The Fred Ebb Foundation has awarded $2.6 million to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, topping the foundation’s previous donation and cementing its place as the largest single donor in Broadway Cares history.
One-and-a-half million dollars has already been donated to The Actors Fund to provide assistance for those in entertainment and the performing arts. The Fred Ebb Foundation gift, shepherded by Ebb’s nephew Mitchell S. Bernard, will also jump start Broadway Cares’ continuing national grant-making in 2022.
“Fred and Mitch give us the means and ability to respond with strength and reach those struggling in our theatre community as well as in communities across the nation in the hope that a brighter tomorrow belongs to us all,” Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Executive Director Tom Viola said.
“The pandemic has limited the foundation’s income because the theatres were dark,” added Bernard. “But for the same reason, this is a time of enormous need within the theatre community with so many people unable for so long to work and keep insurance, even as their medical and other needs increased. That makes me especially glad to make this contribution from the Ebb Foundation.”
In his will, Tony winner Ebb, who created 14 musicals with John Kander, declared that royalties earned on his works would be distributed yearly to Broadway Cares. With an initial donation of $300,000 in 2005, the foundation has now cumulatively shared $24.8 million with Broadway Cares.
To celebrate the foundation’s donation and to honor the Kander and Ebb team, the current cast of Broadway’s Chicago created a video of “Hot Honey Rag” featuring onstage and backstage company members, clips of iconic Chicago performers, and a tribute to Tony winner Ann Reinking, who died in 2020. Watch the video below:
The Fred Ebb Foundation also helps artists and musicians through the Fred Ebb Award, given annually to an aspiring songwriter or songwriting team that shows excellence. In 2021, an award of $60,000 was given to the team of Isabella Dawis and Tidtaya Sinutoke.