$1 Million Emergency Grant Helps Those Hardest Hit by Entertainment Industry Strikes

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS announced on October 23, 2023, a $1 million emergency grant, made in the name of the Broadway community, to the Entertainment Community Fund to provide immediate assistance and services for entertainment professionals affected by the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes.

These essential funds arrive after Broadway Cares’ first weekend of the 2023 #RedBuckets fall fundraising period, as a direct result of the theater industry’s generosity and drive to do good.

Tens of thousands of industry professionals remain out of work as the actors union SAG-AFTRA continues its strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Negotiations broke down last week. And although the Writers Guild reached agreement on a new contract late last month after a 148-day work stoppage, production on most movies and television projects remains on hold as the actors strike persists.

“Countless entertainment community colleagues, those in front of and behind the camera, are struggling to cover health care expenses, pay for essentials like food and rent, and otherwise care for their families,” Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, said. “The effects of this work stoppage are sure to ripple through the industry for weeks, if not months. Many in our theater community also work in television and movies. We’re committed to doing what we can to help all those who work so diligently to entertain us – who make us laugh, cry and feel – keep a roof over their heads, put food on their tables and get the medical care they need.”

The Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund) provides a safety net of services for everyone in entertainment and the performing arts. Because of the twin strikes, the Fund is distributing more than $500,000 in emergency financial assistance per week, compared to an average of $75,000 per week in the first half of 2023.

“These vital funds from Broadway Cares will immediately provide relief and resources to those in our industry who are facing tough days now and into the foreseeable future,” said Fund President and CEO Joe Benincasa. “Each day, the calls for help increase. The Entertainment Community Fund is incredibly grateful for the continuous support of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS on behalf of the performing arts community.” 

Broadway Cares remains the single largest financial supporter of the Entertainment Community Fund, already this year awarding $7.6 million to the Fund’s safety net of services, including The Friedman Health Center, the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and more. The funds arrive after the first week of #RedBuckets fundraising as actors, theater staffs and volunteers populate theater lobbies in Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring theaters across the country to raise money for Broadway Cares.

In the face of disaster or emergency need, Broadway Cares, on behalf of the entire theater community, consistently steps up to provide support to organizations providing immediate, on-the-ground help. Recent emergency grants have supported recovery efforts after natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires; helped ensure access to critical reproductive health care and provided pandemic relief nationwide.