Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS announced today that it is awarding $400,000 in emergency grants to organizations working on-the-ground in Florida and Puerto Rico providing immediate support to communities devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. These grants are in addition to $175,000 awarded in Texas after Hurricane Harvey.
On behalf of the entire Broadway and Off-Broadway community, Broadway Cares is providing a $200,000 grant to the Hispanic Federation, $50,000 to Feeding South Florida, $50,000 to Feeding Tampa Bay and $100,000 to entertainment industry and performing arts professionals across Florida and Puerto Rico through The Actors Fund.
“With this paralyzing devastation caused by natural disasters over the past several weeks, the Broadway community has been among the first to offer support and a helping hand up,” Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Executive Director Tom Viola said. “We’re proud to act on behalf of the theatre community to fund immediate, on-the-ground assistance to communities desperate for relief from these catastrophic tragedies.”
The organizations supported by these emergency Grants are already providing critical support and vital resources to areas and individuals impacted by the devastating effects of the hurricanes across Florida and Puerto Rico.
Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the Caribbean before making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Florida, causing mass devastation across the Florida Keys, southern Florida and in the Tampa area. Hurricane Maria followed a similar path just days later, delivering its greatest wrath on Puerto Rico. The storm knocked out power for the entire island and left hundreds of thousands homeless, creating apocalyptic devastation and a still-unfolding humanitarian crisis.
The $200,000 emergency grant to the Hispanic Federation will provide first responders with transportation to San Juan, as well as supply them with trucks and other relief equipment to respond to the most basic critical and logistical needs.
“I am incredibly grateful to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for their swift and generous response to the desperate situation faced by my people of Puerto Rico,” said Luis Miranda Jr., founding president of the Hispanic Federation. “Through my son, Lin-Manuel, I have gotten to know this fantastic Broadway community, where everyone is brought into the family in the spirit of teamwork and support. This grant to the Hispanic Federation’s relief effort will make an incredible impact, here at the start of what will be a long journey to recovery.”
Thomas Mantz, executive director of Feeding Tampa Bay, echoed the long-term need for support of their communities. “We know that many people lost wages during the storm, and this has strained family budgets and created an income deficit,” Mantz said. “We also know that most do not have insurance or the means to restock their pantries. While the storm is long gone, the effects will linger on.”
Feeding South Florida has been particularly focused on sending supplies to the Florida Keys, which were hit by Hurricane Irma when it was a Category 4 storm. The organization has also been supporting cities with boil-water advisories, and supplying police and fire departments with water and meals.
“Feeding South Florida was the first to get water, meals, snacks, and non-food items such as personal hygiene products, paper towels, toilet paper and diapers to the keys,” said Feeding South Florida Director of Community Relations Sari Vatske. “Since Irma hit, we’ve distributed more than 3 million pounds of supplies. All this to say, your support is most appreciated.”
Broadway Cares also will be sending $100,000 to The Actors Fund to aid its emergency financial support for entertainment industry professionals in Florida and Puerto Rico. This is in addition to the $50,000 sent in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey hitting Texas.
“These grants would not be possible without the tireless efforts and endless support from the Broadway community andBroadway Cares supporters,” Viola said. “Every ticket purchased to one of our events and every vintage Playbill bought at the Flea Market is making a real, tangible difference in the lives of those who need it most. As Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring productions head into our fall fundraising efforts next month, we’ll continue to look for ways to augment these recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas.”
On August 31, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS awarded $175,000 in grants to 17 social service organizations based in Houston and across Texas and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Harvey struck. These emergency grants reached local organizations that might be overlooked by government and other hurricane relief initiatives and for whomBroadway Cares’ unrestricted grants can be put to work immediately on the ground.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $285 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway Cares also awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states, providing lifesaving medication, healthy meals, counseling and emergency assistance.