Hollywood’s superstars are answering the call from the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, donating $1 million or more each to help their fellow performers during the ongoing actors and writers strikes.
The foundation said Wednesday that over the past three weeks it has raised more than $15 million from a growing list of $1 million donors to the Foundation’s Emergency Financial Assistance Program, including:
George and Amal Clooney
Luciana and Matt Damon
Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively
“Thanks to the support of some of Hollywood’s top-earning stars, the Foundation is preparing to bring aid and hope to thousands of journeymen actors facing tremendous economic hardship,” the foundation said in a release today.
“The entertainment industry is in crisis and the SAG-AFTRA Foundation is currently processing more than 30 times our usual number of applications for emergency aid,” said SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance. “We received 400 applications in the last week alone. Our Emergency Financial Assistance Program is here to ensure that performers in need don’t lose their homes, have the ability to pay for utilities, buy food for their families, purchase life-saving prescriptions, cover medical bills and more. It’s a massive challenge, but we’re determined to meet this moment. For more than 38 years, the Foundation has been a safety net for our community during its most challenging times, and much like the Covid pandemic, this work stoppage magnifies the precarious living conditions and financial distress of many actors living paycheck to paycheck.”
Johnson helped kick-start the campaign with a seven-figure donation, Vance said, noting that Streep and George Clooney, two longtime supporters of the foundation and leaders of its Actors Council, then “stepped up with $1 million donations, emails, and many calls to action rallying others to give generously. We’ve crushed our initial goal because our people are coming together, but we still aren’t done. Our fundraising will continue in order to meet the overwhelming needs of our community now and in the future.”
Streep and Clooney called on the companies to end the strikes. The Writers Guild struck the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on May 2, followed by SAG-AFTRA on July 14.
“I remember my days as a waiter, cleaner, typist, even my time on the unemployment line,” Streep said in a statement. “In this strike action, I am lucky to be able to support those who will struggle in a long action to sustain against Goliath. We will stand strong together against these powerful corporations who are bent on taking the humanity, the human dignity, even the human out of our profession. I am proudest of my fellow actors who have immediately offered to fund the Emergency Financial Assistance Program.”
“We stand ready to get back to the table and make a fair deal with the AMPTP,” Clooney said. “Until then, I’m proud to be able to support the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and my fellow actors who may be struggling in this historic moment. We’ve stood on the shoulders of the likes of Bette Davis and Jimmy Cagney and it’s time for our generation to give something back. I can’t thank Courtney enough for his determination in putting this effort together by shedding light on the human toll happening right now, and how we can work together to alleviate some of the pain and suffering.”