The Actor’s Fund Turns into the Leisure Group Fund, a Title Change 140 Years within the Making

The Actor’s Fund is now the Leisure Group Fund, the 140-year-old group introduced throughout its bicoastal annual gala occasion Monday evening.

Fund chairman and Tony-winning actor Brian Stokes Mitchell introduced the information through the simulcast ceremony and fundraising occasion, which raised a record-breaking $1.7 million for the longstanding group. A bunch of business company have been in attendance in Los Angeles at Paramount Photos and in New York on the Marriott Marquis for the announcement, together with Hugh Jackman, Sutton Foster, Alex Newell, LL Cool J, Chandra Wilson, Amanda Kloots, Kenny Leon, Harris Yulin, Edmund Donovan and Paramount CEO Brian Robbins.

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“It’s a brand new identify and a brand new look, with the identical mission,” Mitchell informed the crowds. “We acknowledge the dedication of technicians, digital camera operators, stagehands, writers, musicians, stage managers, actors and 1000’s extra who work in movie, tv, radio, music, theater, dance and opera. All of them contribute to our nation’s cultural vibrancy. We worth them. We help them. And the fund is right here for all of them.”

The identify change arrives a month earlier than the Fund’s one hundred and fortieth anniversary this June. “Since 1882, the message has all the time been that we assist everybody within the performing arts and leisure group,” Fund president and CEO Joseph Benincasa informed The Hollywood Reporter forward of Monday’s announcement. “Who these folks have been is a little bit totally different than it’s at the moment, however the time period ‘actor,’ when the group was based, utilized to everybody working in present enterprise. So there’s all the time been this dialogue.”

Benincasa stated the present branding shift — which incorporates its first-ever emblem (a coronary heart formed by spotlights) — actually started 15 years in the past with an earlier and smaller rebranding effort that produced the Fund’s first tag line, “for everybody in leisure.” However within the years since, the group felt that even that also didn’t fairly make clear how broadly the nonprofit defines leisure business employee and simply how many individuals its housing, healthcare and emergency financial assistance programs truly helps.

So round 5 years in the past, the Fund formally surveyed “your complete performing arts and leisure group,” Benincasa stated, together with members of the unions and guilds in addition to workers of the studios and theaters. “What got here again to us loud and clear is that our identify ought to say who we’re, who we assist, have a tagline and introduce our first-ever emblem,” he stated.

The group carried that effort out and was gearing up for the announcement of its present rebrand when the pandemic hit. The Fund was compelled to cancel a reside occasion the place they have been going to make the announcement earlier than being rapidly swept up within the calls for of supporting members of the leisure business amid numerous manufacturing shutdowns, together with some 100,000 people on Broadway who have been out of labor and missing healthcare for almost two years.

“In the course of the pandemic, we realized that folks didn’t know they may flip to us for assist. So we needed to do loads of promotion and loads of publicity round that to let folks know that the Actors Fund was right here to assist them by,” Benincasa informed THR. “The pandemic demonstrated to us is that this resolution was warranted.”

Past Monday’s announcement, the Leisure Group Fund might be utilizing its promoting marketing campaign, “most of which has been donated,” Benincasa stated, to unfold the phrase and encourage extra folks within the business — from crew to leisure commerce press — to show to the group for help. It plans to do that with the assistance of the unions, guilds, theaters and studios and its star-studded board members.

That features actress Annette Bening, showrunner Greg Berlanti, former head of Writers Guild West Chris Keyser and The Good Battle producer Brooke Kennedy. (Kaiser and Kennedy have been additionally answerable for producing the group’s three-minute video announcement for the identify change, which featured Stokes and different large Fund names.)

Wanting ahead, the Fund president says the group desires to “triple the variety of folks we assist” over the following three years and hopes that this rebrand will assist the nonprofit obtain that purpose.

“We don’t beat our chests. We don’t speak about ourselves an excessive amount of,” Benincasa says in regards to the Fund’s board, volunteers and staff. “However we do speak about what we do and the way we assist. We wish folks to know they will flip to us.”

“In the course of the pandemic, we helped 68,000 folks and supplied $27 million in direct monetary help,” he continued. “We need to guarantee that everybody is aware of that our group might help them in some unspecified time in the future of their lives or all through their lives.”


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