Actors' Fund of Canada: May Newsletter, 2015 View this email in your browser.

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In This Issue:

May 2015

Letter from the Executive Director
Testimonial - Jeff Sayle, 1st Assistant Cameraman
How people were helped
Give back to the Actors Fund: Become a volunteer!
Redesigned application process helps Actors’ Fund clients better access the help they need
Supporter Spotlight: Tom Berry 
Discovery Mugs!
The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) raises money and awareness for the Fund
Pamela Ewen is a REEL Friend
Connect with us on Social Media
Share your story

Letter from the Executive Director

We are committed to providing the best possible service to people in crisis

Dear friends, 

With the now sold-out Big Swing Golf Tournament just a couple of weeks away, it’s dominating the local headlines here at the Actors’ Fund office in Toronto. The 2015 tournament is set to be another great success and we’ll have lots more detail and photos to share with you in June.

In other news, I am thrilled to tell you that today is launch day for our newly-developed application form. You can read about the new form and see it by following the link in the story below.

Why is this important? 

We are committed to providing the best possible service to people in crisis who approach us for help.

To properly respond to their needs we need to gather complete and accurate information on the situation they’re facing as quickly and painlessly as possible. 

How can we make sure that we’re clear with clients about what information we need from them?

What can we do to be more transparent about what happens between the moment they first contact us and cheques going out the door?

How can we carry out our duty to help the right people at the right time in the right way with maximum compassion and sensitivity?

Far from being just another bureaucratic tool, our new form is the culmination of a year’s worth of studying our application process and is a key part of our answer to these questions.

What we do for people who need our help is the motivation for, and the result of, all our activity here at the Fund. 

I am thankful to our Case Coordinator Leah Erbe and the team at Usability Matters for bringing their “A” game to this project. 

I am grateful to our Board of Directors for their guidance and their focus on what’s truly important in their encouragement of this work.

And, as always, I want to express my warmest appreciation to you, our supporter, without whom none of this would be possible.

Thank you for caring, 

David Hope 
Executive Director

Testimonial - Jeff Sayle

They were so tiny at the beginning we couldn’t even hold them... 

Jeff Sayle, 1st Assistant Cameraman - IATSE Local 669

“After getting married last year, my wife Tracy and I were expecting twins. We were overjoyed at the prospect of growing our family from two to four. The twins were due on May 17, but everything changed on February 9 when Tracy was rushed to the hospital with complications and our twin boys were delivered three months early. They were very fragile and were admitted immediately to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). 

Both Tracy and I had to stop work right away in order to be with them every day in the hospital. They were so tiny at the beginning we couldn’t even hold them. At time like this, finances were the last thing on our mind, but of course you can’t ignore them... 

At a time when neither of us could work, the help from the Actors’ Fund of Canada was incredible.

Receiving financial assistance from the Fund with transportation, our mortgage, phone, utilities and food was a huge help: I honestly don’t know what we would have done without it. The support from the Fund has really allowed us to focus our energy where it needs to be – on our twin boys, Wyatt and George, in the hospital. I think that this assistance will be of huge long-term benefit – both for us, and for the boys. 

If I could, I would bring all of you to the NICU and show you the difference that the Actors’ Fund has made in our lives: our brave boys are growing and getting stronger every day. They still have issues, and will have to face many hurdles ahead, but on the whole they’re doing well. You have truly given us a chance to be there for our kids, thank you for your generosity in supporting the Actors’ Fund of Canada.” 

Jeff Sayle 
1st Assistant Cameraman - IATSE Local 669
Get weekly updates on Jeff and Tracy's incredible story on their website! 

How people were helped

In April 2015 the Actors' Fund of Canada distributed $40,053.46 to entertainment professionals facing illness, injury and other personal hardships.

•$21,239.74 for shelter to help keep a roof over people’s heads
•$3,950 for groceries and other necessities
•$6811.11 to cover bills, keep the power on and the phone connected
•$1,992.72 in medical expenses to help people recover from illness/injury
•$3,184.91 to cover transportation 
•$1,450 in child care and support
•$1,424.98 in dues to help people get back to work  

Give back to your community: Become a volunteer!

You can make a difference! 

Volunteering your time for the Actors Fund of Canada will help you connect with others in the entertainment industry, get valuable work experience and make a difference in the lives of your colleagues facing crisis situations through the work of the Actors Fund of Canada. 

Contact Rebecca at or call 1.877.399.8392 to get involved! 

Redesigned application process helps Actors’ Fund clients better access the help they need

(From L to R) Shannah Segal, Principal - Usability Matters; Leah Erbe, Case Coordinator for the Actors' Fund of Canada and Linnea Vizard User Experience Designer - Usability Matters. Thanks to Usability Matters for donating their time to this project. 

The Actors’ Fund of Canada is pleased to announce the release of their redesigned application process which will better serve the needs of their clients. The new application form will allow entertainment industry professionals in crisis to share their emergency with the Actors’ Fund of Canada in an easy-to-use manner which truly represents the goals of the industry-supported organization to be efficient, compassionate and approachable. 

The new client-centric application process is the result of a year-long project with the goal of improving the Fund’s quality of client service. The redesigned application form was created in collaboration with user experience design firm Usability Matters who donated their expertise to the project. Executive Director of the Actors’ Fund of Canada David Hope is thrilled with the results. “Usability Matters was a fantastic collaborator on this project,” said Hope. “They clearly understood the varying needs of the people we serve, whether they are dancers, set decorators, percussionists or screenwriters. Usability Matters have helped us create a new form that truly embodies the principles of our client service approach; friendly, flexible, and understanding.” 

Shannah Segal, Principal, Usability Matters, was pleased that the firm was able to work with the Actors’ Fund of Canada. “We are an organization that believes strongly in the arts as a pillar of Canadian culture and society, so the chance to support individuals in these fields was important to us,” said Segal. “Through this project we were able to work closely with the Actors’ Fund team, including Case Coordinator Leah Erbe, to re-imagine all aspects of the application process. We’re delighted that the Fund’s clients are already benefitting from the new process.” 

In 2002, Usability Matters was established as the first User Experience firm in Canada. Today, they enjoy an unrivaled reputation for insightful and considered design. Their clients, such as Sportsnet, Scotiabank, Humber College and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, respect them for their expertise, dedication, their committed and collaborative team, and the ability to deliver on their promises.

To view a copy of the new form visit the Actors' Fund of Canada's website.

Supporter Spotlight: Tom Berry

Tom Berry, CEO of Reel One Entertainment and Actors’ Fund supporter.

“It’s so important that we take care of our own,” said Tom Berry, CEO of Reel One Entertainment, on the phone from his office in Montreal. “That’s one of the reasons I support the Actors’ Fund of Canada because the Fund is there to help support everyone in the industry.” 

Mr. Berry is the founder of Reel One Entertainment / Premiere Bobine and has produced and executive produced more than one hundred and thirty movies and TV series in Canada and the United States. Mr. Berry is a past Chairman of the Canadian Film and Television Production Association and received the Jack Chisholm Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence for lifetime achievement in the film and television industry. Mr. Berry is also an active supporter of the Actors’ Fund of Canada. 

“We all know that a career in the entertainment industry comes with a great deal of risk,” said Mr. Berry when asked why he supports the Actors’ Fund of Canada. “Anything we can do to make those risks more manageable benefits all of us. I’m so impressed by the amount of time and energy that the staff and Board Members put into helping those in need. Each case is addressed on an individual basis looking at the unique circumstances of the people involved. 

I think that the more people know about the great work the Fund is doing the more involved they’ll want to become. I encourage everyone in the business, especially those who are doing well, to contribute to the Actors’ Fund and help pay it forward. Looking around me I see the difference that the Fund has made, and continues to make, in people’s lives and I feel honoured to be a part of that. Let’s never forget that the entertainment industry is a community as well as a business: we’re all in this together.”  

The Actors’ Fund of Canada is grateful for the continued support of Tom Berry. 

Discovery Mugs! 

Stratford Festival Discovery Mugs designed by (L to R) Lucy Peacock, Seana McKenna and Sara Farb. 

Bring home your own unique piece from the Stratford Festival and support the Actors Fund with these one-of-a-kind white ceramic Discovery Mugs! 

Available from the Stratford Festival Shop these beautiful mugs were designed and signed by Stratford Festival company members including Actors’ Fund of Canada Board Member Seana McKenna. McKenna’s Mug says "once thunk, can't be unthunk" and features drawings of people "thinking" in honour of Stratfords season of Discovery. McKenna stars in The Physicists and Hamlet this season at the Stratford Festival. The two other mugs, designed by Stratford Festival company members and Actors Fund supporters Sara Farb and Lucy Peacock, also feature beautiful and original designs. 

15% of the sales of all three Discovery Mugs will be donated to the Actors' Fund of Canada. The Actors' Fund of Canada thanks the Stratford Festival for their continued support!  

Canadian Media Guild supports the Actors' Fund of Canada

On Tuesday, May 12 in Toronto the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) celebrated the launch of their newly-published “Guide to working in Canadian factual TV production” by raising funds for the Actors’ Fund of Canada. The event raised awareness and $715 for the Actors’ Fund through a 50/50 draw and a donation from CMG. 

The Canadian Media Guild is a democratic trade union representing 6,000 workers in the Canadian media. Members work at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio-Canada (CBC/SRC), The Canadian Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse (AFP), TVO, TFO, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (aptn), ZoomerMedia, Shaw Media and CKOI Radio Gatineau (Québec) and also can be media freelancers. For a free copy of the new “Guide to working in Canadian Factual TV production” visit their website. 

The Actors’ Fund of Canada thanks the Canadian Media Guild for their support. 

Small Contributions can make a BIG difference

Make a REAL difference for Tomorrow. Become a REEL Friend Today. 

The Reel Friends Voluntary Payroll Donation Program is an easy way to make regular donations in support of the your colleagues facing crisis situations through the work of the Actors' Fund of Canada. Donations are tax-deductible and will be debited from your paycheque at a percentage and for a period you specify. A tax receipt will be issued at the end of each calendar year. 

To learn more visit the Actors' Fund website or call 1.877.399.8392. 

Connect with us!

Are you active on Facebook? Do you love to tweet? Do you enjoy watching cat videos on YouTube? 
Then you should connect with the Actors' Fund of Canada on social media! We've got news, feel-good stories, thank yous, photos and videos which you won't find anywhere else.

Click the links below to connect with us on social media! 

Do you have story to tell?

If you’ve received assistance from the Fund, you are in a unique position...By sharing your testimonial you can help create awareness about the Actors' Fund of Canada in the community. 
Real people. Real stories. Make a real difference.

Share your story today. Email for more information. 

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Our mailing address is: 1000 Yonge Street, Suite 301 Toronto Ontario M4W 2K2

Phone: 416.975.0304 (Toronto) 1.877.399.8392 (Toll-Free)

Fax: 416.975.0306


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