It’s been 18 years since we began, and, as of today, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has contributed more than $72 million (in hard cash) to AIDS and family service organizations and individuals throughout the country.
I’m proud to report that we were cited as the #2 grantmaker with a domestic focus in the recent Funders Concerned About AIDS report, presented as part of the International AIDS Conference in Toronto this past summer.
With your extraordinary help and generosity, BC/EFA was able to increase overall grantmaking in Fiscal Year 2006 by more than $1.8 million over what we had anticipated when the Board approved our 2006 budget.
There has never been a greater need for a sustained response to those in crisis than now.
Budgetary politics in Washington, DC, the continued unwillingness of the Federal Government to have a serious debate and rationally consider “national health care,” economic and job uncertainty, and the ongoing quagmire overseas (now looking to cost over $500 billion) 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 today.
At the same time, it is incumbent for BC/EFA to 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 Hirshfeld Free Clinic and more.
But AIDS is not over. It has simply taken on many different faces.
If you look around Broadway just now, there is clearly more wealth than ever before. But behind the lights and beyond the well-heeled crowds and loopy tourists there has, in fact, never been a greater need for a sustained response to those in crisis than right now.
So when people ask “why are you all still doing this at all?” “Or doing so much?” No one dies in front of us anymore. There really is a much simpler answer that goes beyond even these very specific and undeniable facts about HIV/AIDS.
We do this because our good fortune – both those of us working in the theatre and those well-off enough to go to the theatre even at half-price – leaves us with much to be thankful for.
Here we are today. 2007. Nineteen years from our extraordinary grassroots, small and somewhat chaotic, hyper-emotional and determined beginnings.
Hopefully, if in the future some of us find ourselves out of a job, injured, down on our luck or simply without the resources and opportunities we enjoy today, someone on the upside of life will want to take the time to share with us because until there is a vaccine, AIDS is not going away, and as long as we live, some of us will always be but an accident, an illness or the surfacing of some deep trauma away from crisis.
It’s really that simple. Generosity disguised as hedging our own bets for the future.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to browse our web site. For without you, these web pages would be empty. Without you, tens of thousands in crisis would not have been caught in the social service safety net that we built together over these last 18 years.
I trust that we can continue together to take care of each other, our own and many we will never know, through your acts of generosity and kindness.
Whether you are a corporate sponsor, a major donor, a proud member of the hundreds of fundraisers in the theatre community or one of our intrepid volunteers, I thank you.
We have and together we can continue to make a difference.