The Actors Fun says it has distributed over $10.5 million in just eight weeks to help provide emergency financial assistance for entertainment industry members in need due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reaching in months a total five times the amount it typically provides in one year.
The Fund's financial aid is helping the most vulnerable members of the performing arts and entertainment communities—as well as those facing financial hardship—by providing assistance for basic living expenses including medications, housing costs, food, and utilities.
Among the many fundraisers that have been launched to help the Fund during the health crisis are Stars in the House, the twice-daily talk show/variety hour hosted by by SiriusXM Radio host Seth Rudetsky and his husband, producer James Wesley; the Broadway Jackbox gaming event with Andrew Barth Feldman and Alex Boniello; Humpday With Hampshire, hosted by Schitt’s Creek star Emily Hampshire as she interviews celebrities in their natural habitats; and Viral Vignettes, featuring original work from favorite actors of the ’70s and ’80s.
Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, chairman of the Board of The Actors Fund, said in a statement, “Looking at a number—even one as large as 10 million —doesn’t begin tell the whole story. In an instant, our friends and supporters, people like Rosie O’Donnell, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, and others, 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.”
Actors Fund President and CEO Joseph Benincasa 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. 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.”
As the situation with the coronavirus continues to evolve, The Actors Fund has transitioned to online and phone-based services, which remain available for everyone in the performing arts and entertainment community. These services include Artists Health Insurance Resource Center, The Career Center, Housing Resources, Addiction & Recovery, HIV/AIDS and Senior Services, Counseling and Emergency Financial Assistance, as well as The Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.
To make a tax-deductible donation to The Actors Fund visit ActorsFund.org/Donate.