Shonda Rhimes: “…if you support The Actors Fund, you support the arts.”
The latest edition of Marquee, The Actors Fund newsletter, celebrates our Los Angeles office and showcases how we serve entertainment professionals in need on the West Coast. We invited Shonda Rhimes, the award winning creator, producer and writer of TV shows Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal, to share her thoughts on The Fund for the issue, and she wrote this impassioned letter of support. It’s so beautiful we thought we’d share it on our blog as well. You can read the entire Marquee online here; or become a member, and you’ll receive every issue in your mailbox!
Please consider giving money to The Actors Fund.
The reason why is simple. The reason why is basic. The reason why is fundamental. You like movies. You like TV. You like theatre. You like concerts. You like dance. You like the arts. Maybe you’re like me – maybe you even love the arts, maybe you can’t imagine your life without the arts, can’t imagine how you’d have survived high school without the soundtrack of a certain Broadway show or the dialogue from a certain movie. Maybe at some point, exposure to the arts changed the course of your life in a profound way. Maybe you’re an artist now. Or maybe you just like to escape reality every once in a while and be entertained. Either way, you like the arts.
Here’s where The Actors Fund comes in. Ready? Okay.
The Actors Fund provides assistance to the artists that create the movies and theatre and tv shows and dance and concerts that you enjoy. Simply put, The Actors Fund supports the artists who make the stuff you like to watch. And by “support”, I mean SUPPORT. No. Wait. I mean SUPPORT. With underlines and italics.
If a dancer breaks her leg and can’t work, The Actors Fund pays her mortgage. If a grip gets cancer, The Actors Fund covers the gap left by his health insurance. If a costume designer needs a rehab program, The Actors Fund provides a place to go. If an out of work actor can’t afford shoes to wear to audition, The Actors Fund buys him shoes. If a writer has lost his benefits and finds out he has HIV, The Actors Fund gives him free medical care. If a studio musician finds himself homeless, The Actors Fund gives him a place to live. If a wonderful unsung character actor dies and there is no one to bury her, The Actors Fund pays for her funeral.
I want to take a moment to say that, when I found out about The Actors Fund and what the organization does, I got a little bit choked up. They give out shoes. They provide housing. They provide medical care. They provide funding. They pay for funerals. No wait. THEY PAY FOR FUNERALS.
In providing these services, The Actors Fund has decided that the importance of an artist’s contribution to show business is not determined by the level of his paycheck. It’s determined by his creativity. That the least famous among us deserve the same respect as the most famous. That every artist who commits to this business we all playfully call “show business” deserves the dignity and respect and support of like-minded people. So they give out shoes. And they provide a place to lay one’s head. And they pay for funerals.
To me, that’s the definition of a community. The Actors Fund is a community of people who support artists.
Which – simply, basically, fundamentally – is why you should consider giving money to The Actors Fund. Because if you support The Actors Fund, you support the arts. You support art. You support music and dance and writing and acting. You support creativity and imagination and the spinning of dreams into gold. And, most importantly, you support a community. You help move a community forward. You join the community. Join us.