2021 Plans Address Continued Impact of Pandemic on Entertainment Industry
The Actors Fund Provided $21.6 Million in Direct Financial Assistance in Response to the COVID-10 Pandemic
New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA) – June 10, 2021 – At an annual meeting held remotely yesterday, The Actors Fund, the national human services organization supporting performing arts and entertainment professionals, welcomed two new members to the Board of Trustees and reelected Brian Stokes Mitchell as Chairman.
Two new trustees were approved at the annual meeting: Greg Berlanti, the WGA, DGA and Golden Globe-nominated writer, director and producer; and Chandra Wilson, the award-winning theater, television and film actor. As board members, they will support The Actors Fund Board’s mission to continue to deliver and expand services nationwide, as the entertainment community adapts and changes.
“I could not be prouder to join the Board of The Actors Fund,” shared Greg Berlanti. “The last year has been hugely difficult for our industry. The services provided by The Fund are critical to the wellbeing of so many, providing direct financial relief and also support and counseling at such a critical time.”
Chandra Wilson said, “Our industry is a hard one in the best of times. Now more than ever, we know that a home is a precious right that must be protected and affordable, that mental health care is crucial, and that as a community we must look out for and take care of one another. I’m honored to join the Board and build on the incredible legacy The Fund has created for all of us.”
The annual Board meeting also reviewed the impact the pandemic has had on the entertainment industry and outlined the steps needed to foster increased stability within the community. The Fund is committed to providing an even greater safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals, supporting the organization’s vision for a “world in which individuals contributing to our country’s cultural vibrancy are supported, valued and economically secure.”
Over the last year, The Actors Fund has distributed more than $21.6 million in direct financial assistance to more than 16,300 entertainment arts professionals. “That’s more than we normally grant in 10 years,” Joseph Benincasa, President and CEO of The Actors Fund, said.
“Life has always been precarious for arts and entertainment workers,” said Brian Stokes Mitchell. “But the last year has exposed that we need to do even more to ensure that people in our industry have access to financial and health services, that we take care of one another, and that we advocate for public programs that support entertainment professionals across the country.”
The Board also renewed its commitment to providing on-going emergency financial assistance; health insurance education and enrollment services; career counseling; health care in partnership with Mount Sinai at The Friedman Health Care Center in Times Square in New York; helping to secure affordable housing, and building new housing; serving seniors throughout the community and at The Actors Fund Home in New Jersey; and expanding mental health services.
In 2020, The Actors Fund served more than 40,000 entertainment professionals, a 71% increase from 2019, and helped people from 126 different occupations in performing arts and entertainment with their services around career, financial wellness, mental health, health insurance, and housing.
In May, The Actors Fund released the results of a survey individuals who had sought their assistance over the last year, finding that nearly 80% of respondents had suffered a mental health impact due to the pandemic, 40% were more food insecure, 28% had fallen behind in rent or mortgage and 20% were forced to change housing. The full report is available here.
ABOUT 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. 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, senior and affordable housing, and secondary employment and training services. Visit actorsfund.org.
Greg Berlanti Bio: WGA, DGA and Golden Globe nominated writer, director, and producer, Greg Berlanti, is the force behind some of the most inventive and acclaimed works in film and television.
Currently, Berlanti’s company has a record-breaking 17 scripted series, the highest number of shows to air at one time for a tv producer and creator. He works as executive producer and co-creator of The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Stargirl, Titans and You. Additionally, Berlanti serves as executive producer on Riverdale, All American, Doom Patrol, Batwoman, Superman and Lois, Kung Fu, and The Flight Attendant, which received Golden Globe Awards nominations including ‘Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy’ as well as DGA, WGA, PGA, and SAG Awards nominations. Upcoming television projects include Green Lantern, Strange Adventures, More, Providence, and an untitled limited series about the life of screen icon Doris Day.
He began his career in television as a staff writer on the hit show Dawson’s Creek and became an executive producer and showrunner of the series after only one year on staff. Since then, Berlanti has served as creator, writer, and producer behind several of the most creative and lauded television series in history including WB’s Everwood and Jack & Bobby, ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, Eli Stone (for which he was nominated for a WGA award), and Dirty, Sexy, Money, and the USA Network’s mini‐series Political Animals (for which he was nominated for a WGA, DGA and Golden Globe award).
Berlanti made his film directorial debut in 2000 with The Broken Hearts Club. His most recent feature directorial project is the critically acclaimed Love, Simon, an adaptation of the celebrated YA novel Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. He also directed Life as We Know It, which grossed over $100m worldwide.
Upcoming feature projects include My Policeman directed by Michael Grandage, starring Harry Styles and Emma Corrin; Shawn Levy’s Free Guy starring Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer; Jennifer Kent’s Alice & Freda Forever; an Untitled Rock Hudson Biopic; Red, White and Royal Blue; Be More Chill; The Sting; The Editor; and We Were There, Too.
Berlanti was included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his husband and two children.
Chandra Wilson Bio: Chandra Wilson is best known for her multi award-winning role of Dr. Miranda Bailey on the hit ABC drama Grey’s Anatomy, now entering its 17th Season. She has received the Screen Actors Guild Award, People’s Choice Award, Prism Award, four NAACP Image Awards and four Emmy Award nominations for her work on the show. And having directed 20 episodes thus far, she has received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Director in a Series Drama, and a Women’s Image Network award for Drama Series Directed by a Woman. She has also directed Scandal, Good Trouble, and 3 episodes of The Fosters.
Chandra has been featured in Heart and Soul, Ebony, Parade, Venice, Working Mother, MediaPlanet and Essence magazines, and honored in an Entertainment Weekly year end issue with one of the year’s “Great Performances, Memorable Moments from 2005”. TV Guide called her a “Scene Stealer” in the August 2005 issue. In the Spring of 2004, she was selected by The New York Times as one of “8 to Watch, Onstage and Behind the Scenes”.
She graduated from Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and later went on to acquire her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. There, she spent four years training at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute.