Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
FERNDALE OR DETROIT – AIDS Partnership Michigan and the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project received an especially welcome Valentine on Feb. 14 from Equity and Friends Fight AIDS and audiences of eight Michigan professional theatres.
During the morning that day Judy Dery, Mark Murri and Peggy Thorp, members of the Actors’ Equity Association liaison in Detroit, showed up at APM’s Jefferson Avenue offices with a check for $8,750, representing contributions received by EFFA during Thanksgiving weekend and other holiday performances in 2005, and presented it to APM Executive Director Barbara Murray.
During the afternoon the trio presented another check for the same amount to Ferndale’s Midwest AIDS Prevention Project.
“Raising the money for Equity is only half as much fun as giving it to MAPP and AIDS Partnership Michigan,” said Dery, chair of EFFA in Michigan. “I’m so delighted that we’re doing this kind of thing. What we’re proudest of is that the money we collect in the Detroit theatres helps Michigan organizations. It helps people in Michigan.”
“EEFA made a very generous contribution for us again this year,” said Craig Covey, executive director of MAPP.
“The good folks there have been with MAPP since the beginning, when we were founded in 1988,” he said. “It’s very, very important to us each year. We could not do our work without people like them.”
As federal and state AIDS funding continues to dwindle, APM must reinforce and diversify its private funding, and initiatives like EFFA are a vital part of the effort, according to Murray. “The government knows our work is urgently needed, but the current budget deficits are just as real as our clients’ needs,” she said. “Meanwhile, our theatres are filled with people who care about the well-being of neighbors and loved ones with AIDS, or who simply want to do something positive about the quality of life in their community. Each year, through EFFA, they can step up and do with their dollars what the government can’t.”
Equity is the labor union representing actors and stage managers in the professional theatre in the United States. Since 1989, it has been the driving force behind Equity and Friends Fight AIDS, which raises funds for Michigan AIDS organizations. EFFA also includes members of the Screen Actors’ Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and others on and behind the Michigan stage who take up the holiday collections with their audiences.
The Gem and Century Theatres, the Detroit Repertory Theatre and Hillberry Theatre in Detroit; the Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester; the Jewish Ensemble Theatre in Bloomfield Hills; the BoarsHead Theatre in Lansing and the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea participated in the 2005 EEFA effort.