Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, are the most recent celebrities to donate to the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strike funds.
Since May, the couple has given $1.5 million to support the writers and actors affected by the dual strike in Hollywood. The funds have gone to both the Entertainment Community Fund and the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Emergency Financial Assistance Program.
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The ECF, previously called the Actors Fund, is a human services organization that addresses the needs of people who work in entertainment and performing arts. With Spielberg and Capshaw’s contributions, as well as those from other donors, the fund has been able to help film and TV workers cover basic living expenses. As of Sept. 8, the fund has donated more than $6.5 million, distributing about $400,000 to $700,000 per week.
Similarly, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation works to provide financial assistance and educational programming to people within the performers union. Due to the work stoppage, the foundation is currently processing 50 to 100 new applications for emergency financial assistance for members with rent and mortgage payments, as well as food, utilities and medical needs.
Spielberg and Capshaw join a list of celebrities who have donated to multiple strike funds since the walkouts began. Greg Berlanti and Ryan Murphy have each committed $500,000 to strike funds for the cast and crew of their projects, while filmmaker Paul Feig contributed $100,000 to the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Community Care Fund.
Organizations have also chipped in to help those who have been impacted by the writers and actors strikes. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has donated $4 million to funds over the past few months. Liz Hsiao Lan Alper’s Pay Up Hollywood relaunched its Hollywood Support Staff Relief Fund — which originally began at the start of the pandemic — to help support staff like writers room assistants and production assistants.
Inevitable Foundation, which works to close the disability representation gap in the entertainment industry and focuses on mid-career screenwriters, also set up an Emergency Relief Fund that launched shortly after the writers strike began. It offers unrestricted, responsive cash grants and, according to a statement from the nonprofit at the time, serves as a way to remain “responsive to the negative impacts of a strike on the careers of disabled writers both inside and outside the union.”
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