The Actors Fund, a 140-year-old human services organization that supports members of the performing arts and entertainment industries across the United States, is changing its name to the Entertainment Community Fund, effective immediately. The move was announced at their May 9 benefit gala.
“It’s a new name and a new look, with the same mission,” says Fund chairman and Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell. “We recognize the dedication of technicians, camera operators, stagehands, writers, musicians, stage managers, actors, and thousands more who work in film, television, radio, music, theatre, dance, and opera. They all contribute to our country’s cultural vibrancy. We value them. We support them. And the Fund is here for all of them.”
Founded by Albert Marshman Palmer in 1882, the Fund was originally organized to "foster and benefit the physical, as well as advance the intellectual, welfare of the actors of America." Since the dawn of the 20th century, the Fund has provided millions of dollars of assistance to creatives and their families, including burial plots and end of life care at Lillian Booth Actors Home of The Actors Fund, an assisted living facility established in 1912.
“We’ve long worked to meet the needs of those working throughout the entertainment industry, across the country,” says Fund President and CEO Joseph Benincasa. “Now, with our new name, we can reflect the full scope of what we do and the broad range of performing arts and entertainment professionals we serve.”
While the Fund has been an indispensable resource for over a century, it lept to action in 2020 and 2021 to support community members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund has distributed more than $26.8 million dollars since March 2020 to more than 17,900 people through emergency financial assistance.
“We help people navigate challenges in their lives no matter what their role in this industry,” continues Benincasa. “We’re proud to continue this legacy, and to continue to help all members of our community to build more resilient futures.”
“I can’t even count the number of friends and colleagues who have told me that the Fund saved their lives,” adds Actors’ Equity President Kate Shindle. “That long, essential tradition of intervention and support for the human beings who fuel our
uniquely challenging industry must be reflected in the organization’s name, so that everyone who makes the performing arts possible recognizes that these resources are available to them as well."
The Fund's Annual Gala, held May 9 at Los Angeles' Paramount Pictures and New York City's Marriott Marquis, raised a record-breaking $1.7 million for the organization. Medals of Honor were presented to Emmy award winner and 2022 Tony nominee Uzo Aduba, Paramount Global President and CEO Bob Bakish, Academy and Tony Award–winning actor Mercedes Ruehl, and Shubert Organization Chairman and CEO and 2022 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award recipient Robert E. Wankel. Among the evening's attendees between the New York and Los Angeles events were Hugh Jackman, Sutton Foster, Alex Newell, Kenny Leon, Harris Yulin, LL Cool J, Amanda Kloots, and Edmund Donovan.
The New York gala also featured performances from Paradise Square star and 2022 Tony Award nominee Joaquina Kalukango and Caroline, or Change's Samantha Williams; Company stars Bobby Conte, Claybourne Elder, and Manu Narayan; and SIX stars Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Abby Mueller, Brittney Mack, Samantha Pauly, and Anna Uzele. Los Angeles attendees were also entertained by Olivier Award winner Amber Riley and singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno.
For more information, visit EntertainmentCommunity.org.