With the New York charity scene on hiatus, here is how some patrons and society figures are spending their time and resources during the pandemic.
Occupation: writer, comedian and television host of “The View”
Favorite Charity: Guild Hall, East Hampton.
Where have you been self-isolating?
I’m in Sag Harbor. I’m a townie, not a summer person. I have a lot of friends here. We used to have dinner parties, go to restaurants. But there are so many things that we can’t do right now. I’m dying to go to T.J. Maxx.
So how are you spending your downtime?
We’re trapped, my husband and me. I’m fighting with him as to who should go to the mailbox to get the mail. I’ve done a bit of gardening, but that’s over now.
What has it been like to work remotely on “The View?”
It’s quite annoying. Being in the studio is much more my style. I prefer to jump in and out of a conversation instead of having the spotlight on me.
Your husband, Steve Janowitz, once accidentally appeared on the broadcast.
He is the technician for my part of the show. He is former math teacher from the Bronx. He’s not exactly in the tech union. Mishaps happen constantly.
Have you found other creative outlets?
We produced a virtual benefit for Guild Hall. It’s called “A Totally Disrespectful Evening of Short Plays by Joy Behar.” We performed four 10-minute plays, plus a monologue that I’m doing. No one knows that I write plays. This is a new thing for me.
What got you started?
The idea just came upon me one day. We brought together a great cast: Lorraine Bracco, Susie Essman, Rachel Dratch and Brenda Vaccaro, along with Robert Klein, Dylan McDermott and others. One of the good things about Zooming is that people are at home. It’s not as if we had to fly Dylan McDermott in from L.A.
What do you mean by a “disrespectful evening?”
I wrote about a woman who wants to contact the dead. She’s got a score to settle. It’s about keeping the grim reaper away from the door. The monologue is a little bit on the political side.
In what sense?
One of the characters talks about a minor crime that she committed years before. She has a political rationalization for it, let’s put it that way. And she’s thinking of doing it again.
There have been rumors that you plan to retire.
Maybe that’s someone’s wishful thinking. I’m not leaving, not yet. I’ll keep reinventing, if I can, as long as I’m on the planet.
Occupation: fashion designer
Favorite Charities: Planned Parenthood
Where have you been hunkering down?
We spend a great deal of time in our country home in Westchester, N.Y. It’s been wonderful under terrible circumstances to be able to plant a garden with Ivy and Callum, my 3-year-old twins, and to watch the cherry tomatoes come out, to watch the twins’ wonder and hopefulness. We’re trying to stay optimistic, but I’m not in denial by any stretch.
Has the pandemic changed your outlook in practical terms?
It has given us a moment to pause and see which direction we would like to go in as a label. Retail has changed so much. Shopping has changed so much. For a creator of ready-to-wear, there are fewer outlets available.
Have these shifts affected the way you do business?
I started to do things differently a while ago. I no longer felt like turning out four collections a year. We went to a two-collection model and were showing smaller presentations in-house. That was more in tune with our customers’ needs. And it was where I wanted to be.
You participated with Sotheby’s in an early fall fund-raiser for Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, a remote gathering that featured artists and celebrities, including Marilyn Minter, Cecily Brown, Judy Chicago, Questlove, Christy Turlington, Claire Danes and Julianna Margulies. What was your personal contribution?
I collaborated with Cindy Sherman on a collection of limited-edition T-shirts. They were offered for sale online. Cindy and I chose some images that had personal meaning for us. The proceeds are going to Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. In this political climate, they need our support more than ever. It’s not just about contraception or choice. People forget that. They provide cancer screening, S.T.I. testing and treatment, H.I.V. prevention, testing and counseling, and so many more educational services.
Which other interests have sustained you personally?
I feel the need to be surrounded by beautiful things again. After many months of lockdown, it feels good to dress up. It changes your mood. I’m wearing a very simple Yohji Yamamoto navy zip-front cardigan from the early ’90s. I also pulled out a beautiful double-breasted navy Melton coat from that time. I remember how much I cherished it then, and I cherish it now.
Occupation: event producer
Notable charity projects: amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research; CORE; Friends of the High Line
Where have you been sheltering?
I spent the majority of the time in Woodstock in upstate New York, in a magical little house on the side of a mountain in a forest out of Brothers Grimm. I was there with my daughters, who are 3 and a year-and-a-half.
In which ways have your rhythms changed?
I turn off my phone. That never used to happen. I have lunch with my daughters every day. I try to make everything a little magical for them. We turn even little things like taking the garbage out to a garbage truck into an adventure. But I’ve also been working, running a company and trying to keep my life together. It’s tiring, I’m not going to lie.
Tell me about one of your recent events.
We came up with Pump to the Polls, a virtual ball to benefit Destination Tomorrow, an L.G.B.T.Q. center in the Bronx. We were very much trying to activate the gay and trans community in New York, to get them and others to go out and vote. For one of the segments honoring Kamala Harris, the contestants were asked to do a couture runway competition. Marc Jacobs judged.
Have there been bumps in your planning?
For CORE, the Haitian Relief Organization that Sean Penn co-chairs, we started on April 1, and it took until the second week of September to finish. Most of the participants were in California. On the day we started shooting, the fires broke out. We lost power. People couldn’t get to their houses. Everyone was late. It was a logistical challenge, like bringing together the cast of “Gone With the Wind.” But that event, a reading from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” went viral. It was billed as a reunion between Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt.
Have your virtual galas veered in other ways?
We made new rules. No event can be more than 30 minutes long. If the camera is going to be on the guests, they have to dress up. We try to keep things interactive. For City Harvest, we had a virtual poker tournament. People had to turn up in a chic James Bond look.
You’ve been mostly sequestered during this time. What do you miss?
As a gay guy who grew up in New York, I miss the fun, the camaraderie, of being on a dance floor. Right now, the only place I can do that is in my living room with my daughters. They’re my dance partners. I pick up the younger one and twirl her. The older one loves Shakira. She’s got her own moves.
Interviews have been edited.