Writers Guild West Donates Almost $1M to Actors Fund

The money for the donation comes from undistributable funds held by the WGAW’s Foreign Levies Program

The Writers Guild of America, West, is contributing $977,095 to the Actors Fund, the guild announced Thursday.

The monies are specifically earmarked for emergency financial assistance needed by entertainment professionals for basic living expenses such as rent or medical bills.

The money for this donation comes from undistributable funds held by the WGAW’s Foreign Levies Program. Due to the success of this program, the WGAW has distributed over $121 million to writers and their heirs. Some funds, however, cannot be distributed because they are not designated for a known project or writer.

As part of a legal settlement reached in 2010, all parties agreed that once reasonable efforts to distribute the money had been exhausted, these funds would be donated to the Actors Fund.

The Foreign Levies Program will likely generate an ongoing stream of undistributable funds, and the Guild looks forward to making additional charitable contributions in the future.

Also read: Writers Guild Awards Set for Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013

“We became aware of how important fhe Actors Fund is during the 2007-08 strike,” said WGAW president Chris Keyser in a statement. “Without hesitation, the fund stepped in and provided critical services to those in the industry who desperately needed help. We are thrilled that after years of litigation the court has cleared the way for us to make this contribution to the fund’s good work.”   

“The Actors Fund helped more than 12,800 members of the entertainment community last year, all across the country,” said fund CEO Joseph Benincasa. “That help included $2.5 million in emergency financial assistance to nearly 1,600 people, and almost $1 million to help colleagues in Southern California. We are tremendously grateful for WGAW’s commitment to helping us to continue preventing evictions, securing medical care, putting food on the table and meeting many other needs of our colleagues who are facing difficult times.”

The fund provides support for writers, designers, sound technicians, dancers, directors, film editors, stagehands, electricians, and actors with programs designed to help with the serious economic, health or employment challenges they face. 

The Writers Guild of America represents writers of movies, TV, radio and internet programming, including news and documentaries.