While “Glee” has certainly raised the consciousness of primetime auds regarding the importance of music programs in schools and acceptance of LGBT teens, the Gleeks in the cast and behind the scenes live those beliefs offscreen, supporting music education, theater nonprofits and organizations in the LGBT community.
Nonprofits Education Through Music, Trevor Project, Project Limelight and the Grammy Foundation are among the causes that have benefited from the show’s cast, creators and crew’s time and energy.
When “Glee’s” Dave (Max Adler) was outed as gay on the show’s “suicide episode” in 2012, nonprofit Trevor Project was there to handle calls from people in the audience perhaps finding themselves in Dave’s shoes.
The Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people, had worked with the show ahead of the episode’s airing, and saw a rise in Web traffic and calls that night. It also aired a PSA starring Daniel Radcliffe during the episode.
But a big thrust of the series is that arts in schools do matter — yet arts education is usually the first thing to come under the budget knife, and that’s where “Glee” has stepped in. Those above and below the line at “Glee” have worked with Education Through Music, which partners with inner-city schools to provide music as a core subject for all children. Indeed, in 2011, “Glee” exec producer Dante Di Loreto was honored by the org.
In 2011, the “Glee Give a Note” campaign donated $1 million to 73 school music programs nationwide. Schools were invited to make videos showing why they deserved a grant, with the disbursements ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.
“ ‘Glee’ has always been about the importance of arts education, and (series co-creators) Brad (Falchuck), Ian (Brenner) and I have felt strongly from the beginning that the show has a responsibility to give back,” said co-creator Ryan Murphy at the time. The late Cory Monteith made Project Limelight his own. The Vancouver-based organization, a free theater program for kids driven to perform, was founded by sisters Maureen Webb and Donalda Weaver, longtime figures on the Vancouver film and TV production scene. Monteith, a longtime friend of Webb’s, credited her with opening up acting as a path for him, and he was a passionate fundraiser for the organization.