Emmy winner Sheryl Lee Ralph announced that her DIVA Foundation is expanding its reach. Founded in 1990, The DIVA Foundation was created to raise awareness, reduce stigmas, and help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. The new multi-layered program will raise awareness about various issues that affect marginalized communities.
“Our program is rooted in five pillars: health awareness, women and girls, LGBTQ+, social justice and racial equity, and food and housing insecurity,” Ralph said.
Tech executive Norman Lee will serve as foundation’s executive director. Lee, who has volunteered at the DIVAS Foundation for 18 years, will spearhead the rebranding.
“I’m excited to take on this new challenge and partner with Sheryl Lee Ralph and the organization’s board of directors to accomplish our mission of daring to care.” Lee said.
Ralph, who also serves as the foundation’s board president, said she faced opposition when she started the DIVAS Foundation. “People told me I was stupid,” she told People magazine in May 2023.
She added that people told her that assisting people living with HIV and AIDS was a waste of time.
But the Broadway star’s perseverance paid off. Since its inception, the DIVA Foundation has raised over $3 million and has helped support countless organizations such as Project Angel Food and The Black AIDS Institute.
The DIVA Foundation will soon host its annual event, “DIVAS Simply Singing! Raising Health Awareness.” Now in its 33rd year, it is the longest-running HIV/AIDS and Health Awareness benefit concert in the United States.
The concert has featured vocal powerhouses such as Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, and Patti Labelle and appearances from Hollywood legends like Whoopi Goldberg, Alfre Woodard, and Loretta Devine. The event will be filmed on November 19, 2023, and will air later on ABC and Hulu.