The national human services organization for people in performing arts and entertainment renamed the facility The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence in honor of the philanthropist and retired nightclub entertainer. Actors Fund President and CEO Joseph P. Benincasa said the gift and the renaming were particularly apt because when Ross arrived in Manhattan in the 1940s, "she had a hard time finding affordable housing where she could feel comfortable." That memory stayed with her, and led to the Dr. Gerald J. & Dorothy R. Friedman Foundation making a generous donation that made the renovation possible. Ross did not attend the ceremony, but two other benefactors did, An American in Paris producers Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley also contributed toward the restoration. The building's renovated lobby--complete with with window cards from current New York shows--was named in their honor. Comley said, "We are approached by a lot of worthy causes, but we want to know the money is going to be used wisely. The Actors Fund has been around for 120 years, and we believe, with the way it's being run, that it will be around for another 120."
Chita Rivera, who recently completed a Broadway run in The Visit as part of a six-decade career, said, "The Actors Fund is always there for the actor," and says she knows several friends who "just got older and just couldn't take care of themselves." As an example, she pointed to a friend's mother who moves with the aid of a walker, and who has been living in Friedman facility for 14 years. "She's happy and is taken care of and feels safe. And you want that. And the Actors Fund does just that. So I'll do anything for the Actors Fund."
Originally opened in 1996 as The Aurora, the 30-story high rise condominium was converted 19 years ago into 178 shared residential units of supportive housing that has provided a home for special low-income groups including seniors, working professionals in performing arts and entertainment and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Eligibility for the building is based on federal guidelines under the Internal Revenue Service Federal Tax Credit Program. To be eligible, applicants must have an income of 60 percent or less of the area's median income. To apply to The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence, an applicant’s annual income may not exceed $36,300 and should not be less than $17,000.