#PayUpHollywood, the organization founded in 2019 to promote pay equity for Hollywood’s assistants, said Wednesday that it has relaunched its Hollywood Support Staff Relief Fund as a permanent emergency fund to aid film and TV support staff impacted by the ongoing Writers Guild strike and any other industry work stoppages in the future.
In collaboration with the Entertainment Community Fund – formerly the Actors Fund of America – and Women in Film, the relief fund, which is led by WGA West board member Liz Hsiao Lan Alper and support staffer Alex Rubin, will provide onetime grants to assistants and support staff who have less than three years of industry experience and have lost employment due to an industry work stoppage.
Entertainment Community Fund Has Provided Financial Assistance To More Than 400 Non-Writers Affected By WGA Strike
Debuting in its relaunch with a $10,000 donation from WIF, the relief fund was originally created in March of 2020 in response to the Covid pandemic and provided more than $500,000 in aid to support staffers in need.
The movie comes as the writers strike against the studios enters its 37th day, impacting production and day-to-day work across the industry. On Monday, SAG-AFTRA members overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike as the actors’ union readies to begin its own talks for a new TV/Theatrical contract. That contract expires June 30.
“We’re incredibly grateful to the Entertainment Community Fund for collaborating with us once again to support the most vulnerable workers in our industry,” Alper said. “Support staffs are indispensable, yet they’re undervalued and underpaid. These workers are the most heavily impacted when unexpected events shut down the entertainment industry. Making the Hollywood Support Staff Relief Fund a permanent emergency fund gives these workers a much-needed resource that wasn’t available before.”
“Support staff jobs are the elemental step to a career in film and television, and the first three years are incredibly important,” Rubin said. “They’re times of learning, connection, and growing into who you will be as a member of the industry, but those years also include low pay, long hours, and sacrifice. Work stoppages interrupt a new professional’s trajectory and, when coupled with the daily lack of support and resources, can mean the end of a career. The Hollywood Support Staff Relief Fund is not just a resource; it’s a lifeline.”
“Once again, we find ourselves in difficult, unpredictable times, where the need for a safety net is crucial to so many of our industry colleagues,” said Joe Benincasa, President and CEO of the Entertainment Community Fund. “Thanks to #PayUpHollywood and WIF, we’ll be able to help support staff so that they can continue to build a life in the arts.”
“In times of economic strife, it’s women and low wage workers that are often most impacted,” said Kirsten Schaffer, CEO of WIF. “With many of Hollywood’s support staff workers being women and people of underrepresented genders, WIF is committed to supporting the next generation of these storytellers through our partnership with #PayUpHollywood and an investment of $10,000 in the Hollywood Support Staff Relief Fund. We applaud #PayUpHollywood and the Entertainment Community Fund for offering these much-needed resources to help sustain the industry’s already cost-burdened support staff.”
Applicants can apply for a one-time grants here. Tax-deductible donations can be made here.
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