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Planning for Future Needs in Our Entertainment Community

March 28, 2013 Comments off

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Annette Bening and Actors Fund Work Program Director Kathy Schrier in a session on Human Services led by BC/EFA’s Tom Viola.

Throughout our 131-year history, The Actors Fund has grown and adapted to the always-changing landscape in which everyone working in performing arts and entertainment lives. In order to continue serving our clients in the best possible ways, and to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new trends, our management and Board leaders periodically take time out every few years to craft a new Strategic Plan.

On March 18, a dedicated group of Actors Fund Trustees and industry leaders gathered at New York City’s Time Warner Center, hosted by Trustee and Time Inc. Edit0r-in-Chief Martha Nelson, to spend the day exploring how best to serve our community in the next five years. It was a productive day, and we would like to thank everyone who took time out from there busy schedules to participate (all photos by Jay Brady Photography). Visit our website for a full listing of our generous Actors Fund Boards and Committees.

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Front row (l-r):  Four-time Oscar Nominated actor Annette Bening; GRAMMY Foundation Sr. Vice President Kristen Madsen; Cartoon Network VP of Casting and Talent Development Sharon Lieblein; Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Executive Director Tom Viola; former Deloitte Financial Advisory Services partner George Zuber; Stage Manager’s Committee Co-Chairs Peter Wolf and Sherry Cohen; former ATPAM President Merle Debuskey; New Jersey real estate developer David Steiner; former SAG New York Division President Joyce Gordon; ASCAP Director of Musical Theatre Michael Kerker; Lodestone Banking Consultancy Advisory Board Chairman Robert O. Lehrman.

Middle row (l-r): Neuberger Berman Managing Director Jeffrey Bolton; New Jersey Pictures LLC Chairman Steve Kalafer; Local 1-IATSE President James Claffey, Jr.; Shubert Organization Chairman Philip J. Smith; IATSE President Matthew Loeb; music producer Abby Schroeder; producer/philanthropist Kate Edelman Johnson, actor Jomarie Ward; Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Executive Director Olga Garay; Director/founder of the Research Center for the Arts & Culture at the National Center for Creative Aging Joan Jeffri.

Back row (l-r): Fund CEO Joseph P. Benincasa; Local 1 – IATSE Secretary Bobby Score; Fund Chief Advancement Officer Thomas Exton; BioReference Laboratories, Inc. CEO Marc Grodman, M.D.; Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation CEO Scott Weiner; Cassidy Turly Senior Managing Director David Lebenstein; American Theatre Wing Executive Director Heather Hitchens; Newpol Foundation’s Stanley Newman; Broadway League Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin; Actors’ Equity President Nick Wyman; Shubert Organization President Robert Wankel; Greater New York Hospital Association Ventures, Inc. President Lee Perlman; Fund Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell; United Hospital Fund Aging In Place Initiative Director Fredda Vladeck; Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker; SAG-AFTRA Executive Director David White; philanthropist Honey Waldman; SAG-AFTRA Co-President Roberta Reardon; Time Inc. Editor-in-Chief Martha Nelson; Chadick Ellig Co-CEO Janice Reals Ellig; Cannon Heyman & Weiss, LLP founding partner Steve Weiss; TV writer and Co-Executive Producer of NBC’s Revolution David Rambo.

(Also in attendance were AERIN Communications Director Ebs Burnough, actor Judy Frank, Jujamcyn Theatres Vice President Paul Libin.)

Dr. Marc Grodman led an exploration of issues around the Affordable Care Act and accessing health insurance.

Additionally, special thanks to our four break-out session facilitators, each of whom guided enlightening discussions in partnership with key staff: GRAMMY Foundation Sr. Vice President Kristen Madsen led talks around affordable housing with Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation CEO Scott Weiner; Bio-Reference Laboratories CEO Dr. Marc Grodman explored the future of healthcare with Artists Health Insurance Resource Center Director Jim Brown; Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Executive Director Tom Viola looked at our human services with National Director of Social Services Tamar Shapiro; and Trustee Joyce Gordon explored serving seniors in our industry along with Fund COO Barbara Davis and Lillian Booth Actors Home Administrator Jordan Strohl.

Finally, we’d like to thank Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell for his continued leadership, as well as Trustee Janice Reals Ellig (and her husband, Bruce) for hosting a wonderful social for our leaders on Sunday evening. And last, but certainly not least, Trustee Martha Nelson, who hosted The Fund at the Time Warner Center. Thank you, all!

Ellig Reception

At the Ellig Reception (l-r): Brian Stokes Mitchell, Annette Bening, Martha Nelson, Janice Reals Ellig and Bebe Neuwirth.

We’re preparing a special report, and we look forward to continuing a dialogue which will enable The Fund to advance its good work for every member of the creative community.  In the meantime, learn more about what we can do for you (and what you can do for us!) and stay up-to-date on the latest Actors Fund news by visiting our website, following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.

Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell opened the Strategic Planning retreat at TimeWarner Center.

Stokes opened the Strategic Planning retreat at the Time Warner Center.

Joyce Gordon leads a session on Seniors.

Kristen Madsen led a session on affordable and senior housing.

 Actors’ Equity President Nick Wyman, Playwright, TV writer and Co-Executive Producer of NBC’s Revolution David Rambo, SAG-AFTRA Co-President Roberta Reardon, vp casting and talent development at Cartoon Network Sharon Lieblein and IATSE President Matthew Loeb attend a session on Human Services.

Nick Wyman, David Rambo, Roberta Reardon, Sharon Lieblein and Matthew Loeb attend a session on Human Services.

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Trustee Joyce Gordon leads a session on Seniors.

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Run/Walk Wednesday: Team Captain Caroline Parrone!

March 27, 2013 Comments off

Caroline's mother Donna, her grandmother Joyce & Caroline.

Caroline’s mother Donna, her grandmother Joyce & Caroline.

Every Wednesday leading up to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Revlon Run/Walk (May 4 in New YorkMay 11 in Los Angeles), we’re sharing memories and celebrating our members! Today we chat with this year’s team captain, Special Events Associate (and Young Professionals guru) Caroline Parrone.

Actors Fund: Are you walking in “honor” or “memory” of someone special in this year’s EIF Revlon Run/Walk?
Caroline Parrone: I am walking in honor of all the women in my life who have been affected by cancer, including my great-grandmother Nathalie Rosa, my grandmother Carita and my husband’s grandmother Mimi.

It is so scary to come from a family line of women who have been affected by cancer (on both my mother’s and father’s sides), and I walk in hopes that my mother, cousins, maybe future daughters and I will live to see a cure.

AF: Why do you walk with The Actors Fund Team?
CP: Not only do I fully believe in and support the work of the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, but I also enjoy this event so much that I asked to be Team Captain while our regular TC Amy Picar spends time with her new baby!   

AF: Do you fundraise for RRW, or have anything special planned this year?
CP: I love fundraising for this event! Last year I knit a little something for each person that donated to my page. This year I am creating a small piece of paper art for each person who donates. Just a little thank you to my supporters.

AF: Run or Walk, and why?
CP: I tend to walk this 5k, mostly so I can chat and snap photos.

AF: We’re taking a vote… Suggest a Theme Song for this years’ team?
CP: “Think,” Aretha Franklin

The EIF Revlon Run/Walk is an annual event that raises money and awareness for the fight against women’s cancers, and funds raised by The Actors Fund team supports The Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative (PNWHI), created to address the myriad of concerns women face when dealing with a serious medical condition. Help us fight the fight by joining one of our teams (clickhere for NYChere for LA), or making a pledge or donation on behalf of someone who’s walking with us. Your pledge will help fund important research into the cause and cure of women’s cancers, prevention, education and support service programs for those women battling cancer and their families.

EIF Run/Walk Wednesday: Meet Team Member Nina Mandell

March 20, 2013 Comments off

As The Actors Fund gears up for the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Revlon Run/Walk (May 4 in New York, May 11 in Los Angeles), we’ll be celebrating our team members and sharing some memories from years past every Run/Walk Wednesday! Today we chat with Nina Mandell, who is part of  The Fund’s NYC team!

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Nina Mandell with her mother, Linda Cymrot.

AF: Are you walking in “honor” or “memory” of someone special in this year’s EIF Revlon Run/Walk?
Nina: My mom and I are walking in honor of my grandmother, Annie Cymrot, who passed away after a battle with breast cancer.

AF: Why do you walk with The Actors Fund Team?
Nina: The Actors Fund is a great organization that helps people who make us all smile when they’re on stage.

AF: Do you fundraise for RRW, or have anything special planned this year?
Nina: No… but we plan on being incredibly enthusiastic in the walk.

AF: Run or Walk, and why?
Nina: Walk, so we can hang out with the great group that’s coming.

AF: We’re taking a vote: Suggest a Theme Song for this year’s team.
Nina: Take a walk on the Wild Side? Walking in Memphis? I Would Walk 500 Miles? I mean, it should be a pun, right?

The EIF Revlon Run/Walk is an annual event that raises money and awareness for the fight against women’s cancers, and funds raised by The Actors Fund team supports The Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative (PNWHI), created to address the myriad of concerns women face when dealing with a serious medical condition. Help us fight the fight by joining one of our teams (click here for NYC, here for LA), or making a pledge or donation on behalf of someone who’s walking with us. Your pledge will help fund important research into the cause and cure of women’s cancers, prevention, education and support service programs for those women battling cancer and their families.

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Dedicated Leadership: Helping The Actors Fund Serve Our Community

March 14, 2013 Comments off

The Actors Fund Board of Trustees. Seated (l-r):  Jomarie Ward, Janice Reals Ellig, Charlotte St. Martin, Vice Chair Philip J. Smith, Paul Libin, Honey Waldman, Kate Edelman Johnson. Rear (l-r): Vice Chair Philip S. Birsh, Merle Debuskey, Ebs Burnough, Stewart F. Lane, Assistant Treasurer Lee H. Perlman, Jeffrey Bolton, Tom Viola, Secretary Mark Grodman, M.D., Joyce Gordon, James J. Claffey, Jr. Not pictured: Chairman of the Board Brian Stokes Mitchell, Assistant Secretary Abby Schroeder, Treasurer Steve Kalafer, Alec Baldwin, Annette Bening, Jed W. Bernstein, John Breglio, Nancy Coyne, Rick Elice, Teresa Eyring, Mark Hostetter, Ken Howard, David Henry Hwang, Anita Jaffe, Michael Kerker,  Chris Keyser, Matthew Loeb, Kristen Madsen, Kevin McCollum, Lin-Manuel Miranda, James L. Nederlander, Martha Nelson, Phyllis Newman, Harold Prince, Roberta Reardon, Thomas Schumacher, David Steiner, Edward D. Turen, Joseph H. Wender, David White, BD Wong, Nick Wyman, George Zuber. Photo:  ____.

The Actors Fund Board of Trustees. Seated (l-r): Jomarie Ward, Janice Reals Ellig, Charlotte St. Martin, Vice Chair Philip J. Smith, Paul Libin, Honey Waldman, Kate Edelman Johnson. Rear (l-r): Vice Chair Philip S. Birsh, Merle Debuskey, Ebs Burnough, Stewart F. Lane, Assistant Treasurer Lee H. Perlman, Jeffrey Bolton, Tom Viola, Secretary Mark Grodman, M.D., Joyce Gordon, James J. Claffey, Jr. Not pictured: Chairman of the Board Brian Stokes Mitchell, Assistant Secretary Abby Schroeder, Treasurer Steve Kalafer, Alec Baldwin, Annette Bening, Jed W. Bernstein, John Breglio, Nancy Coyne, Rick Elice, Teresa Eyring, Mark Hostetter, Ken Howard, David Henry Hwang, Anita Jaffe, Michael Kerker, Chris Keyser, Matthew Loeb, Kristen Madsen, Kevin McCollum, Lin-Manuel Miranda, James L. Nederlander, Martha Nelson, Phyllis Newman, Harold Prince, Roberta Reardon, Thomas Schumacher, David Steiner, Edward D. Turen, Joseph H. Wender, David White, BD Wong, Nick Wyman, George Zuber. Photo: Playbill.

The Actors Fund‘s Board of Trustees (above) and our Western Council (below) are a dedicated group of individuals deeply interested in the welfare of all professionals who work in the performing arts and in entertainment. Each member brings their own unique brand of expertise and experience to the table, and we value their insightful input and enthusiastic leadership. We thank each one of them for everything they do for The Fund — and our entire community!

At their recent meetings in New York and Los Angeles, they had a first chance to look at the statistical summary of how we helped the entertainment and performing arts community during 2012. We’re currently putting together our Annual Report — which will more fully highlight how The Fund served those in need, crisis or transition last year — but in the meantime, we salute all of our Boards and Committees who lead The Fund in helping our colleagues in the creative community in times of need.

Here are a few of the initial numbers from 2012:

The Actors Fund Western Council: Front (l-r): James Karen, Illyane Morden Kichaven, Charlotte Rae, Marguerite Ray, Jane A. Johnston Shearing, Mary Lou Westerfield, Bridget Hanley. Rear (l-r): Jomarie Ward (Trustee), Joseph Ruskin, Hollace Davids, Dan Guerrero, B. Harlan Boll, Barbara Allyne Bennet, William Thomas, Theodore Bikel, Michael Medico, Ken Werther, Daniel Henning, Daniel Henning, Pam Dixon, Martin Wiviott, Vice Chair Ilene Graff, John Bowab. Not pictured:  Chair John Holly, Vice Chair David Rambo, John Acosta, Joni Berry Budd Friedman Katherine Fugate Danny Goldman, Richard Herd Kate Edelman Johnson (Trustee) Scott Roth Bryan Unger David Young. Robby Benson (Emeritus), Henry Polic II (Emeritus), Marguerite Ray (Emeritus), Lynn Wood (Emeritus). Photo: Scott Appel.

The Actors Fund Western Council: Front (l-r): James Karen, Illyane Morden Kichaven, Charlotte Rae, Marguerite Ray, Jane A. Johnston Shearing, Mary Lou Westerfield, Bridget Hanley. Rear (l-r): Jomarie Ward (Trustee), Joseph Ruskin, Hollace Davids, Dan Guerrero, B. Harlan Boll, Barbara Allyne Bennet, William Thomas, Theodore Bikel, Michael Medico, Ken Werther, Daniel Henning, Daniel Henning, Pam Dixon, Martin Wiviott, Vice Chair Ilene Graff, John Bowab. Not pictured: Chair John Holly, Vice Chair David Rambo, John Acosta, Joni Berry Budd Friedman Katherine Fugate Danny Goldman, Richard Herd Kate Edelman Johnson (Trustee) Scott Roth Bryan Unger David Young. Robby Benson (Emeritus), Henry Polic II (Emeritus), Marguerite Ray (Emeritus), Lynn Wood (Emeritus). Photo: Scott Appel.

• The Actors Fund helped 13,523 people in 2012, 5.6% more than in 2011.
• The lives of 5,024 people were stabilized during times of crisis, transition or health concerns.
• 1,812 people received $2,802,037 in emergency financial assistance.
• The Artists Health Insurance Resource Center (AHIRC) counseled 2,781 people and conducted 119 seminars.
The Al Hirschfeld Free Clinic provided 3,543 free medical visits to 1,485 uninsured individuals.
• In California, the Performing Arts Clinic at the Venice Family Clinic saw 83 patients.
• Supportive, affordable and special needs housing was provided to 433 people at The Dorothy Ross Friedman, Schermerhorn and Palm View residences.
• And at The Lillian Booth Actors Home, our skilled nursing and assisted living care facility in Englewood, New Jersey, 150 residents received the highest quality care.
• Of special note are the 630 people hurt by Superstorm Sandy. For and with them, we are coordinating care and applications related to recovery and have already provided almost $323,600 in emergency financial assistance to 270 people.

A special thank you to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for being our most dedicated supporter — in 2012 this amazing organization provided The Fund with $4,435,000 to support our programs and services, which included $200,000 in emergency funds for Superstorm Sandy relief last fall. Also providing much-needed support post-Sandy were SAG/AFTRA and The Motion Pictures Players Welfare Fund/MPPWF ($250K), IATSE Local One ($50K), The Schubert Organization ($50K), and Cirque du Soleil ($5K), as well as many individuals — without all of you, our work would have been much more difficult. THANK YOU!

Visit our website to learn more about our free and confidential programs and services or to make a donation. And stay connected as a part of our community on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

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Photo Call: The Actors Fund Celebrates 75 Years Of Our Town!

March 7, 2013 Comments off

Photo Credit: Jamie Liles

Blythe Danner, Act I’s Stage Manager, opened Monday’s 75th Anniversary Benefit Reading of Our Town.

It’s undeniable that Thornton Wilder’s Our Town is one of the most important works in twentieth-century American drama, and during Monday night’s special benefit reading for The Fund — celebrating the play’s 75th anniversary — any remaining doubt was vanquished. Directed by Peter Flynn, the incredible cast featured a trio of wonderful actors as the Stage Manager — Blythe Danner, BD Wong and S. Epatha Merkerson (each of whom took an act) — as well as breathtaking performances by Celia Keenan-Bolger (Emily Webb), Leslie Odom, Jr. (George Gibbs), Jerry Dixon (Dr. Gibbs), Adriane Lenox (Mrs. Gibbs), Rebecca Luker (Mrs. Webb) and Howard McGillin (Mr. Webb).

Credit Jamie Liles.

Mrs. Gibbs (Adriane Lenox) and Mrs. Webb (Rebecca Luker) discuss life in Grovers Corners.

We’d like to thank the entire team, which took time out of their busy schedules to give such an emotional performance to the packed house, including the rest of the Grovers Corners residents: Jerry Dixon (Dr. Gibbs), Ade Otukoya (Joe Crowell/Si Crowell), Daniel Jenkins (Howie Newsome), Adriane Lenox (Mrs. Gibbs), Rebecca Luker (Mrs. Webb), Tyrah Skye Odoms (Rebecca Gibbs), Wolfgang Scheitinger (Wally Webb), Wally Dunn (Professor Willard), Howard McGillin (Mr. Webb), Martin Moran (Simon Stimson), Julia Murney (Mrs. Soames), Philip Hoffman (Constable Warren), Jose Llana (Sam Craig), Wally Dunn (Joe Stoddard) and townspeople Will Boyaijan, Brandon Contreras, Talya Groves, Chelsea D. Harrison, John-Michael Lyles, Melissa Mickens and Cailan Rose.

Credit Jamie Liles.

Three members the Gibbs family, played by Tyrah Skye Odoms, Adriane Lenox, and Jerry Dixon.

We’d also like to thank scenic designer Ken Goldsein, lighting designer Cory Pattak, sound designer Patrick Weaver, costume supervisor Jennifer Caprio, musical supervisor Mark Fifer, make-up artist Nathan Johnson, hairstylist James Corbett, casting consultant Stephanie Yankwitt, production stage manager Jason A. Quinn, and the rest of the incredible team! And a huge shout-out to the evening’s sponsors: PNC Bank, The New York Times, New York Marriott Marquis, and United Airlines. Without all of you, this incredible evening wouldn’t have been possible!

All photos by Jamie Liles.

Credit Jamie Liles.

BD Wong took the helm as Act II’s Stage Manager.

Credit Jamie Liles.

George Gibbs (Leslie Odom, Jr.) waits excitedly as Mr. Webb (Howard McGillin) leads his daughter Emily (Celia Keenan-Bolger) down the aisle.

Credit Jamie Liles.

As the Act III Stage Manager, S. Epatha Merkerson catches us up on the last nine years in Grovers Corners.

Credit Jamie Liles.

The townspeople gather to bid Emily farewell.

Credit Jamie Liles.

As Emily (Celia Keenan-Bolger) discusses what she has learned in death with her mother-in-law (Adriane Lenox), George (Leslie Odom, Jr.) weeps at her gravesite.

Credit Jamie Liles.

Leslie Odom, Jr. and Tyrah Skye Odoms do some post-show bonding.

Credit Jamie Liles.

Rebecca Luker and Howard McGillen.

Credit Jamie Liles.

Jose Llana, Celia Keenan-Bolger, and BD Wong.

Credit Jamie Liles.

Mario Cantone and Jerry Dixon.

Credit Jamie Liles.

Julia Murney (the evening’s Mrs. Soames) with Joe Benincasa.

Credit Jamie Liles.

Celia Keenan-Bolger and John Ellison Conlee.

Credit Jamie Liles.

Joe Benincasa, Director Peter Flynn, Rebecca Luker and Howard McGillin.

Credit Jamie Liles.

Actors Fund Chief Advancement Officer Tom Exton, BD Wong, Judy Exton and Charlotte Exton.

Credit Jamie Liles.

Tim Pinckney, Andréa Burns and Peter Flynn.

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