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FAQs

Q. What is The Actors Fund?
A. The Actors Fund is a national, nonprofit organization serving all entertainment professionals through comprehensive services and programs. In addition to providing emergency grants for essentials such as food, rent and medical care, The Actors Fund provides counseling, substance abuse and mental health services, senior and disabled care, nursing and retirement homes, an HIV/AIDS Initiative, The Actors Fund Work Program, the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative, supportive housing on both coasts and other essential programs.

Founded in 1882, The Fund serves those in film, theatre, television, music, opera, and dance with a broad spectrum of programs including comprehensive social services, health services, supportive and affordable housing, emergency financial assistance, employment and training services, and skilled nursing and assisted living care.

Administered from offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, The Actors Fund is a safety net, providing programs and services for those who are in need, crisis, or transition.

Q. Does The Actors Fund only serve actors?
A. The Actors Fund supports all entertainment professionals - designers, writers, sound technicians, dancers, administrators, directors, film editors, stagehands, electricians - as well as actors. The organization assists performers and those behind the scenes including creative professionals, technical and crafts professionals and support staff in theatre, film and the performing arts.

Q. Where is The Actors Fund located?
A. The Actors Fund is headquartered in New York, with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. Supportive housing is provided at The Palm View, a residence for people with HIV/AIDS, in West Hollywood, The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence (formerly The Aurora) in New York City, The Schermerhorn in Brooklyn and The Lillian Booth Actors Home of The Actors Fund, our nursing home and assisted living care facility, in Englewood, New Jersey.

Q. Is The Actors Fund part of Actors' Equity? What is the difference?
A. Actors' Equity Association is a union/guild representing live stage performers and stage managers. The Actors Fund and Actors' Equity are entirely separate organizations. The President of Actors' Equity is a member of The Actors Fund Board of Trustees. The Actors Fund receives funds from both the Equity Foundation and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Q. How is The Actors Fund different from the Motion Picture and Television Fund?
A. The Motion Picture and Television Fund is the largest social services charity in Southern California providing assistance to people in the film and television industries. Programs and services include health clinics and a hospital, a retirement and nursing home in Woodland Hills, California, child care and pre-school educational services, health education and information, social services and financial assistance. The Actors Fund is a national nonprofit organization serving all entertainment professionals with a wide range of services. In 2010, The Actors Fund provided $2.5 million in financial assistance grants.

Q. Do you have to be a member of an entertainment industry union to get help from The Actors Fund?
A. Clients do not have to be members of entertainment industry unions/guilds or members of The Actors Fund to receive our services. Eligibility specifications depend on the program, and in some cases, requirements may include documenting the amount of earnings derived from entertainment industry employment, the number of years of employment and other criteria.

Q. Does The Actors Fund help persons with HIV/AIDS?
A. The Actors Fund has a comprehensive HIV/AIDS Initiative to help entertainment professionals who are infected with HIV/AIDS learn how to live with and manage the disease. Services include counseling, support groups, supportive housing, a resource library and financial assistance.

Q. What is the relationship between The Actors Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS?
A. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Actors Fund are entirely separate organizations. The Actors Fund’s President and CEO is a BC/EFA Board member and the BC/EFA Board President is on The Actors Fund’s Board. BC/EFA is a fundraising organization that provides grants to AIDS-related organizations nationwide. It also provides some direct financial assistance to persons with AIDS.

The Actors Fund's HIV/AIDS Initiative is the largest recipient of funds from BC/EFA. In 2009, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS awarded a grant of $2.1-million to The Actors Fund's HIV/AIDS Initiative to underwrite social services and financial assistance to persons with AIDS.

In addition to funding our HIV/AIDS Initiative, BC/EFA provides support for other Actors Fund programs and services including the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic and The Actors Fund Work Programs in New York and Los Angeles. BC/EFA also supported the 2006 Sunshine Boys Campaign to raise funds for the expansion and renovation of The Lillian Booth Actors Home in New Jersey, as well as many other ongoing intitiatives.

Q. Does The Actors Fund work with any other organizations?
A. The Actors Fund coordinates activities with guild/union relief funds and a wide range of social service organizations to provide financial assistance, resources and referrals to clients. Some of these organizations include: AFTRA; AGMA; AGVA; Episcopal Actors' Guild; The Jazz Foundation; the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Los Angeles; Professional Dancers Society; MusiCares, and Society of Singers.

The Actors Work Program merged with The Actors Fund in 1997. Through offices in New York City and Los Angeles, The Actors Fund Work Program offers individual career counseling, workshops, tuition grants and scholarships for entertainment union members nationwide, and provides job listings throughout the nation.

The Actors Fund shares resources and expertise with a wide range of organizations including AIDS Project Los Angeles and Manhattan Plaza in New York City. In addition, The Actors Fund creates and sustains relationships with a variety of networks including mental health providers, chemical dependency treatment providers and housing for senior citizens.

Q. Does The Actors Fund have a Nursing Home?
A. The Lillian Booth Actors Home of The Actors Fund is a state-of-the art assisted living and skilled nursing care facility for everyone who has dedicated their lives to performing arts and entertainment, as well as their immediate family members. Located on six beautiful acres in Englewood, New Jersey, The Home provides a comfortable environment for entertainment professionals to enjoy their later years, regardless of resources. Among the famous residents were Joseph Sultzer and Charles Marks, better known as the comedy team of Smith and Dale, who were the inspiration for Neil Simon's hit play and movie "The Sunshine Boys."

Q. Does The Fund provide other housing?
In addition to The Lillian Booth Actors Home, The Fund maintains affordable and supportive housing opportunities for people in the arts, including The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence (formerly The Aurora) in Manhattan, The Schermerhorn in downtown Brooklyn and The Palm View in West Hollywood. In addition, the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation was established in 2010 in order to develop affordable, supportive and senior housing for the performing arts community that improves lives, creates jobs, fosters economic development and revitalizes communities.

Q. What is The Actors Fund's budget?
A. Through an annual budget of $27 million, The Actors Fund serves more than 12,000 individuals nationwide and hundreds of thousands through our online resources. In addition to the Nursing Home and Assisted Living Care Facility, The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence (formerly The Aurora), The Schermerhorn, The Palm View and providing social services and programs, The Actors Fund dispersed $2.5 million in financial assistance grants in 2010, and approximately 86 cents of every dollar contributed directly supported our programs.

Q. How did The Actors Fund get started?
A. A century ago, there were prevailing feelings of prejudice against people in the theatre. When actors and others engaged in the theatrical professions needed help, they had nowhere to turn. The more successful members of the entertainment community decided to assist those who were less fortunate in the industry by collecting money from their peers in an organized fashion. Thus, The Actors Fund was founded with a tradition of "taking care of our own."

The organization served as a catalyst in the process of reducing discrimination and integrating individuals in the theatrical profession into the social, political and economic aspects of community life. It worked diligently to improve the image and quality of life for entertainment professionals. An early purpose of The Actors Fund was to pay for proper burials for those in need, and this service continues to the present. Today, The Actors Fund continues to serve all performing arts and entertainment professionals through comprehensive services and programs.

For more information on The Actors Fund, please call:
Joe Benincasa/President and CEO/212.221.7300

Publicity contacts:
David Engelman/Director of Communications/212.221.7300 ext. 176

as of July 2011