Photos: Go Inside Entertainment Community Fund Gala Honoring Sonia Friedman and Seth MacFarlane | Playbill

Photos Photos: Go Inside Entertainment Community Fund Gala Honoring Sonia Friedman and Seth MacFarlane

Annette Bening and Brian Stokes Mitchell announced The Fund's $160 million ESSENTIAL Campaign during the starry evening.

Annette Bening and Brian Stokes Mitchell Rebecca J Michelson

At The Entertainment Community Fund's Annual Gala April 8 at the New York Marriott Marquis, the Fund announced the creation of the $160 million ESSENTIAL Campaign, which will combine the organization's fundraising so that it can serve more people in more places.

The new campaign will support expanding and sustaining Fund services; growing the Emergency Relief Reserve Fund to allow the Fund to respond immediately to the next crisis that may impact the entertainment community; and support mission-critical capital projects.

Specific goals include tripling the number of people the Fund serves; executing an innovative digital engagement strategy that includes the roll-out of a new client portal; completing construction of The Hollywood Arts Collective; upgrading the Actors Fund Home; modernizing The Schermerhorn and The Dorothy Ross Friedman affordable housing residences in New York; and more.

Fundraising for the new campaign began in 2022; an additional $1.1 million was raised at the gala.

Led by Honorary Co-Chairs Annette Bening and Brian Stokes Mitchell, the ESSENTIAL Campaign Committee also includes Co-Chairs Hugh Jackman, Chris Keyser, Kenny Leon, Matthew Loeb, Shonda Rhimes, and Robert Wankel. Committee members include Greg Berlanti, Janice Reals Ellig, Robert Greenblatt, David Henry Hwang, Sharon Karmazin, Brooke Kennedy, James L. Nederlander, Ruth Nerken, Laura Penn, David Rambo, Lauren Reid, Kate Shindle, Henry Tisch, and Lisa Ann Walter.

“The Entertainment Community Fund has been a longstanding cornerstone in our industry, lending support and meeting the unique needs of thousands of people. Still, more of our colleagues need help, and it will take all of us to support the transformative ESSENTIAL Campaign and ensure that the Fund reaches as many individuals who need these services as possible,” said Committee Co-Chair Rhimes in a statement.

Bening and Mitchell added, “As Board Chairs for the Entertainment Community Fund and as Honorary Co-Chairs for the ESSENTIAL Campaign, we are tremendously grateful to everyone who has already supported this fundraising initiative and to those who will help us meet our goal. With significant campaign contributions already distributed to provide much-needed services to our community, the Fund is already impacting the lives of more people in more places.”

The gala evening—which honored entertainment professionals working in film, TV, theatre, music, and dance—celebrated Tony and Olivier-winning  producer Sonia Friedman; writer, actor, director, producer, and singer Seth MacFarlane; and Warner Bros. Television Group, Emmy-winning producer of scripted, unscripted, and animated programming. All three received the Entertainment Community Fund Medal of Honor.

Special guests, presenters, and performers included Kelsey Anderson, Eric Bauza, Michael Evans Behling, Annette Bening, Melissa Benoist, Kola Bokinni, Holly Ann Butler, John Cardoza, Corey Cott, Hannah Cruz, Stephen Daldry, Cristo Fernández, Maria Friedman, Drew Gehling, Liz Gillies, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Hawley Gould, Joey Graziadei, Bonita Hamilton, Shanola Hampton, Brian d’Arcy James, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, McKenzie Kurtz, Camryn Manheim, Julia Mattison, Allyson Tucker Mitchell, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Katherine Oliver, Greta Onieogou, Cassadee Pope, Dennis Stowe, L. Steven Taylor, Ryan Vasquez, Joy Woods, Chip Zien, and more.

The Entertainment Community Fund is a national human services organization that addresses the needs of people who work in performing arts and entertainment with services focused on health and wellness, career and life, and housing.

For more information about the new campaign, visit

Check out photos from the evening below.

Photos: Liz Gillies, Maria Friedman, More Attend Entertainment Community Fund Gala

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