It’s been 19 years since we began and, as of today, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has contributed more than $74 million (in hard cash) to AIDS and family service organizations and individuals throughout the country: an extraordinary legacy from our small and somewhat chaotic, hyper-emotional and determined beginnings.
But, as we continue to embrace those infected with, and affected by, HIV/AIDS, BC/EFA must expand its reach, particularly within the entertainment industry, through the social services provided by The Actors Fund to all of those who first made, and have continued to make, our essential support for people with AIDS possible.
Hence our expansion at The Actors Fund to include The Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, The Al Hirschfeld Free Clinic and the Stage Managers Project, a just recently inaugurated program entitled The Dancers Resource (see page 12), as well as the Broadway Flu Shot Initiative of Physician Volunteers for the Arts.
Meanwhile, AIDS is not over – it has simply taken on many different faces.
If you look around Broadway today, there is clearly more wealththan ever before. But behind the lights and beyond the well-heeled crowds and tchotke-toting tourists there has, in fact, never been a greater need for a sustained response to those in crisis.
Budgetary politics in Washington… the continued unwillingness of the Federal Government to have a serious, rational debate on a “national health care” plan…economic and job uncertainty (in spite of record profits on Wall Street), and the ongoing quagmire overseas – all have siphoned resources away from vital social programs and services, not just for people with AIDS, but for hundreds of thousands of people living both in the middle class and on the margins of American society.
So when people ask, “Why are you still doing this?” or “Why so much?” a much simpler response exists than a litany of facts about HIV/AIDS:
We do this because our own good fortune leaves us with much for which to be grateful.
I specifically wanted this letter to rest between these two rows of pictures. They represent all that we do. The excitement of our events, represented by the photos on the left – coupled, of course, with the support offered by so many individuals, major donors and corporate sponsors – allows us to provide the essential assistance represented by these few photos on the right.
One could not exist without the other. One would not exist if not for the other.
It is – in a few images – the sum total of what we do. The how and the why.
Thank you for being an active part of BC/EFA’s ongoing fundraising efforts and an essential partner in its much-depended-upon grant-making mission.