COVID-19 Updates from the SAG-AFTRA Foundation

May 25, 2020

A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch our ninth weekly Fireside Chat from our President Courtney B. Vance who gives an update on our COVID-19 Relief Fund on Memorial Day 2020.

To date, we’ve distributed over $4.6 million in emergency aid with hundreds of applications still in the queue. Aid is now taking about two weeks to reach members, so thank you for your patience. As always, we’re working as quickly as we can, and encourage you to go to our site for updates.

Our sincere thanks to those who’ve been able to step and support our Relief Fund. Your donations, attention, and efforts mean a lot to your community of your fellow performers. Thank you so much for your support.

Please stay safe and connected. Have a healthy and restorative holiday.

May 18, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Foundation President Courtney B. Vance Sees Many Performers “Safe-Spacing” At Home For Months

By David Robb

SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance, whose weekly “fireside chats” have offered messages of hope, generosity and dogged determination during the coronavirus shutdown, is cautioning against letting our guard down amid the reopening.”

“I know that many of you are preparing for a few more months of continued safe-spacing in your homes,” he said tonight in his eighth video message to the union’s members. “Now, while that may not have been the timeline most of us were wishing for, I hope you’ll continue to take care of your bodies and your minds. Our health is paramount right now for getting us through this, and I hope you’ll continue to prioritize it. Remember, we’re all in this together.”

“We all have some very strong emotions right through here,” he says from his backyard, birds twittering in the background. “We’re living in unprecedented times. In the blink of an eye, life as we knew it completely shifted – seemingly overnight. As performers, we may have more emotions than most. Now with that said, I want to encourage you all, in a safe environment, of course, to let it out. If you need to yell – yell; if you need to project – sing, monologue, dance – put it out there. Every day, if need be. Let that energy loose. Unleash your nerves, your fears, your frustrations – get rid of them. And then breathe, refocus and begin again dealing with our journey. We’re going to get through this together, one day at a time. So until next week, stay safe; stay connected, and stay home. Grace and peace.”

Read the entire article here.

May 18, 2020

A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch the eighth weekly Fireside Chat from our President, Courtney B. Vance, who gives an update to the COVID-19 Relief Fund

To date, we’ve distributed over $4.4 million in emergency aid to thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists with hundreds of applications still in review. Applications are taking approximately two weeks to process, so we thank you for your patience.

A few ways you can further engage with us this week…

Consider subscribing to the Foundation’s Instagram. Recently, we’ve introduced a new initiative called “My Audition Story” which features some wonderful guests getting candid about the highs and lows they each encountered during an audition. Talent such as Outer Banks’ Madison Bailey, This is Us’ Eris Baker, Boomerang’s Leland B. Martin, and I’m Not Okay With This’ Richard Ellis shine some light on a day which they remember, for better or worse, and try to impart some wisdom to their fellow performers about how they dealt with it.

For those with children, look out for the next Storyline Online video debuting this Wednesday, May 20th, read aloud by Angela Bassett. Trombone Shorty is inspired by the real-life biography of musician Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews, and his pursuit of practicing the brass chops as a child in New Orleans. Like all Storyline Online videos, this new read-aloud is accompanied by a complementary supplemental activity guide that aligns with Common Core Standards to help children strengthen verbal, written, and comprehension skills.

Stay safe and stay connected!

May 11, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Has Distributed More Than $4 Million In COVID-19 Emergency Aid

By David Robb

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund has distributed more than $4 million in direct financial assistance to some 4,000 SAG-AFTRA members in urgent need, with hundreds of applications still being reviewed. In his seventh “fireside chat,” Foundation president Courtney B. Vance noted today that “it’s still taking approximately three weeks to receive assistance, so please hang in there and be patient.”

Grants typically are for $1,000 to help pay for basic living expenses, such as food, housing and health care. “With over 100,000 actors out of work, our Disaster Relief Fund will need multiple millions of dollars to help those in need, so every dollar counts,” the Foundation states on its website. “The SAG-AFTRA Foundation operates solely on grants and donations and many of the industry’s top earners are supporting the Foundation.” The Relief Fund is administered by the Actors Fund.

Offering words of encouragement, Vance urged members to “Use what you know. Don’t worry about what you don’t know,” quoting the late-great casting director Michael Shurtleff. “It is solid advice,” he said. “But given that we live in a time of great uncertainty – When are things going to open up? When will I be able to go back into public? When will the jobs return? – that does not mean we are powerless. I encourage you to use what you know as performers, as people, as members of your community, and utilize your personal toolbox to make the world a better place for yourself and for others around you.”

Read the entire article here.

May 11, 2020

A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch this week’s Fireside Chat from SAG-AFTRA Foundation President, Courtney B. Vance, who gives an update to the COVID-19 Relief Fund

To date, we’ve distributed over $4 million in emergency aid with hundreds of applications still in review. Applications are taking approximately three weeks to process, so we thank you for your patience.

Interested in remotely taking advantage of the Foundations’ Voiceover Labs? The Don LaFontaine and EIF VO Labs are assisting voiceover artists nationally and internationally throughout this pandemic. Reserve an Online Booth Session weekdays from 10:00am-4:00pm (PDT), and receive real-time recording and coaching on your voiceover performances from a VO Lab audio engineer.

If you have questions about microphones, audio interfaces, headphones and recording software, be sure to take advantage of our Open Office Hours from 2:00pm-5:00pm (EDT). You will get to speak with a knowledgeable audio professional that will help you dial-in the home recording set-up that works best for you.

The Lab also offers weekly orientations and voiceover workshops taught by industry pros that are committed to paying-it-forward and giving back to union performers. Go to the Program Calendar on our website to see what we’re offering and sign up!

Please stay safe and stay connected!

May 4, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Has Distributed Over $3.5 Million In COVID-19 Emergency Aid

By David Robb

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation has distributed more than $3.5 million in emergency aid to SAG-AFTRA members from its COVID-19 Relief Fund – up by $2.5 million since April 7.

Foundation president Courtney B. Vance, in his sixth “fireside chat” video update on the Relief Fund’s efforts, noted that there’s a “substantial queue of applications still in review,” and that “it’s taking approximately three weeks to receive aid, so we continue asking for your patience.”

“Tomorrow, May 5th, marks Giving Tuesday Now,” he said, pitching for donations. “Typically, this global day of generosity takes place in December. But due to COVID-19, there is an extra opportunity for people to contribute to their favorite non-profits. I hope, if you’re in a position to do so, you’ll consider donating to our Relief Fund.”

Read the entire article here.

May 4, 2020

A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch the sixth Fireside Chat from SAG-AFTRA Foundation President, Courtney B. Vance, who gives an update on our COVID-19 Relief Fund.

To date, we’ve distributed over $3.5 million in emergency aid with a substantial queue of applications still in review. Right now, it’s taking approximately three weeks to receive aid, so be sure to go to our site for any new updates.

Tomorrow – May 5th – marks Giving Tuesday Now. This is a global initiative set up to support non-profits such as ourselves with help during this pandemic. If you’re in the position to donate to our Relief Fund efforts, we are grateful for your support. Give here.

Don’t forget to engage with our educational performers programs during this time of quarantine. From practical advice and tips of the trade, to insiders’ thoughts and feedback on your self-tapes, this is a free resource for SAG-AFTRA AND Actors Equity members. So create an account today.

Please stay safe and stay connected!

May 4, 2020

Film News Roundup: MGM Boards Thai Cave Rescue Movie With Director Ron Howard

By Dave McNary

‘QUARANTINE’ SERIES

Production companies Hero L.A and Garrett/Gordon Productions, in partnership with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation effort to raise funds for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, have launched “Quarantine,” a digital series that follows the cast of fictional soap opera “Chino Hills.”

Actors/producers Jerry Ying and Spencer Garrett and casting director/producer Jeremy Gordon teamed up to create “Quarantine,” which depicts actors dealing with the current pandemic. It’s shot entirely on Zoom and explores the impact of isolation on individuals and their relationships.

“It’s been a challenge to go into production with everyone working from the safety of their own homes but also a unique opportunity to explore a new medium for storytelling,” said Ying. “We want to exist in a tempo of comedy slightly beyond traditional sitcom television, and just slightly ahead of the pace of reality TV. Fortunately for us, nearly everyone in the world is already familiar with Zoom and have been using it to connect daily. And most of all, we want to help the SAG-AFTRA Foundation provide emergency relief to our fellow artists.”

New 7-10 minute episodes can be found on the show’s IGTV and YouTube channel on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Read the entire article here.

April 27, 2020

A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch this week’s Fireside Chat from SAG-AFTRA Foundation President, Courtney B. Vance, who gives an update to the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

So far we’ve distributed over $2.7 million in emergency aid, and are still reviewing several thousand applications. We appreciate your ongoing support and patience.

At times like these, it helps that we stay connected. We want to encourage all of you to join our online programming, and to remind you that we’re a resource that is here not only for your professional enrichment, but for your mental, emotional, and financial health.

Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and if you are a SAG-AFTRA or Actors’ Equity members, create your free user account at the Foundation.

Finally, Jaime Camil, the star CBS’ Broke, made his mark during World Book Day with his read alouds, Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies! AND ¡Los Zombis No Comen Verduras! We’re grateful for the enthusiastic public response, and hope those with young children will pay Storyline Online®a visit.

April 20, 2020

A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch this week’s Fireside Chat from SAG-AFTRA Foundation President, Courtney B. Vance, who gives an update to the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

If you can give, please give today. And thank you for your support!

So far we’ve distributed over $2.3 million in emergency aid, and are reviewing several thousand applications. In addition to traditional donations, which we need and encourage, several members have found unique and creative ways to support us. From Cameo appearances and personalized songs, to Zumba classes and an original webseries, we are so appreciative to our members and their vast range of talents.

Also, for those with children, be sure to celebrate World Book Day this Thursday, April 23rd by checking out our new Storyline Online® addition. Jaime Camil, the star CBS’ Broke, will read Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies! AND ¡Los Zombis No Comen Verduras! in both English and Spanish – introducing two new entertaining read alouds alongside animated illustrations at www.storylineonline.net. Please stay safe and stay connected!

April 14, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Has Distributed Over $1.7 Million In Emergency Relief To Union’s Members; 100 Aid Requests Coming In Daily

By David Robb

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation continues to be deluged with requests for assistance. Its COVID-19 Relief Fund has distributed over $1.7 million in emergency relief to the union’s members nationwide – up from $1 million just a week ago – and has some 100 new applications coming in every day.

Foundation president Courtney B. Vance, in the third of his weekly fireside chats (watch it below), said that fundraising efforts continue at an “encouraging pace,” but he noted that “in order to do the most good, we all have to work together so that those who are the most vulnerable are taken care of first.

“We continue to process applications as quickly as we can; there’s still a couple of thousand applications in the pipeline, with approximately 100 new applications coming in every day,” he told the union’s 160,000 members. “So I humbly ask you, if you can get by for two months, please hold off on applying so that we can prioritize our brothers and sisters who urgently need money for food, medical bills or major financial pressures, and can’t afford to wait. This will allow our team to best serve those who are in crisis now, so as not to bottle-neck the process and everyone can be taken care of when they need it. Now is not the time to be fearful. It is the time to look out for our neighbors, and together we will prosper again as a community.”

Read the entire article here.

April 13, 2020

A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch our third Fireside Chat from SAG-AFTRA Foundation President, Courtney B. Vance, who gives an update to the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

As he explains, we’ve distributed over $1.7 million dollars in emergency aid to SAG-AFRA members in need nationwide, and we continue to raise funds at an encouraging pace. This is an encouraging start, but in order to do the most good, we must prioritize our members who are in crisis now.

If you’re able to wait two months to apply for Fund, please do so we won’t bottleneck the process. There are still several thousand applications in the pipeline, with at least 100 new applications every day. Your consideration of others will allow us to service the community in the most efficient way, and make sure those who need the most immediate help receive aid quickly.

Please stay safe and stay connected!

If you are able to help, please give today. Every dollar given goes directly to SAG-AFTRA artists in need.

April 7, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Passes $1 Million Mark In COVID-19 Aid To Members In Need

By David Robb

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund has distributed $1 million in emergency assistance to members in need, foundation president Courtney B. Vance said Monday night in his second “fireside chat.” The fund has another 3,000 applications for assistance that it’s processing.

“We appreciate your patience as we’re working very hard to help even more people as quickly as we can,” Vance said on the video, urging “members who can get by for two months to wait to apply so we can prioritize those who need help right now.”

The foundation’s website states that “Due to this unprecedented pandemic, we are experiencing an overwhelming number of applications for emergency financial assistance from SAG-AFTRA members in urgent need. We are working around the clock to process applications, and we ask for your patience. Your application could take over two weeks to process. Please know that you are our primary concern, and we will respond to applications as quickly as we can. Thank you for your understanding and please be safe.

Read the entire article here.

April 6, 2020

A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Watch the second Fireside Chat with SAG-AFTRA Foundation President, Courtney B Vance, who gives an update to the COVID-19 Relief Fund for SAG-AFTRA members, as well as discussing ways members can continue honing their craft by taking advantage of the Foundation’s digital resources.

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel which has over 1,400 Conversations and videos on The Business, with new content including Conversations at Home.

Also, we encourage SAG-AFTRA members to sign up for the Foundation’s remote casting sessions, voiceover lab office hours on video chat, and online classes which are all reflected on our programming calendar at www.sagaftra.foundation.

Lastly, we encourage those with young children to visit Storyline Online® at www.storylineonline.net, a free digital library with 57 read alouds by some of the world’s most exciting performers. Each read aloud includes an activity guide with lesson plans.

Please stay safe and stay connected.

April 1, 2020

Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Jimmy Kimmel Live From His House

SAG-AFTRA Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund is the Charity of Choice

Jimmy talks to his very funny pals Eric Stonestreet & Jesse Tyler Ferguson about what they’ve been doing during the quarantine, how fans react when they see them out together, and in honor of April Fools’ Day we share a prank that Eric pulled on Jesse on the set of ABC’s “Modern Family” before we were all in isolation. Jimmy will be making a donation to a worthwhile cause every day during this quarantine. Eric and Jesse have chosen the SAG-AFTRA Foundation: Covid-19 Relief Fund.

March 30, 2020

A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch our first Fireside Chat with SAG-AFTRA Foundation President, Courtney B. Vance, discussing the newly activated COVID-19 Relief Fund available to SAG-AFTRA members in emergency financial crisis.

March 20, 2020

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation Thanks Netflix

For their generous $1 million donation to our COVID-19 Disaster Fund.

This contribution will help give emergency assistance to SAG-AFTRA performers to help pay medical bills, feed their families and keep roofs over their heads during the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for stepping up for those in our community who truly need it the most.

The need is unprecedented. Help your community in crisis. Please give to our COVID-19 Disaster Fund today.

 

Read Netflix’s official press release here.

March 18, 2020

COVID-19 Relief Fund Update

Due to the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) we are experiencing an extremely high volume of requests.

To help us respond as quickly as possible, we are streamlining our online application process to make it more seamless and efficient. This will nbe active Thursday, March 19 at 9am EST. We ask for you patience during this time. For those of you who have already applied, please know it is taking up to a week to process applications.

In the interim, please collect the necessary documentation listed on our website, so that you will be able to complete our new online application quickly.

March 16, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Suspends In-Person Programs, Still Providing Assistance During Coronavirus Pandemic

By David Robb

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation has temporarily suspended all in-person programs at its offices in Los Angeles and New York because of the coronavirus pandemic. Foundation president Courtney B. Vance on Monday called it “an unfortunate but necessary response to prioritize the health and safety of our employees and members.”

He noted in a new video, however, that “that doesn’t mean that we are closing shop. In fact, our leadership and staff are working hard to create new and innovative ways to bring programs and resources” to the union’s members in these difficult times.

“We will continue to be a vital safety net and free resource for all SAG-AFTRA members, as we have been for the past 35 years,” he said. “Even in the best of times, the life of a performer can be a real struggle. But these are unprecedented times. With hundreds of productions going dark, many of our fellow SAG-AFTRA members will face even greater hardship than usual.”

Watch the video above.

The foundation, in conjunction with the SAG-AFTRA Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund, has activated a COVID-19 Disaster Fund that is now available to eligible SAG-AFTRA members who have been impacted by the pandemic. The fund will be administered by the Actors Fund. SAG-AFTRA members in need of assistance can apply on the foundation’s website, where those in a position to contribute can also do so.

“We need your support right away,” Vance said. “We’ve already receiving a spike in applications and calls for help. And this will continue for the unforeseen future. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the foundation today.”

Read the entire article here.

March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Relief Fund: A Message from President Courtney B. Vance

We strongly encourage all SAG-AFTRA members to watch SAG-AFTRA Foundation President Courtney B. Vance’s address about our forthcoming plans in light of COVID-19 pandemic.

March 16, 2020

Announcing the SAG-AFTRA Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation has created the COVID-19 Relief Fund that is now available to eligible SAG-AFTRA members who have been impacted by this pandemic.

All applications for Emergency Financial Assistance will go to the COVID-19 Relief Fund. We’ve streamlined our assistance programs into this one fund to expedite resources and services.

SAG-AFTRA members are eligible to apply to the Fund if they are currently active and paid up on their dues through October 2019. 

The Fund covers members who are in an emergency financial crisis related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to cover basic expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities, medical bills and other essential needs.

The Actors Fund will assist by administering these resources on the ground. All applications are confidential and anonymous.

March 13, 2020

COVID-19 Update from the SAG-AFTRA Foundation

Dear SAG-AFTRA Artists,

In an effort to best protect our staff and members from the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’re announcing the temporary closure of ALL in-person programs and facilities in both New York and Los Angeles. Our staff is transitioning to working remotely. Health and safety remains a priority for the Foundation, and we encourage best practices until we can reopen in a more safe and secure environment for all.

Where We Go From Here:

  • We are committed to maintaining our community by shifting many of our services online. In the days to come, we will create ways to increase digital outreach so that we may continue to offer many of our programs and resources remotely. We will be in touch shortly with a revised schedule for March, and a dedicated pursuit to meet the needs of our community as best as we’re able to during this difficult time. In the interim, please connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram and subscribe to the Foundation’s YouTube channel to access a wealth of educational and inspirational content available to you already.
  • Now, with hundreds of productions around the country shutting down, many of our fellow SAG-AFTRA artists are staring at an uncertain future and will face greater hardship than usual. Our Emergency Assistance program is available to provide urgent financial support to SAG-AFTRA members and families affected by Coronavirus, whether it is health or work-related.
  • We fully expect to see an increase in calls for assistance in the coming days and weeks.  Please help us support fellow performers in need by making an IMMEDIATE CONTRIBUTION to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. Your gift will help make sure that we can support those of us who have bills to pay, kids to feed, and medical expenses to cover. Thank you in advance for your support.
  • SAG-AFTRA Foundation encourages you to consider self and community care. This includes:
    • Thoroughly washing your hands for up to 20 seconds
    • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth
    • Using hand sanitizers when soap and water are unavailable
    • Practicing safe spaces in public
    • Avoiding handshakes, high-fives, or hugging
    • Coughing/sneezing into your elbow or tissues, with a proactive disposal plan
    • Remaining at home if you’re not feeling well
    • Contacting a health professional or clinic if you or someone close suspects infection

Lastly, unforeseen challenges offer opportunities to not just look after ourselves, but to help each other as best we can. The Foundation has been there for SAG-AFTRA members for 35 years, and we will continue to provide you with the vital safety net that you rely on. We will also continue to build and support our community in new ways. Please stay connected with us, and we’ll stay connected with you.

We thank you for your understanding, and extend our wholehearted well wishes for your continued health and safety.

Your,

SAG-AFTRA Foundation

March 9, 2020

IMPORTANT CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE: Effective Immediately In-Person Programs Temporarily Suspended

Dear SAG-AFTRA Member,

Due to the precautions taken by SAG-AFTRA regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the SAG-AFTRA Foundation will temporarily suspend in-person programming to include: Conversations, The Business, Casting Access, Small Group Sessions, LA and NY Voiceover workshops, and the NY Computer Lab, effective immediately.

The LA & NY On-Camera and Voiceover Labs will remain open for audition recordings only. Our staff will continue to disinfect the equipment after each use. We ask that members who use these facilities do not attend if you feel unwell. You will not be penalized for the late cancellation of these sessions. If you should arrive and you appear unwell, you will be politely asked to leave.

All appointments for emergency assistance in Los Angeles will remain open, but we ask that you arrive in good health, if you should become unwell, appointments can be rescheduled over the phone.

We know that our resources and services are important to you, and we are working to create online alternatives for classes, workshops and panels. As soon as these classes are confirmed and available online, we will send you a notification.

We apologize for this inconvenience, we are taking these steps for everyone’s continued safety and will inform you when our in-person programs resume.

Sincerely,

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Staff