Performing in her first Broadway show, “Footloose,” Anika Noni Rose took up audience collections for Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS during its annual fund-raising week in Broadway theaters. But she didn’t really know much about this philanthropy. “I started reading up on them,” she says. “What an amazing organization! People don’t feel they’re getting charity. It is life assistance.”
Today Rose frequently performs at Broadway Cares events, such as Broadway Bares.
“AIDS is their major focus, but they also deal with other people who are having hard times healthwise,” says the Tony-winning actress. “There’s also a women’s initiative. They counsel. They listen if you need someone to talk to. They give you a ride to your doctor. They give total support.”
Ten years ago, a friend took Eric Owens to see a Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fund-raiser. “Oddly enough, it was a breaking point in my life,” he recalls. “I’m HIV positive and a recovering addict. I was falling off the deep end.”
He’d never heard of Equity’s program the Actors Fund but gave it a call. “I met with a social worker and got health insurance and health care, leading with psychotherapy. They helped me pay my rent one month.”
More recently, Equity’s Actors Work Program (also funded by BC/EFA) helped Owens find his current job with Diesel U.S. Clothing.
— Robert Hofler