sponsorships ($20,000), a one-time gift in support of The Actors Fund’s Special Campaign ($250,000), the collaboration with the Medicare Rights Center ($20,000), memorial gifts and other miscellaneous donations.