Like many industry heavyweights are doing, from Netflix to Comcast, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wants to do its part in a time of crisis. The Academy has set up a $6 million donation to help support film employees and their families weathering hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support those institutions focused on fostering diverse new filmmakers.
The money will be distributed equally between The Actors Fund, which supports behind-the-scenes workers and performers, and the Motion Picture & Television Fund, which has provided relief to those in need since 1921. (This fund was instrumental during the advent of the talkies, when many workers were thrown off by the sudden sea change in the industry, and left without jobs.)
The Academy will also contribute an additional $2 million to the preexisting Academy Foundation to continue to buttress its Grants Program, which aims to open new paths for storytellers from different backgrounds, and especially from underserved communities. The Academy pledges that all of this relief will take effect immediately.
“The Academy has a long history of supporting our colleagues, particularly during the most dire circumstances,” said Academy president David Rubin in a statement. “As we face a pandemic, it’s incumbent upon us to help those in the motion picture community who are suffering. The shutting down of productions, businesses and theaters has had devastating consequences. By contributing financially to The Actors Fund, MPTF, and the Academy Foundation’s wonderful grants program, we can help provide our extended family with desperately needed assistance.”
Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said, “The Academy’s primary focus right now is helping our community make it through this unprecedented crisis. With our donation, The Actors Fund and MPTF can bring emergency services — including financial assistance, housing, family care and counseling — to more people. Both are long-standing, safety net organizations with the expertise to mobilize and respond quickly. Additionally, the Academy Foundation’s Grants Program will be able to continue its ongoing efforts to provide opportunity and funding for deserving, diverse storytellers in an even more effective way, and make sure these individuals feel supported during this time.”