As the year winds to a close, I started thinking about the organizations that help folks in the entertainment industry. I count myself lucky to be working at a company that provides steady employment, health benefits, etc., but there are many people working in the entertainment industry who may not work all the time, may not have employer-paid health benefits, or may need financial and emotional support in dealing with a life-threatening illness. On that note, I thought I’d tell you about a couple of non-profit organizations that provide support to individuals in the entertainment industry and/or to other organizations that provide services to people in the entertainment industry.
This non-profit organization started in the late ’80s as two separate organizations – Broadway Cares and Equity Fights AIDS. Broadway Cares was founded by members of The Producers’ Group, while Equity Fights AIDS was started by the Council of Actors’ Equity Association.
The two organizations merged in 1992 to become Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, a single not-for-profit organization. That first year, the new organization gave out just over $1.5 million in grants, some directly to entertainment-industry individuals living with HIV / AIDS and other health-related issues, and some to community-based organizations offering AIDS services. By 2009, that figure had grown to over $7.9 million in grants this year alone.
Behind the Scenes, sponsored by the non-profit educational organization, The ESTA Foundation, is dedicated to providing financial support to ill or injured entertainment technology professionals and their families.
A relatively new organization, Behind the Scenes has provided over $100,00 in grants since 2006 and is currently working to raise $5 million to create an endowment.
While the focus of Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS and Behind the Scenes in on the entertainment industry helping “its own,” the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) looks beyond the borders of the industry to help people from all walks of life. Based in Los Angeles, EIF provides financial support to and awareness of causes as diverse as Stand Up to Cancer, Right Action for Women, Charlize Theron Africa Outrieach Project, Blackeyed Peas Peapod Music and Arts Academy, and John Legend’s Show Me Campaign.