CHESTER, United Kingdom — Lin–Manuel Miranda is the recipient of three Tony Awards, two Grammys, two Emmys, two Olivier Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and a Genius Grant from the MacArthur Fellows Program for his timeless contribution to musical theatre. But before Miranda was a certified genius of the arts, he was a philanthropist – raised through family practice, Lin–Manuel Miranda’s fight against poverty began before he picked up the pen.
“…All our philanthropic efforts are really things we were working on when we had no money,” Miranda says. “The success of ‘Hamilton’ has allowed us to put greater resources to the things we cared about.”
The Miranda Family Fund
Miranda family formed the Miranda Family Fund in 2016. Everyone in the family has their individual cause – Miranda’s father, Luis, prioritizes Latino representation in politics, while Lin’s focus is on the arts. But Miranda’s mother, Luz’, the birthplace of Puerto Rico is the fund’s focus. Having raised $120 million in total for nonprofits, $71 million went to the support of “arts, farming, reproductive rights and Hurricane Maria recovery” in Puerto Rico.
Flamboyan Arts Fund
Hurricane Maria had a devastating impact on art organizations across Puerto Rico in 2017. Miranda was quick to respond, referencing the life-changing impact the arts had on him and how he “cannot stand idly by and watch Puerto Rico’s arts and culture scene suffer.”
He partnered with the Flamboyan Foundation to form the Flamboyan Arts Fund in 2018, with the driving aim of renewing Puerto Rico’s arts scene and revitalizing underdeveloped schools and communities. He issued and starred in a 17-day Hamilton run on the island and raised more than $15 million in tickets and donations to the fund – enough to revive 12 arts organizations.
Lolita Villanúa, executive director of one of these 12 organizations (Andanza), explains “It’s the first time that we have funds guaranteed for the beginning of the year.” She cites Miranda’s contribution to the cause as “very important.”
Almost Like Praying
Outside forming a myriad of organizations, Lin–Manuel Miranda’s fight against Puerto Rican poverty often battles on individual grounds. Beyond his work with the Flamboyan Arts Fund and The Miranda Family Fund, he further contributed support to Puerto Rico during the Hurricane Maria crisis with his release of the star-studded “Almost Like Praying” on October 5, 2017, according to Playbill.
Recorded in less than a week, its lyrics reference all 78 towns in Puerto Rico, with more than 20 Latin artists (including Camila Cabello, Gina Rodriguez and Rita Moreno) and its music video racking up 500,000 views in mere hours, all the track’s proceeds go to the Hispanic Federation’s disaster relief fund for Puerto Rican aid.
George Washington Educational Campus
A more recent example of Miranda’s fight against poverty is his gift to the George Washington Educational Campus. Partnering with the Latin Grammys Foundation, Miranda donated $40,000 worth of instruments to the under-resourced high school in 2022, ensuring – as he so often does – that the arts are available to all youth, no matter their background.
On top of his many accolades for musical theatre, Miranda has received awards for his fight against poverty:
- The 2021 Service to America Leadership Award – for “improving the lives of others through extraordinary public service,” according to the National Association of Broadcasters.
- The 2022 Changemaker Award – for his use of “film to forward social change.”
In a statement receiving his Changemaker Award, Miranda cites “arts educators” as the reason he was able to reach the heights he has in his career was often possible only because of the philanthropy of others. He references the ongoing commitment he and his family made to that philanthropy long ago and promises to continue their work “to open up more avenues for underrepresented artists, to diversify the field and allow far more people to be seen and heard.”
Lin–Manuel Miranda started fighting against poverty at an early age and he has since used his growing success and influence to fight it harder. His work for the Hispanic community across the globe is revolutionary and should be celebrated as much as his masterful art. Much like this art that he gifts us with year after year, Lin–Manuel Miranda’s fight against poverty truly appears to be non-stop.
– Jenny Boxall