Entertainment Community Fund Steps Up to Support Life in the Arts


The Leisure Community Fund (formerly the Actors Fund) has been there for absolutely everyone on stage, on digital camera and at the rear of the scenes since 1882. This countrywide human services business has verified an necessary source for people who operate in film, theater, television, new music, opera, radio and dance.

The Leisure Group Fund has places of work in New York Town, Los Angeles and Chicago an assisted dwelling and skilled nursing home in Englewood, N.J. and supportive housing residences in Brooklyn and Manhattan, N.Y., and West Hollywood, Calif.

Joe Benincasa, president and CEO of the Fund, oversees the organization’s in depth supportive solutions, which includes wellness and wellness, job and daily life, economical housing and far more. I’ve recognized about the Fund since my time as president of the Writers Guild of America West, but I didn’t know the correct depths of their attain right up until I bought involved virtually a 10 years ago as a board member. I sat down with Joe to listen to a lot more about the Fund’s advancement in modern a long time.

Christopher Keyser: What makes the amusement market so important to our modern society?

Joe Benincasa: Leisure is the quintessential American export. It generates about $1 trillion for our country’s GDP. In towns across the region, it drives tourism and economic progress. Envision the past handful of many years devoid of it! Difficult.

CK: How does the Fund guidance the enjoyment group?

JB: For 140 a long time, the Fund has been the only group — with reach from coast to coast — dedicated to assisting all who do the job in entertainment and the performing arts, in just about every aspect of their life, and all through the entire course of their careers. We give aid by supporting customers deal with their well being, life and finances, as perfectly as assist consumers with discovering psychological health and fitness solutions, so that crises can be averted. And then, when crises strike, we’re there to aid elevate them up and get steady footing yet again.

CK: Why did the Actors Fund improve its name to the Leisure Group Fund?

JB: The Actors Fund was founded in 1882, when the word “actor” explained everyone doing work in leisure. Given that then, we have grown exponentially to assistance all performing arts and amusement specialists around their lifespan. Since the height of the pandemic in 2020, we saw 63% of the arts workforce come to be thoroughly unemployed with 95% reporting revenue loss. This is in which the Fund manufactured positive that our artists and market employees had been stored afloat. The Fund serves anyone who operates in amusement. We are however the Fund and we have a renewed commitment to serve even additional people and in far more sites.

CK: How does your new tagline, “Supporting a Life in the Arts,” express the Fund’s mission and intent?

JB: Lifetime in the arts requires resilience, and occasionally the pressures and obstructions are too substantial to bear on your own. The assistance we present enables these in the industry to not only persist, but thrive in all features of their lifetime in the arts.

CK: What message do you have for individuals working in amusement?

JB: As artists and enjoyment personnel aid the group, the local community have to also aid those who make the art. From your initial job in this occupation until eventually retirement — we are often there for you.

CK: What lies in advance for the Fund?

JB: A single system we have in the functions is the Hollywood Arts Collective. This new setting up challenge will handle Los Angeles’ cultural community’s cost-effective housing and house desires, as well as Hollywood’s economic and position growth aims. Currently beneath design, this challenge is a culmination of 12 decades of cultural planning and advancement by the Leisure Neighborhood Fund, builders Thomas Safran & Associates, and the Town of Los Angeles Departments of Cultural Affairs, Housing, and Transportation, as very well as Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell.

On top of that, as crises often do, the pandemic exposed profound requires and some quite complicated truths. If a lifetime in accomplishing arts and enjoyment was precarious ahead of, the pandemic pushed a lot of who get the job done in the marketplace to the very brink. Inside of times, the Fund reworked to fulfill the wants of a desperate populace. All in all, due to the fact March 2020, our applications have achieved additional than 68,000 persons. We have distributed in excess of $26.7 million in immediate COVID-19-similar economical aid.

But for just about every thousand folks we have achieved and served, it has develop into clear that there are 10 instances that variety whom we have not yet reached, in every city and in each condition. For starters, we are deepening our associations and partnerships in metropolitan areas around the state that are hubs of generation and the arts, so that we can much better provide entertainment specialists who reside and work in those areas. Their operate is vital to the cultural lifetime of this place. They are tomorrow’s leisure field, and the Fund wishes to be there for them. We have formidable plans for the Leisure Group Fund, and it starts with expanding the amount of people today we enable.

With all that’s in the operates, we’re so thrilled to embark on our subsequent chapter for the Amusement Community Fund. To learn far more about our efforts to support the amusement and performing arts local community, go to our web site entertainmentcommunity.org.

Christopher Keyser is a writer, producer and board member of the Amusement Neighborhood Fund.

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