Each week, The Hollywood Reporter will spotlight fundraisers, charities, events and more aiding those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Amid the rising numbers for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and states remaining in lockdown to avoid surges of infection, hope has appeared through various charities, fundraisers and goodwill events hosted by actors, musicians politicians, activists and more.
This week, Josh Gad continued his Reunited Apart YouTube series with a nostalgic reunion of the Back to the Future cast including Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox. Tina Fey hosted a star-studded telethon raising funds for New Yorkers who hope to rebuild their lives as the city moves toward recovery. Bette Midler is personally matching donations to Broadway Cares' COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, which will aid those onstage, backstage and behind the scenes who are facing health and financial challenges as theaters remain dark and television and film productions are shut down during this pandemic.
Check out other fundraisers, charity events and more that occurred this week, below.
The cast of Back to the Future reunited Monday as part of a series of fundraising projects spearheaded by Josh Gad, dubbed Reunited Apart. Every episode will spotlight a charity helping those in need amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The first two episodes (with the launch featuring the cast of The Goonies) raised funds for Project HOPE, a global health and humanitarian relief organization.
New York's biggest stars joined forces May 11 for Rise Up New York!, an hourlong virtual telethon hosted by Tina Fey and presented by Robin Hood and iHeartMedia. The event raised funds for Robin Hood's relief and recovery efforts that will be deployed to frontline organizations working with the city's most vulnerable both during the crisis and after. Donations will go toward food, shelter, financial assistance, health care, legal services, education and more to help New Yorkers rebuild their lives as the city moves toward recovery.
The telethon featured appearances from luminaries including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Angie Mar, Barbra Streisand, Ben Platt, Bette Midler, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chris Rock, Christopher Jackson and Cynthia Erivo. There were also musical performances from Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey, Sting and others as well as real-life accounts of work being done on the front lines in New York City.
On Saturday, guests for the first time ever drove through The Grove's main street to enjoy music and visit the Rosewood Miramar Beach's Miramar To-Go food truck with a menu from executive chef Massimo Falsini. In keeping with Grove-owner Caruso’s spirit of philanthropy, and giving back to the community, for every meal sold during this drive-thru, Caruso was prepared to donate one meal to Para Los Niños, a Skid Row-based nonprofit that provides education and wraparound support to the county’s most vulnerable children and families each year. However, due to the extraordinary response, Caruso decided to donate 100 percent of sales to the nonprofit, resulting in 21,000 meals being donated and helping to feed 85,000 individuals in need.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS announced Friday that Bette Midler is personally matching donations to Broadway Cares' COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, up to $100,000. Donations to the special emergency fund, administered by The Actors Fund, aid those in theater and entertainment access a variety of vital services in response to the pandemic.
Broadway Cares launched the emergency fund March 17, 2020, with an initial $250,000. Special fundraising initiatives since its launch have included $52,000 generated by Lin-Manuel Miranda during a special segment of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: At Home Edition. Another $73,000 was raised through a star-studded virtual reading of Lips Together, Teeth Apart on April 6.
Since the start of the pandemic, The Actors Fund has provided support to over 8,500 performing arts and entertainment professionals. Donations can be made at broadwaycares.org/help2020.
The Actors Fund announced this week that it has distributed $10.5 million in just eight weeks — five times the funds normally provided in one year for those in need within the performing arts and entertainment community. Funds will provide emergency financial assistance for those in need due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Tony Award winner and chairman of the board of The Actors Fund, said, "Looking at a number — even one as large as ten million — doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. In an instant, our friends and supporters, people like Rosie O’Donnell, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley and others, began dreaming of entirely new fundraising models that would prove to be nothing short of lifesaving. In all my years working with The Fund, I’ve never been so moved, so inspired, or so grateful."
Joseph Benincasa, president and CEO of The Actors Fund, added, "The kind of collaboration and generosity we’ve seen over the past two months from our entertainment industry union and guild partners, including SAG-AFTRA, Actors’ Equity, and the IATSE, as well as thousands of individual donors, has been nothing short of staggering. It is an unbelievable honor to be able to do so much good for so many people, thanks to the unprecedented level of support we continue to receive. It’s also important to note that this is by no means a victory lap. In the coming months, we anticipate helping our entertainment industry colleagues navigate issues such as union health insurance, the new COVID-economy, mental health support, addiction and recovery resources, affordable housing, securing government resources, and more. The level of need is overwhelming, and our work has only just begun."