Last night, The Denver Actors Fund announced a $10,000 gift from an anonymous donor in memory of the non-profit organization’s late president, Brenda Billings. It represents the largest gift in the nearly 3-year history of the organization, which provides financial and other relief to local theatre artists in situational medical need.
The announcement was made Tuesday at a benefit concert honoring Billings’ memory at the downtown Hard Rock Cafe.
The announcement was made at Tuesday’s concert by Will Barnette, Billings’ son-in-law and the newest member of the Denver Actors Fund’s Board of Directors.
Barnette said Billings and the Denver Actors Fund were a perfect match. “This is one of the most literal ways that she was helping people,” Barnette said. “She was doing that her entire life, but the DAF was such a great way for her to reach out and help people directly in need.”
Billings was also the co-Artistic Director at Miners Alley Playhouse and a longtime contributor to Colorado’s non-profit community. She died April 13 at age 57.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the Brenda Billings Memorial Match Campaign is encouraged to give by clicking this link.
Tuesday’s concert, titled “Be Brave,” featured songs from musicals directed by Billings and performed by 30 returning cast members from Hair, Hairspray, The Fantasticks, Godspell, Songs For a New World and Pump Boys and Dinettes. Members of the Billings family sang. Billings’ nephew, Tucker Worley (Mamma Mia national tour) and Denver School of the Arts graduate Jordan Geiger (Peter and the Starcatcher) returned for special appearances.
The evening equally benefited the Denver Actors Fund and Miners Alley Playhouse. The organizations each raised $2,414 from ticket sales and on-site donations. The Denver Actors Fund earned an additional $1,400 from a silent auction to upcoming local theatre performances that were bundled into four silent-auction packages.
The donating companies were: And Toto Too, Arvada Center, BDT Stage, Bug Theatre, Buntport Theater, Curious Theatre, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Edge Theatre, Equinox Theatre, Firehouse Theatre, Ignite Theatre, Lost & Found Productions, Miners Alley Playhouse, Paper Cat Films, Town Hall Arts Center and Vintage Theatre.
The $3,814 raised by the Denver Actors Fund at Tuesday’s concert will be applied to the $10,000 match, leaving $6,186 left to be raised in the name of Brenda Billings.
The milestone donation brings the total raised by the Denver Actors Fund to more than $100,000 in less than three years of existence. Already, $45,000 has been distributed to actors, directors, stage managers and more facing immediate medical need. In addition, volunteers have logged more than 200 hours of service providing a variety of necessary services such as meals and transportation.
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