Scarlett Johansson, her fellow Avengers cast members and The John Gore Organization raised $500,000 toward the relief efforts in Puerto Rico in the wake of the devastation left by Hurricane Maria with a star-studded benefit reading of Thornton Wilder’s classic play “Our Town” on Monday, November 6th at Atlanta’s iconic Fox Theatre. The evening featured Tony Award winner Scarlett Johansson along with her Avengers co-stars: Academy Award nominee Robert Downey Jr.; Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner; Tony Award nominee Mark Ruffalo; Chris Evans; Frank Grillo; and Maximiliano Hernandez. The evening was directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon and organized by Ms. Johansson and The John Gore Organization.
“We are all deeply touched by the outpouring of generosity and support from the local community,” Johansson said. “We knew we could count on you, Atlanta!” John Gore, Chairman and CEO of the John Gore Organization, added, “We couldn’t be happier to support our friend, Scarlett, and her co-stars in producing this evening for such a worthy cause.”
The event played to a full house and a very enthusiastic crowd. With over 3,500 tickets sold, it is one of the largest audiences the play has ever been presented to in one night. Johansson was joined on stage for opening remarks by director Kenny Leon and Xiomara Caro from the Maria Fund, sharing an inspiring message about the purpose of the event and the relief effort. They brought the crowd to their feet when they revealed that the evening’s efforts resulted in half of a million dollars raised to help Puerto Rico in their hour of need.
“We are deeply grateful to Scarlett Johansson, Kenny Leon and everyone involved in the production of this play for stepping up and contributing their talent to help towards the equitable and just rebuilding of Puerto Rico. This event demonstrates the importance of collective solidarity and responsibility and how powerful it is when we come together to help our communities,” said Xiomara Caro, Director of New Organizing Projects for the Center of Popular Democracy and coordinator of Maria Fund. “A month after Hurricane Maria, millions are without power, or regular access to clean water and food. But there are also hundreds of grassroots organizations and community-run initiatives that are building community everyday to provide relief and organize a short and long-term response to all of these issues. This is the kind of initiatives Maria Fund is supporting,” Caro added.
The Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund is housed at the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and funds will be used to support immediate relief, recovery and equitable rebuilding in Puerto Rico for low-income communities of color hit hardest by the storm. The fund will support organizations working on the frontlines with these communities.