The Entertainment Community Fund has announced the appointment of actor Annette Bening as the new chair of the board. She assumes the position from Brian Stokes Mitchell, who has been chair since 2004. The Fund’s Board, according to a release, “establishes policies for the administration of programs and services offered by the organization.”
The Fund is a national human services organization that addresses the needs of professionals in arts and entertainment, offering assistance in health and wellness, financial aid, housing and more.
Bening’s work with the Fund dates back more than a decade. She joined the board in 2010 and was appointed vice chair in 2016. She and Mitchell worked together on various Fund projects, including the 2019 opening of the Friedman Pavilion at the Actors Fund Home. The new facility marked the completion of a major renovation and expansion to the Home, which provides care to seniors in the industry.
“After over 10 years as a trustee, I’m so proud to begin this new chapter with the Entertainment Community Fund as the next board chair; I’ve always said that the Fund doesn’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk,” Bening said in a statement. “I’m continually in awe of the Fund and the magnitude of work done to provide compassionate, understanding and prompt support for the entertainment industry. Congratulations to my dear friend Stokes on such an incredible tenure, and I can’t wait to see what we all accomplish together in the coming years.”
Mitchell will continue to serve the Fund as part of the newly formed Leadership Council, which launched on June 15. The council is comprised of former trustees, recipients of the Fund’s Medal of Honor and volunteer representatives. Mitchell will serve as chair of the council as it works to advance the organization’s mission around the country.
During his nearly 20 years as chair, Mitchell guided the Fund through milestones and challenges, including the highs and lows of the COVID-19 pandemic, the official renaming of the organization to the Entertainment Community Fund and the recent “Ragtime” benefit concert, which raised more than $1 million for the Fund and its programs.
“Where do I begin in reflecting upon my time as chair at the Fund? It’s been an honor to serve my peers as we navigate a life in the arts doing what we love — even when doing what we love comes with challenges and uncertainty,” Mitchell said in a statement. “Thanks to all of the amazing people at the Fund, I know that our community will continue to have a safety net of support whenever they need it. And as my friend — and former high school classmate! — Annette assumes the role of chair, I know the Board and the Fund are in excellent hands.”
“It’s a gift to have such inspiring people as part of the Entertainment Community Fund family, serving on our boards, councils and committees,” said Fund president and CEO Joe Benincasa in a statement. “Annette and Stokes embody a deep commitment to not only the Fund, but also to the people we help every day, across the country and across the industry. They bring out the best in all of us and in their colleagues who serve with them. It’s been a privilege collaborating with Stokes for the past 19 years, and I’m honored to seek new heights of service in supporting a life in the arts with Annette as our chair.”