When the East Hampton Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game was postponed due to COVID-19, an Artists versus Writers Charity Fundraising Challenge on GoFundMe was held in its place.
On the third Saturday of August, when the 72nd annual game would have been played at Herrick Park in East Hampton, the tally was announced.
The results: Artists $8775, Writers $8345.
“Just like the on-field game, there was a lot of back and forth as the noon deadline approached,” said Board President and Writer Benito Vila. “The Artists held the lead for most of the week, but the Writers came back Friday night, only to see the Artists bring in a set of donations late on Saturday morning.
Since the Artists raised the most by the deadline their team will have home field advantage at next year’s game.
“There was much of the same camaraderie on the Writers side that we have on the field,” said Vila. “It just came through email this year. It was nice to see both sides thank the people who taught them how to play – parents and coaches – and their professional mentors, too. One donation acknowledged B. Smith, James Lipton, Billy Powers, Richard Reeves and Ruth Applehof, our ‘angels in the outfield,’ former players who passed away this year.”
Writers’ captain Ken Auletta wrote, “Congratulations to the artists for winning this ‘fake’ game contest. We writers look forward to winning the real game next summer.”
Funds raised will go to four local charities: East End Hospice, The Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, Phoenix House Academy and The Retreat.
“Instead of lamenting the loss of the game due to the Pandemic, the Artists & Writers organizers pivoted to an online challenge, insisting that raising money for four local charities had to happen whether they could set foot on a field or not,” said Kim Nichols, The Retreat’s development director.
“The support of Artists and Writers Game allows East End Hospice to care for patients and their families at no cost to them including providing bereavement care to anyone in need in the community especially during this difficult time,” said East End Hospice president Mary Crosby.
“As a non-profit organization that serves local working families, we use the proceeds from the game towards scholarships. This year we know that more families than ever will need financial assistance,” said Joan Overlock, the Director of Development at Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center.
The first game was played in 1948 in Springs. It featured artists Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Philip Pavia, Jackson Pollock and Joan Mitchell. Writers began to join the lineup in the 1950s. Over the years, players have included Dustin Hoffman, Eli Wallach, Bill King, Anne Jackson, Paul Simon, Christopher Reeve, Roy Scheider, Carl Bernstein, George Plimpton, John Irving, Peter Matthieson, Mort Zuckerman, President Bill Clinton and Mike Lupica.
While the results may be in, the GoFundMe page is still active and both the Artists and Writers hope to hit the $30,000 goal.