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WGAW Donates a Million Dollars to the Actors Fund

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The Writers Guild of America, West announced that it is contributing $977,095 to The Actors Fund. The money is specifically earmarked for emergency financial assistance needed by entertainment professionals for basic living expenses such as rent or medical bills. The Fund provides support for everyone in entertainment – writers, designers, sound technicians, dancers, directors, film editors, stagehands, electricians and actors – with a broad spectrum of programs designed to help with the serious economic, health or employment challenges they face.

The money for this donation comes from undistributable funds held by the WGAW’s Foreign Levies Program. Due to the success of this program, the WGAW has distributed over $121 million to writers and their heirs. Some funds, however, cannot be distributed because they are not designated for a known project or writer. As part of a legal settlement reached in 2010, all parties agreed that, once reasonable efforts to distribute the money had been exhausted, these funds would be donated to The Actors Fund.

“We became aware of how important The Actors Fund is during the 2007-08 strike,” said WGAW president Chris Keyser. “Without hesitation, The Fund stepped in and provided critical services to those in the industry who desperately needed help. We are thrilled that after years of litigation the court has cleared the way for us to make this contribution to The Fund’s good work.”

“The Actors Fund helped more than 12,800 members of the entertainment community last year, all across the country,” said Fund CEO Joseph Benincasa. “That help included $2.5 million in emergency financial assistance to nearly 1,600 people, and almost $1 million to help colleagues in southern California. We are tremendously grateful for WGAW’s commitment to helping us to continue preventing evictions, securing medical care, putting food on the table and meeting many other needs of our colleagues who are facing difficult times.”

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