COVID-19 UPDATES

July 27, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Has Distributed $5.5 Million In Financial Aid During Pandemic, Needs Donations

By David Robb

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation has distributed over $5.5 million to more than 5,900 SAG-AFTRA members and their families since the coronavirus shutdown.

“We’re still asking for your help and donations, so if you’re in a position to do so, please consider helping our cause,” said Foundation president Courtney B. Vance in his latest fireside chat. “100% of your support will go directly to fellow performers and their families in need during this critical moment, so we thank you in advance for stepping up for our community.”

Despite the pandemic, the work of the Foundation continues. On Wednesday, the Foundation will host a conversation between actor and activist Alfre Woodard, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. “Alfre and Patrisse will take part in a thoughtful, provocative discussion on race, criminal justice and incarceration; and speak to the ways we can all take actionable steps to create the change we all want to see,” Vance said. The framework of their talk, he noted, will be Woodard’s 2019 film Clemency, which distributor Neon is offering free to the public through the end of the month.

Watch his 16th fireside chat above.

“It has been a strange summer indeed, but it need not be a lost one,” Vance said, offering words of encouragement, as he always does. “Hopefully you’ll continue to use this time, and this season, to invest in both yourself and the community around you. We’re gonna come out of this, and I’ve said before, we’re gonna do it by working together. So while we can’t dictate when we will emerge from a COVID-world, we have the power to decide how we will emerge, and I trust as performers you’re using this adversity to your advantage by turning this headwind into a personal, productive, and positive tailwind.”

Read the entire article here.

July 27, 2020

#16: A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch our latest Fireside Chat where President Courtney B. Vance gives the latest update to the Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, announces a special live Conversations Q&A with actor Alfre Woodard of Clemency and Black Lives Matter global movement Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors, highlights our first-ever Storyline Online Summer Camp, and closes by inviting you to take part in the Foundation’s special Homestage digital initiative for SAG-AFTRA artists.

COVID-19 Relief Fund: Since March 16th, we’ve distributed over $5.5 million in emergency aid to more than 5,900 SAG-AFTRA artists and families, with applications still in the queue. Applications are currently taking a week to process. Please remember to check our site for updates, and consider donating if you can here.

Special LIVE Conversations Q&A: RSVP for our LIVE Conversations Q&A on Wednesday, July 29th with actor Alfre Woodard and writer, activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter global movement Patrisse Cullors here. Using Woodard’s film Clemency as a framework – which distributor Neon is offering free to the public through the end of the month – Woodard and Cullors will take part in a thoughtful, provocative discussion on race, criminal justice and incarceration; and speak to the ways we can all take actionable steps to create the change we all want to see.

Storyline Online Summer Camp: As many traditional summer camps are currently on hold, we launched our first-ever Storyline Online Summer Camp reading initiative encouraging children in K-4th grades to become Storyline Online storytellers this summer. If you have a child who loves to read, we encourage you to check out the camp rules on how your child can take part.

Homestage: And finally, we want to remind you that the Foundation’s digital Homestage initiative, and welcome your submission to possibly be used in a future Fireside chat. Homestage is a digital archive that documents the various ways SAG-AFTRA performers have been using their home to get through our shared COVID-19 crisis. Have you been singing? Or dancing? Or reciting your favorite monologues? Developing original work? There’s no limit – and no judgment! – to the number of ways you can use your skills and gifts to better yourself and the world. So grab a camera, and show us what you’ve been up to by posting a video or photograph to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #HomestageSAF. We can’t wait to watch!

July 13, 2020

#15: A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch our latest Fireside Chat where President Courtney B. Vance gives the latest update to the Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, and introduces a new initiative for artists with help from SAG-AFTRA performer Mary Neely.

COVID-19 Relief Fund: Since March 16th, we’ve given $5.35 million to 5,755 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families. If you’re in a position to do so, we’re still asking for your support. As always, please remember to check the site for updates. And for those who’ve applied, help is coming soon!

(New) Homestage Initiative: The Foundation is proud to announce Homestage, a digital archive that documents the various ways our artists have been using their homes to get through our shared COVID-19 crisis. As performers, we’re trained to have a distinct and unique set of creative tools, and Courtney wants to see how you’re putting them to use. There’s no limit – and no judgment! – to the number of ways you can use your skills and gifts to better yourself and the world. Hashtag #HomestageSAF while posting videos or photos to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Your posts may be used in a future Fireside chat. For added inspiration, we’ve included a clip from performer Mary Neely who spoke to Courtney about her recent work while in quarantine. Earlier this year, Mary captured the world’s attention online as she recreated musical numbers from The Phantom of The Opera, Les Mis, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and others, while in her home during lockdown. Watch the full Conversation here.

June 29, 2020

#14: A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch our latest weekly Fireside Chat from our President Courtney B. Vance who gives an update to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, speaks to our summer cycle, and closes by showcasing participants of his Better Days Challenge.

COVID-19 Relief Fund: Since March 16th, we’ve given almost $5.3 million to more than 5,700 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families. If you’re in a position to do so, we’re still asking for your help and donations. Our Fund continues while productions are slow to start back up, survival jobs are still missing, and so many of our fellow performers remain in need. So thank you for your contributions.

Better Days Challenge: Over the last couple weeks, many of you shared your goals of what “better days” look like for you. As Courtney reminds us, only together can we evolve from this strange period into an era where we can strive for positivity, act in solidarity, and commit to real and lasting change.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July. Stay safe and connected.

June 23, 2020

How SAG-AFTRA Foundation Is Supporting Artists In Need + How to Help

By Jack Smart

The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the livelihoods of professional artists around the country and world after forcing a near-total shutdown of the film and television industries. The SAG-AFTRA Foundation is doing its part to protect and support guild members with their COVID-19 Relief Fund, which has raised over $7.8 million and counting.

Since the fund’s launch on March 16, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and SAG-AFTRA Motion Picture Players’ Welfare Fund have been able to provide almost 6,000 SAG-AFTRA artists with much-needed emergency financial assistance. Beneficiaries are receiving grants averaging $1,000 to make basic ends meet, distributed by the Actors’ Fund.

“It’s been a spectacular showing of the performance community coming together, stepping up and supporting their own,” said SAG-AFTRA Foundation President and Emmy-winning actor Courtney B. Vance. (Guild members looking for updates on the status of aid distribution can check out Vance’s weekly “Fireside Chat” videos.)

Read the entire article here.

June 22, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Raises Millions for COVID-19 Relief

Press Release

Thousands of Performing Artists and Families Receive Aid

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation announced today that it has raised more than $7.8 million dollars in contributions for its COVID-19 Relief Fund for SAG-AFTRA artists in dire need. On March 16, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, along with the SAG-AFTRA Motion Picture Players’ Welfare Fund, launched a COVID-19 Relief Fund for SAG-AFTRA members. Since activating the Fund, the Foundation has already given over $5.1 million in emergency financial assistance to more than 5,484 SAG-AFTRA artists and their families with hundreds of applications still in process and thousands of performers still in need.

For over 35 years, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has been a vital resource for SAG-AFTRA performers seeking emergency financial assistance. But due to what has amounted to a near industry-wide shutdown, thousands of performers have been unable to work, and many second and third survival jobs have also been eliminated during the crisis.

For the past several months, the Foundation has focused its efforts on raising significant funds to meet the unprecedented need within the SAG-AFTRA community to help feed their families, pay their rent or keep their health insurance due to the enormous impact of the pandemic.

“It’s been a spectacular showing of the performance community coming together, stepping up and supporting their own,” said Courtney B. Vance, SAG-AFTRA Foundation President, who leads a weekly inspirational Fireside Chat video for SAG-AFTRA artists updating them on the status of aid distribution. “Our phenomenal Actors’ Council is leading the way, building a Fund that is about actors supporting their fellow actors, and the industry is giving their support, as well. Together, we have been able to grant several millions of dollars in emergency aid to thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists in need over the last three months. But with the long-term effects of production shutdowns to continue for months to come, we must remain vigilant and unified in our mission to support the performers who have contributed to the successes of this industry. They now need our support. As our Foundation is completely donor-dependent, we are asking everyone to give whatever they can, and join us in this critical relief effort.”

Beneficiaries of the Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund receive grants of averaging $1,000 for basic needs. Grants are being distributed by the Actors’ Fund.

The Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund effort has been a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign led by Vance and several members of the Foundation’s Actors’ Council. The group has been working tirelessly making phone calls and sending out emails industry-wide, as well as participating in videos and signing letters asking top-level donors to join their cause. Industry agencies CAA, WME and UTA have all bolstered these efforts among their clients.

“The devastating effects of COVID-19 are in our own backyard, and we’re doing what we can for our colleagues and collaborators who need help,” said Tom Hanks, a member of the Foundation’s Actors’ Council, who along with partner Rita Wilson, have been a central part of the fundraising efforts.

“The economy of an actor’s life is uncertain and inconsistent enough in normal times, but this shutdown has placed our members in jeopardy. I am grateful to join with others who are able to help ease the burden of our colleagues,” said Actors’ Council member Meryl Streep, one of the first to step up and support the Foundation’s Relief Fund.

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Relief Fund supporters include the Foundation’s Actors’ Council members: Annette Bening, Cate Blanchett, George Clooney, Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Jane Fonda, Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, Tony Goldwyn and Jane Musky, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman, Eva Longoria Baston, Edward Norton and Shauna Robertson, and Meryl Streep, and additional performers: Patricia Arquette, Ike Barinholtz, Tom Bergeron, Rachel Bloom, Steve and Nancy Carell, Gabrielle Carteris, Fala Chen, Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Joel Edgerton, Sam Elliott, The Falcarthy Foundation, Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Jason George, Anne Hathaway, Helen Hunt, Tea Leoni, Chrissy Metz, Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich, Bill Nye, Lupita Nyong’o, Paul Pape, Jim Parsons and Todd Spiewak, Pauley Perrette, Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, Pamela Reed, Patricia Richardson, Margot Robbie, Kurt Russell, Susan Sarandon, Naomi Scott, Cobie Smulders, Jack Speer, Octavia Spencer, Barbra Streisand, Donald Sutherland, JoBeth Williams, and over 900 hundred additional supporters.

“This pandemic has been devastating for performing artists. Thousands of performers don’t know how they will pay their rent next month or buy groceries for their families right now. For too many, this Fund may be their only safety net, which highlights the cracks in the system for those who were already just trying to make ends meet working in this industry,” said actor Lupita Nyong’o, who made a significant contribution to the Fund to support her fellow artists.

“Everyone who has been able to find success in this industry has done so because at some point in their journey they received a helping hand. Right now, we’re all coming together in various ways to make sure people who need help are able to receive it,” said Actors’ Council member Bryan Cranston, who is helping to lead the charge raising funds and awareness.

In addition, the industry has stepped up in a significant way to support SAG-AFTRA performers in need. In March, Netflix contributed over $1 million to the relief effort, and more recently, Sony Pictures Entertainment made a $1 million contribution to the Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. Additional industry support has been given by AMC Networks, Anthem Blue Cross, Backstage, Berlanti Family Foundation, City National Bank, David Geffen Foundation, HFPA, Johnny Carson Foundation, Bryan Lourde, Dana Norris and Steve Tisch, and Participant.

“It’s an optimistic start, though given most productions may remain dark for several months ahead, there is more work to be done and we’re encouraging industry leaders who are able to support us to give what they can,” said Actors’ Council member Cate Blanchett, who has also been a key supporter and leader in this effort.

The Foundation has also received additional support from performers at every level. Some prominent figures, such as Tom Bergeron and others, are taking their talents to Cameo.com with proceeds benefiting the Fund. The Foundation is also receiving help from various performers who are creating digital fundraisers and a daily soap series to help support relief efforts.

“I’ve been a working actress since I was 14, and this community is my family. It’s critical we support those who have played a part in the success of this industry,” said Actors’ Council member Nicole Kidman.

As the pandemic takes us further into uncharted territory, the Foundation and its supporters will continue to raise funds. Based on the anticipated needs of the community in the weeks and months ahead, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has set a goal of raising $12 million. For those who can help, please consider supporting the effort at: www.sagaftra.foundation/donate.

About:
The SAG-AFTRA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides vital assistance and free educational programming to the professionals of SAG-AFTRA while serving the public at large with its award-winning children’s literacy program Storyline Online®. The Foundation relies solely on support from gifts, grants and sponsorships to maintain its free programs. For more information, visit sagaftra.foundation.

June 22, 2020

Stars Urge Industry To Keep Donating To SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund

By David Robb

Tom Hanksone of the first celebrities to contract the coronavirus, is urging his fellow actors to contribute to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which said Monday it has raised more than $7.8 million in contributions to aid SAG-AFTRA members in dire financial need.

“The devastating effects of COVID-19 are in our own backyard, and we’re doing what we can for our colleagues and collaborators who need help,” said Hanks, a member of the foundation’s Actors’ Council who along with his wife, Rita Wilson, have played major roles in the fundraising efforts. Like Hanks, Wilson tested positive for the virus in March while he was filming Elvis, the Elvis Presley biopic, in Australia.

Others who serve on the Actors’ Council – including Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Bryan Cranston – have joined Hanks in issuing statements calling on the acting community and industry leaders to continue their support of the foundations’ relief efforts.

“The economy of an actor’s life is uncertain and inconsistent enough in normal times, but this shutdown has placed our members in jeopardy,” said Streep, who was one of the first to step up to support the relief efforts. “I am grateful to join with others who are able to help ease the burden of our colleagues.”

“I’ve been a working actress since I was 14, and this community is my family,” Kidman said. “It’s critical we support those who have played a part in the success of this industry.”

The foundation, which has already provided $5.2 million in emergency financial assistance to more than 5,600 SAG-AFTRA members and their families, has set a goal of raising $12 million.

“It’s an optimistic start,” Blanchett said, “though given most productions may remain dark for several months ahead, there is more work to be done and we’re encouraging industry leaders who are able to support us to give what they can.”

“Everyone who has been able to find success in this industry has done so because at some point in their journey they received a helping hand,” Cranston said. “Right now, we’re all coming together in various ways to make sure people who need help are able to receive it.”

A video produced by the foundation features dozens of actors expressing their heartfelt thanks for the grants they’ve received from the relief fund to help cover their basic expenses. For some, the grants, which average about $1,000, helped them make it through another month of joblessness and financial insecurity.

Read the entire article here.

June 22, 2020

#13: A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch our latest weekly Fireside Chat from our President Courtney B. Vance who spoke with SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris about the union’s new safety protocols for returning to set, gives an update to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, and continues his Better Days Challenge.

COVID-19 Relief Fund: Since March 16th, we’ve given over $5.2 million to more than 5,600 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families. It’s been an encouraging relief effort and it continues. Once again, if you need help, ask. And if you are in a position to donate, please give.

The Safe Way Forward:  Courtney spoke SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. Their talk included speaking about California resuming production and the health protocols outlined in a Multi-Union Report called “The Safe Way Forward”. Their conversation will be coming soon on our YouTube Channel and we will share when it’s posted.

Better Days Challenge: In an effort to come together in mutual support to reach our goals, Courtney wants to hear from you, our artists, about the positive things you’re looking forward to, and striving for. Post <:30-second video to Instagram or Twitter using #SAFBetterDays. Your stories will be showcased in a future chat.

Stay safe and connected.

June 19, 2020

With no money for groceries, rent, these working actors got help amid the pandemic

By Anousha Sakoui

Actress/dancer Hanna-Lee Sakakibara has been without work during the pandemic. A $1,000 grant from SAG-AFTRA Foundation was a godsend.(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

 

Actress and dancer Hanna-Lee Sakakibara had bagged small parts on shows like “Lucifer” and “The Young and the Restless.” She had just finished shooting a 7-Eleven commercial and was about to start her first lead role in a fringe play about a Vietnamese immigrant in America when the pandemic hit.

The Japanese Australian performer suddenly found herself with no work and no income stream.

“It suddenly was like, crickets,” said Sakakibara, 35, from her home in Pasadena. “I had some money in the bank but I knew that … was going to run out very quickly.”

So Sakakibara turned to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s COVID-19 relief fund, which gave a $1,000 check, which she put toward rent and groceries.

She is among the more than 5,600 SAG-AFTRA members who’ve received help from the foundation since the coronavirus outbreak caused a shutdown of the industry in March.

The nonprofit raised nearly $8 million since launching the COVID-19 relief fund with the help of A-list actors like Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Viola Davis and Bryan Cranston. Over $5 million of that has already been paid out to actors to help pay for food, shelter and utilities. But given the extraordinary demand for assistance, the foundation has raised its fundraising target to $12 million to help support the industry in the coming months.

Read the entire article here.

June 15, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Passes $5 Million Mark In COVID-19 Relief Aid

By David Robb

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation has passed the $5 million mark in financial assistance to the union’s members during the pandemic. “In three months’ time, we’ve given over $5.1 million in emergency aid to thousands of our fellow performers, and counting,” Foundation president Courtney B. Vance said in the latest of his fireside chats. “This is a positive response to a very unfortunate situation.”

Applications for assistance take about a week to process, he said, “So if you’ve applied, know that help is on the way.” Urging those who are able to donate to do so, he also issued a challenge to industry members to give him feedback on their goals during and after the pandemic.

Read the entire article here.

June 15, 2020

#12: A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch our latest weekly Fireside Chat from our President Courtney B. Vance who gives an update on our COVID-19 Relief Fund and speaks to the power of positive thinking.

Although California has given the greenlight for California productions to resume as long as safety protocols are followed, SAG-AFTRA and other industry unions have released “The Safe Way Forward,” a Multi-Union Report on COVID-19 Safety Guidelines. While this is certainly not an overnight fix, it does signify that there is light to be found at the end of the tunnel.

In three months time, we’ve managed to give over $5.1 million emergency aid to thousands of our fellow performers and counting. Applications are taking about a week to process, so as always, be sure to check the site for any and all updates. If you’re in a position to donate, please consider doing so as our Fund continues to give aid to our community.

Also, Courtney encourages you to let your goals be heard by posting a video with something positive you’re striving for. Whether it’s good health, resumed work, or social change, Courtney wants to hear about it so we can all work together in mutual support to helping you realize it. Please post a video under 30 seconds to Instagram or Twitter using #SAFBetterDays. We’ll showcase these in a future chat.

Stay safe and connected.

June 8, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Foundation President Courtney B. Vance Says Common Bonds In Hard Times Bring Systemic Change

By David Robb

In his latest “fireside chat,” SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance offered a history lesson to help weather the multiple storms now lashing the nation and the industry’s unemployed workforce. “Whether it be the fight for racial justice that is happening in Minneapolis and communities all across the country, the effects of the Pandemic we’ve watched take hold of our hospitals and neighborhoods or the distress many of us are facing in our homes as we combat financial instability and compromised health; there’s a lot of fear and pain in our world right now,” he said.

Read the entire article here.

June 8, 2020

#11: A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch the eleventh weekly Fireside Chat from our President Courtney B. Vance who gives an update on our COVID-19 Relief Fund, and speaks to the topic of financial fluency during this critical time.

In the last 12 weeks since the pandemic began, we’ve distributed $4.9 million in emergency aid with a few hundred applications in review. Applications are currently taking approximately one week to process.

During the time of COVID-19, finances can be both of paramount priority and concern. Last week, Courtney was asked to participate on a panel hosted by the African American Film Critics Association and SAGIndie on “Financial Fluency for Entertainment Professionals.” On this panel, industry leaders and financial titans spoke about the financial challenges artists – especially those of color – are facing right now, and discussed some of the options that were available so that artists can maintain stability and position themselves for success.

Finally, Courtney gives his thoughts on weathering the storm, and offering hope and historical context regarding our ability to unite.

June 1, 2020

SAG-AFTRA Foundation President Courtney B. Vance Urges Nonviolent Protest And An End To Civil Unrest

By David Robb

SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance, in his latest “fireside chat,” is calling for calm amid nationwide protests that have frequently turned violent and destructive. “I know many of you are feeling the pain and frustration of what has happened in Minneapolis and other parts of the country,” he said today. “I feel it too, and have every intention of keeping the spirit and memory of George Floyd in both my heart and my actions.”

“So I am asking us to go high,” he said, paraphrasing former First Lady Michelle Obama. “I am asking us to fight for George without resorting to violence. There is no doubt we have witnessed, again, a horrific injustice, but we must not cross the line and lose the moral high ground we need to ensure justice for the Floyd family.

Read the entire article here.

June 1, 2020

#10: A Fireside Chat with President Courtney B. Vance

An Update from Our President

Please watch the tenth weekly Fireside Chat from our President Courtney B. Vance who both gives an update on our COVID-19 Relief Fund, and offers candid thoughts regarding our current climate regarding the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests.

The Relief Fund: To date, we’ve distributed over $4.8 million in emergency aid to thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists with hundreds of applications still in review. Applications are taking approximately about a week to process, so we thank you for your patience.

Drumbeat of Justice: We stand with our fellow SAG-AFTRA broadcasters and media professionals on the front lines in cities around the country. Courtney offers words of reflection for George Floyd and a call to action for the road ahead.

May 25, 2020

#9: 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

#8: 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

#7: 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

#6: 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

#5: 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

#4: 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

#3: 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

#2: 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

#1: 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