Letter From The Executive Director

November 2008

Dear Friends:

This newsletter is filled with good news about recent fundraising efforts as well as many terrific pictures and stories chronicling the amazing generosity of the theatre community and BC/EFA’s major donors. Together, you are a dynamic team, one for which BC/EFA is most grateful.

BC/EFA has been around for 20 years now, and as much as I wish we didn’t have to be, I’m extremely grateful that we are and particularly that so many of you continue to stand here with us.

In preparing this newsletter for you, I was struck by how much we have accomplished in the last six months with your help. It’s extraordinary that in a year which included two entertainment industry strikes, the beginnings of a weakened economy and what has been noted as “a climate of philanthropic burnout,” BC/EFA’s generous community of donors, fundraisers and supporters raised the kind of money that allowed us to increase grants made to The Actors Fund and through our National Grants Program by over $1.8 million!

Nevertheless, please check The Actors Fund’s 2008 mid-year client report on page four.   In every program, more people and their families reached out for assistance than at the same time last year.   The same is true, if not worse, for the over 400 social service providers BC/EFA funded in 2008.   Without question, for many – and the countless who had never imagined themselves in such a situation before – these are challenging, difficult times.

Our country has been battered by a series of punishing economic events that have been most devastating to the weakest among us. Since this time last year, we have seen a 35% increase in emergency requests for funding and assistance as inflation wreaks havoc on our grantees and the people they serve. At the same time, many corporate and foundation donors have cut back their donations or frozen gifts at past levels – a punch in the gut to The Actors Fund and organizations like the food pantries and meal delivery services, health clinics and housing programs that count on us for support every year.

I hope as we move forward into 2009 and our 21st year that you will want to continue your commitment to join BC/EFA in helping people in and out of “the business” who unexpectedly find themselves in crisis. These are people who are trying to provide for themselves and their families while facing the challenges of diminished resources, and most distressingly, little or no health care.

Your efforts have saved lives, kept families (by every definition of that word) together and allowed folks to pick themselves up from unfortunate, sometimes terrible circumstance to start anew – with many then turning around and reaching out to someone who has fallen behind them.

Undoubtedly, we are headed for some rough waters.   But I am cautiously hopeful that together we will – as we have before – get through and ride out whatever comes our way.   Changed, of course. Wet, perhaps.   But certainly with our spirits intact.

Together we can continue to make a difference. I hope you will stay on the journey with us.

Best wishes,

Tom Viola
Executive Director