The Actors Fund – a national human services organization founded in 1882, to foster stability and resiliency, and to provide a safety net for professionals in the performing arts and entertainment industry – today reported that it has distributed a record-breaking $10,500,000 in financial assistance over eight weeks for COVID-19-related emergency support. That amount represents more than five times the funds normally provided in an entire year for people in need in the entertainment community. The emergency financial aid is helping its most vulnerable members and those facing financial hardship by providing assistance for basic living expenses, including housing costs, food, utilities, and essential medications.
Tony Award-winning actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, who serves as Chairman of the Board of The Actors Fund, noted that, “In an instant, our friends and supporters . . . began dreaming of entirely new fundraising models that would prove to be nothing short of lifesaving. In all my years working with The Fund, I’ve never been so moved, so inspired, or so grateful.”
Joseph Benincasa, President and CEO of The Actors Fund, added, “The kind of collaboration and generosity we’ve seen over the past two months from our entertainment industry union and guild partners, including SAG-AFTRA, Actors’ Equity, and the IATSE, as well as thousands of individual donors, has been nothing short of staggering. It is an unbelievable honor to be able to do so much good for so many people, thanks to the unprecedented level of support we continue to receive.”
But he warned that, “It’s also important to note that this is by no means a victory lap. In the coming months, we anticipate helping our entertainment industry colleagues navigate issues such as union health insurance, the new COVID-economy, mental health support, addiction and recovery resources, affordable housing, securing government resources, and more. The level of need is overwhelming, and our work has only just begun.”
If you are an entertainment professional in need of assistance, or if you would like to make a donation to support the efforts of The Actors Fund, please go online to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief page.