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Entertainment Community Fund launches ‘Essential’ campaign

The $160 million campaign expands the fund’s reach.

(L-R) Annette Bening and Brian Stokes Mitchell (Credit: Rebecca J. Michelson)

The Entertainment Community Fund has announced the creation of its “Essential” campaign. The $160 million campaign, which was publicized at the fund’s gala on April 8, will combine the organization’s fundraising. 

The “Essential” campaign is intended to expand the scope of the existing services provided by the national human services organization, which provides financial assistance, health and wellness services and more to members of the entertainment industry. The campaign aims to increase the Emergency Relief Reserve Fund, allowing the fund to provide immediate assistance in times of crisis.

The campaign has established goals including tripling the number of people whom the fund serves, and expanding its reach to members of new communities with scholarships, mental health services and career counseling. Additionally, the campaign will target specific capital projects such as upgrading the Actors Fund Home, the fund’s New Jersey-based assisted living facility, completing the 151-unit affordable housing structure Hollywood Arts Collective and upgrading New York’s Schermerhorn and Dorothy Ross Friedman affordable housing residences.

“The Entertainment Community Fund has been a longstanding cornerstone in our industry, lending support and meeting the unique needs of thousands of people,” said Shonda Rhimes, co-chair of the campaign’s committee, in a statement. “Still, more of our colleagues need help, and it will take all of us to support the transformative ‘Essential’ campaign and ensure that the fund reaches as many individuals who need these services as possible.”

“We are tremendously grateful to everyone who has already supported this fundraising initiative and to those who will help us meet our goal,” added co-chairs of the fund’s board and honorary co-chairs for the campaign Annette Bening and Brian Stokes Mitchell. “With significant campaign contributions already distributed to provide much-needed services to our community, the fund is already impacting the lives of more people in more places.” 

While fundraising for the “Essential” campaign has been ongoing since 2022, an additional $1.1 million was raised at the gala.

In addition to Rimes, the campaign committee includes co-chairs Hugh Jackman, Chris Keyser, Kenny Leon, Matthew Loeb and Robert Wankel. Committee members include Greg Berlanti, Janice Reals Ellig, Robert Greenblatt, David Henry Hwang, Sharon Karmazin, Brooke Kennedy, James L. Nederlander, Ruth Nerken, Laura Penn, David Rambo, Lauren Reid, Kate Shindle, Henry Tisch and Lisa Ann Walter.