LEAD GIFT OF $1,000,000 FROM BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS WILL STRENGTHEN THE PROGRAM FOR THE COMMUNITY
New York, NY (June 29, 2020) – The Actors Fund, a national human services organization for everyone in performing arts and entertainment, announced the Every Artist Insured campaign today to enhance their free and confidential health insurance counseling and enrollment support services. Over the next six months, thousands of professionals in performing arts and entertainment, who remain without work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will become ineligible for their union insurance. In order to maintain coverage without interruption, individuals and families will need education and assistance in selecting and securing affordable health insurance plans through the state health insurance exchanges starting immediately. To respond to this need, The Actors Fund will hire and train additional health insurance counselors, doubling the staff of their Artists Health Insurance Resource Center.
A lead gift of $1,000,000 in support from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) will launch The Actors Fund’s Every Artist Insured campaign. BC/EFA’s support will make it possible for The Actors Fund to raise the additional funds needed to create and fund the program over the next 12 months and support the community in staying insured through the crisis of this pandemic. To donate to support The Actors Fund’s Every Artist Insured campaign, visit actorsfund.org/EAIDonate.
“One of our biggest immediate concerns in the midst of the pandemic is access to health insurance,” said Actors Fund Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell. “We have a short window of time to address this problem facing potentially thousands of people.”
“Due to the episodic nature of their employment, people who work in performing arts in every discipline—actors and stage managers, dancers, musicians, backstage and front of house personnel—lack the ability to secure and sustain health insurance as they lose the weeks of work that qualify them for health insurance from their various unions,” said BC/EFA Executive Director Tom Viola. “Every Artist Insured will address this health insurance eligibility crisis and offer advocacy navigating health insurance options and support to those who need it most in securing and keeping health insurance coverage active. Broadway Cares is proud and eager to join The Actors Fund in this essential collaboration.”
“The Actors Fund is committed to providing the services our community needs to weather this storm,” said Actors Fund Board Vice Chair Annette Bening. “While Every Artist Insured is an ongoing program of The Fund, the pandemic-related termination of so many members of our community from their health insurance plans has created an urgent and time-sensitive need to enhance these services well beyond our normal scale. It’s a challenge we’re ready to meet for our community.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted disproportionate economic damage on Equity members and the performing arts and entertainment community at large, and the suffering of those in live performance disciplines is especially deep and prolonged,” said Actors’ Equity Executive Director and Actors Fund Board member Mary McColl. “The Actors Fund knows who our members are, what they need and they are proving yet again that they can respond quickly to those needs. Now more than ever, we are learning just how important they are to the health of everyone who works in entertainment.”
“The pandemic has devastated our members' work opportunities and has had a profound impact on our musicians' lives. Many of our members have experienced deep anxiety about maintaining much-needed health insurance," said AFM Local 802 President Adam Krauthamer. "Our musicians have always counted on The Actors Fund for everything from counseling to housing to financial relief, and now their support for our members in remaining insured will be more important than ever. We are proud of our partnership with The Actors Fund and are grateful for the ongoing support."
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in mid-March, The Actors Fund has provided urgently-needed emergency financial assistance to performing arts and entertainment community workers nationally, already totaling more than $13 million in assistance to more than 11,000 people.
After prioritizing short-term assistance and ensuring the stability of their ongoing programs in shifting to online and phone-based services, The Actors Fund continues to plan for the near and long-term supports that will be needed for performing arts and entertainment professionals as this crisis evolves. In addition to one-on-one health insurance enrollment counseling for both union and non-union performing arts and entertainment professionals, The Actors Fund will continue to provide online education through expanded webinars, customized seminars, and relevant updates on the health insurance landscape for the community.
The Actors Fund’s programs remain available for everyone in the performing arts and entertainment community. These services include: Artists Health Insurance Resource Center, The Career Center, The Dancers’ Resource, Housing Resources, Addiction & Recovery, HIV/AIDS, Women’s Health and Senior Services, Counseling and Emergency Financial Assistance and more. For a listing of all services of The Actors Fund, visit www.actorsfund.org/Services.
THE ACTORS FUND
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan. Through offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Fund serves everyone in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance with programs including social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and secondary employment and training services. Visit www.actorsfund.org.
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