Pandemic Relief Roundup: $55 Million Raised for Families Impacted by Virus Crisis

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From left: Ariana Grande, Jon Stewart, Spike Lee

Among charitable efforts this week: Richard Branson and Demi Lovato backed a new mental health fund that's already raised $2 million to support the work of organizations that provide crisis intervention.

Each week, The Hollywood Reporter will spotlight fundraisers, charities, events and more aiding those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

An array of live concerts, events and relief funds were launched this week to help industries and people across the nation who are fighting to stay afloat amid financial and emotional strains caused by the coronavirus pandemic. From thousands of meals being delivered to health care workers to millions of dollars raised to support mental health organizations, learn more about recent charitable events and newly launched relief funds below. 

Comic book publishers unite for fund to aid stores

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC) announced Tuesday the formation of a new fund specifically aimed at assisting comics, the Comicbook United Fund. Combining the $100,000 pledged last year to BINC from the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group to support comic book retailers with the $250,000 pledged earlier this month by DC, the Comicbook United Fund is intended to be the central location for any and all figures and organizations hoping to raise money for comic book retailers.

In addition to the corporate donations, the Comicbook United Fund will also be receiving money from Lee’s eBay auctions of 60 sketches across 60 days and the proceeds of the recently concluded #Creators4Comics campaign, which saw more than 600 auctions take place on Twitter. 

Donations can be done so here. Stores who want to apply for assistance can do so here.

Ariana Grande, Stacey Abrams and Rihanna support Project 100 initiative 

Politicians, philanthropists and celebrities are coming together for an initiative called Project 100, which aims to distribute $1,000 digital payments to 100,000 families who have been severely impacted by the pandemic. The effort, led by GiveDirectly, Propel and Stand for Children, has raised more than $55 million of a $100 million goal so far. Donors include the Schusterman Family Foundation, Blue Meridian, Flourish Ventures Partners, Google.org, Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, Flu Lab, Wend Collective, Blue Haven Initiative and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, among others. Individuals on board to back the initiative include Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Patrick Adams, Camilla Luddington, Tony Hale, Christopher Meloni, Carrie Preston, Kevin Alejandro, Andra Day and the Players Coalition.

More information about Project 100 can be found here. A testimonial from one of the fund's recipients is here.

Bruce Springsteen, Chris Rock, Jon Stewart entertain in "Jersey 4 Jersey" fundraiser

With over 88,000 cases and 4,000 deaths, New Jersey has been one of the states hit hardest by the pandemic ever. On Wednesday, stars with ties to the state performed and entertained during the "Jersey 4 Jersey" event, raising funds for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund and front line workers. Bruce Springsteen, Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Bennett, Halsey, Kelly Ripa, Danny DeVito, Chelsea Handler and Jon Bon Jovi all made appearances. The broadcast ended up receiving more than 2.5 million local broadcast viewers and as of this updated post, raised $5.9 million, with additional donations coming in, bringing the NJPRF's first-month total raised to $26.6 million. 

Learn more about the New Jersey Pandemic Relief fund here

Richard Branson and Demi Lovato back mental health fund

Richard Branson and Demi Lovato are among the backers of a new fund aimed at easing the strain of the coronavirus pandemic by providing mental health services to those in need. Branson and Lovato have partnered with Royal Bank of Canada, Virgin Unite, Canadian Family Foundations and Draper Richards Kaplan on the initiative, known as The Mental Health Fund. So far, $2 million has been raised to support the work of organizations that provide crisis intervention via text message, 24/7. Crisis Text Line serves as founder of The Mental Health Fund, which is operating with a goal of reaching $5 million. Other organizations involved in the fund's launch include Shout UK, Kids Help Phone and SpunOut.ie, and each of those groups have reported massive increases in call and text volumes from those in need of help.

More information about the Mental Health Fund and its GoFundMe campaign be found here.

Cyndi Lauper, Rufus Wainwright lead Stonewall Gives Back concert

Supporting LGBTQ nightlife workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Stonewall Gives Back Initiative partnered with World of Wonder Productions for a live-stream concert on Thursday featuring Rufus Wainwright, Cyndi Lauper, Kristin Chenoweth, Troye Sivan and more. The event was hosted by Michelle Visage and Tyler Oakley, with proceeds going to an emergency fund for industry workers. 

Donations can be made here. Applications for the LGBTQ nightlife industry micro-grant can be made here

Discovery CEO sets star-studded poker event for Mount Sinai COVID-19 fund

Discovery CEO David Zaslav virtually gathered friends and celebrities on Saturday to raise money in a charity poker tournament for the Mount Sinai COVID-19 Response Fund. Zaslav kicked off the tournament with a $500,000 donation and raised over $1 million in total. He is a Mount Sinai board member, and 100 percent of the proceeds of the event will support front-line health care workers. 

Donations for the Mount Sinai COVID-19 Response Fund can be made here.

Spike Lee, Rosie Perez and more Brooklynites debut video for fund to feed health care workers

The Brooklyn for Life! Initiative co-founded by Jeffrey Wright — which has raised more than $386,000 to deliver meals from local restaurants to front-line health care workers — received major support from Wright's famous friends and backers on Friday. A mix of star Brooklynites appeared in a two-and-a-half-minute video to raise awareness for the initiative, including Spike Lee, Rosie Perez, Daniel Craig, Ansel Elgort, Chris Rock, Jimmy Kimmel, Lupita Nyong’o and more.

Wright launched the effort as a GoFundMe drive on March 25 along with two restaurant-owner friends and a vice president of Brooklyn Hospital. As of this weekend, it has raised nearly $250,000 of its $1 million goal. Now registered as an official 501c3 nonprofit, Brooklyn for Life! buys meals from neighborhood restaurants in the New York borough, which are then delivered to health care workers at nine hospitals and 10 EMS stations. The effort, operated in partnership with Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams, has delivered more than 45,000 meals to date. 

Learn more about Brooklyn for Life! here

April 28, 8:25 p.m. Updated to include Jersey 4 Jersey broadcast donation total.