How The Actor’s Fund Became the Amusement Neighborhood Fund – The Hollywood Reporter

Yoshiko Yap

The Actor’s Fund is now the Amusement Community Fund, the 140-calendar year-old business declared in the course of its bicoastal once-a-year gala occasion Monday night.

Fund chairman and Tony-successful actor Brian Stokes Mitchell offered the information all through the simulcast ceremony and fundraising function, which lifted a file-breaking $1.7 million for the longstanding corporation. A host of sector visitors were in attendance in Los Angeles at Paramount Shots and in New York at the Marriott Marquis for the announcement, together with Hugh Jackman, Sutton Foster, Alex Newell, LL Great J, Chandra Wilson, Amanda Kloots, Kenny Leon, Harris Yulin, Edmund Donovan and Paramount CEO Brian Robbins.

“It’s a new title and a new glance, with the similar mission,” Mitchell informed the crowds. “We realize the devotion of technicians, digital camera operators, stagehands, writers, musicians, stage managers, actors and countless numbers extra who function in movie, television, radio, audio, theater, dance and opera. They all add to our country’s cultural vibrancy. We worth them. We assistance them. And the fund is here for all of them.”

The identify alter arrives a thirty day period before the Fund’s 140th anniversary this June. “Since 1882, the concept has usually been that we enable everyone in the accomplishing arts and enjoyment group,” Fund president and CEO Joseph Benincasa explained to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of Monday’s announcement. “Who these folks ended up is a small distinct than it is currently, but the expression ‘actor,’ when the corporation was launched, used to everyone operating in show company. So there is always been this discussion.”

Benincasa said the recent branding change — which consists of its first-at any time brand (a heart formed by spotlights) — truly commenced 15 many years in the past with an before and more compact rebranding work that created the Fund’s initially tag line, “for anyone in leisure.” But in the years considering the fact that, the group felt that even that nonetheless did not quite make clear how broadly the nonprofit defines leisure sector employee and just how a lot of persons its housing, health care and crisis money assistance programs really supports.

So all over five decades ago, the Fund formally surveyed “the whole undertaking arts and leisure community,” Benincasa claimed, which includes users of the unions and guilds as properly as staff members of the studios and theaters. “What arrived back to us loud and very clear is that our identify should say who we are, who we aid, have a tagline and introduce our initially-at any time emblem,” he claimed.

The firm carried that effort and hard work out and was gearing up for the announcement of its present-day rebrand when the pandemic hit. The Fund was pressured to cancel a dwell celebration where they were going to make the announcement before becoming immediately swept up in the requires of supporting customers of the amusement market amid a variety of production shutdowns, such as some 100,000 folks on Broadway who ended up out of perform and missing healthcare for nearly two many years.

“During the pandemic, we realized that folks didn’t know they could change to us for aid. So we experienced to do a ton of promotion and a whole lot of publicity about that to allow people today know that the Actors Fund was below to enable them as a result of,” Benincasa told THR. “The pandemic demonstrated to us is that this final decision was warranted.”

Beyond Monday’s announcement, the Entertainment Local community Fund will be working with its advertising campaign, “most of which has been donated,” Benincasa claimed, to spread the phrase and inspire much more folks in the sector — from crew to enjoyment trade press — to flip to the group for help. It programs to do this with the enable of the unions, guilds, theaters and studios and its star-studded board customers.

That contains actress Annette Bening, showrunner Greg Berlanti, former head of Writers Guild West Chris Keyser and The Good Battle producer Brooke Kennedy. (Kaiser and Kennedy were also in cost of making the organization’s 3-minute video clip announcement for the identify transform, which featured Stokes and other major Fund names.)

Seeking forward, the Fund president claims the organization desires to “triple the selection of folks we help” around the next a few a long time and hopes that this rebrand will help the nonprofit reach that objective.

“We never beat our chests. We never converse about ourselves far too a great deal,” Benincasa states about the Fund’s board, volunteers and staff. “But we do talk about what we do and how we help. We want individuals to know they can transform to us.”

“During the pandemic, we assisted 68,000 folks and made available $27 million in direct economical support,” he ongoing. “We want to make guaranteed that everyone knows that our firm can enable them at some level in their life or all over their lives.”

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