Actors Fund Gala Raises $1.4 Million
The Actors Fund's annual gala yesterday evening at the New York Marriott Marquis raised a record-breaking $1.4 million, as more than 750 guests gathered to honor Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro, the pay television company HBO and entrepreneur/film producer and Fund trustee and treasurer Steve Kalafer. The trio each received the Medal of Honor, the highest award given from the 131-year old non-profit human services organization.
Lena Dunhum, star of HBO's Girls presented the medal to CEO Richard Plepler, who remarked, "The Actors Fund performs the most noble of all charitable work-helping those who are most vulnerable because fate or misfortune have put them in harm's way, and but for the grace of God, could be any of us. What a blessing The Actors Fund provides in bringing respite and safety to their lives."
Holland Taylor, star of the Broadway play Ann, and Tony-winning Fund Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell introduced Steve Kalafer, who noted, "The Actors Fund is not just a great charitable institution. It is a highly accountable organization that exercises great fiduciary to every dollar collected and spent. The Actors Fund is managed with its guiding principles and mission, with a steely solid direction that encompasses not only the best practices of a not-for-profit organization, but of any business that any of us in this room would admire and be proud of."
Oscar-nominated actor Chazz Palminteri closed the evening by presenting the award to Robert De Niro, who said, "I'm happy The Actors Fund has for more than 130 years, put their money in the right place: helping entertainment industry professionals." He added: "Thank you to The Actors Fund for the essential work that you do for our friends in need."
The evening included performances by cast members from four Broadway musicals, including Billy Porter of Kinky Boots, John Lloyd Young of Jersey Boys, Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro and composer Tim Minchin of Matilda and Brandon Victor Dixon & Valisia LeKae of Motown.