Contact: Gregg Mitchell (323) 782-4574
David Engelman (917) 281-5976
News Release: September 27, 2012

WGAW Gives Nearly One Million Dollars to Aid Entertainment Industry Workers

Contribution to Actors Fund Comes from Guild’s Foreign Levies Program

LOS ANGELES -- The Writers Guild of America, West announced today that it is contributing $977,095 to The Actors Fund. The monies are specifically earmarked for emergency financial assistance needed by entertainment professionals for basic living expenses such as rent or medical bills. The Fund provides support for everyone in entertainment – writers, designers, sound technicians, dancers, directors, film editors, stagehands, electricians, and actors – with a broad spectrum of programs designed to help with the serious economic, health or employment challenges they face.  

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.

“We became aware of how important The Actors Fund is during the 2007-08 strike,” said WGAW President Chris Keyser. “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 Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit:

Additional information about the Foreign Levies Program can be found at

The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone – performers and those behind the scenes – who works in performing arts and entertainment, helping more than 12,800 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund’s programs include social services and emergency assistance, health care and insurance, housing, and employment and training services. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund has – for 130 years – been a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition. Visit