October 2015 Actors’ Fund of Canada e-newsletter  View this email in your browser.

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In This Issue:

October 2015

Letter from the Executive Director
Testimonial – Don Rieder
How people were helped
Make an Opening Night Donation!
Attention Toronto! Don’t miss Carrie: The Musical benefit concert
Supporter Spotlight – Nora McLellan
Get to know your new Actors’ Fund Board Members
Video of the month  CAFTCAD supports the Actors’ Fund
Connect with us!
Prime Time in Ottawa registration now open

Letter from the Executive Director 

Your donation to the Actors’ Fund matters

Dear friends,

You will not be able to read Don Rieder’s testimonial (below) without feeling moved in some way. I’m not afraid to admit that I shed a tear or two.

The insight Don gives us into his last days with his partner Valerie Dean is incredibly poignant – so much so that we considered carefully whether this newsletter was the right place to share it with you.

“In the end, we felt that you needed to know about
Don and Valerie because their story shows why
your donation to the Actors’ Fund matters.”

In the face of a terrible situation whose outcome we could not change, the Fund provided them with some small measure of comfort during an incredibly difficult time.

Because you supported us, we were able to help them in the best way we could.

Thank you for caring,

David Hope 
Executive Director

Testimonial – “We are survivors. Fighters.
We bounce back, with help.” 

Don Rieder remembers his late partner Valerie Dean

 “I sought help from the Fund on two occasions. The first, for financial support for my partner Valerie Dean (performer, director, dancer, choreographer and master teacher) who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. The second, to help me purchase hearing aids so that I might continue to work after a work-related hearing loss.”

In Valerie’s case, support from the Actors’ Fund of Canada allowed both of us to focus our energies on a positive outcome. And when this wasn’t possible, we could focus on ‘being with dying.’ The peace Valerie experienced was profound and the relief of having the financial burden and chaos taken care of helped me to focus on my role as caregiver. 

“Professionally, the hearing aids from the Actors’ Fund allowed me to continue to work as a performer, director and teacher at my full capacity, with confidence, and receptivity. Personally, the hearing aids allowed me to hear, always hear, Valerie’s weakening voice and catch her whispered last words.”

Without help from the Fund I would have been burdened by debt and deep grief, and left without the ability to hear and to work. 

The community is always vulnerable. We always take risks – physical, emotional, financial – for the intangible rewards our creativity, love of the arts and community provide. Without recourse to the Fund community members like me would have fewer options. An already unstable environment would become unbearably cruel and uncaring.

“In giving to the Actors’ Fund of Canada, you share your success with others so that others may share their success with you when you need help.”

I believe that success is a gift and it is said that ‘the gift must always move.’ None of us in the community is easily replaceable; I would not want to lose anyone – we are such a small community – to neglect or because of selfishness. We are survivors. Fighters. We bounce back, with help.” 

Don Rieder 
Director, actor, clown, master teacher 

How people were helped

In September 2015 your support helped the Actors’ Fund of Canada distribute $44,418.94 to entertainment professionals facing illness, injury and other personal hardships. 

$27,265.45 for shelter to help keep a roof over people’s heads
$4,300 for groceries and other necessities
$1,879.97 to keep the power on and pay bills
$4,314.16 in medical expenses to help people recover from illness/injury
$3,197.25 in emergency dental work 
$1,174.99 to cover transportation 
$237.12 to keep the phone connected
$2,050 in dues to help people get back to work  

Make an Opening Night Donation!

What better way to celebrate an opening night than by supporting a charity that helps members of the theatre community bounce back from adversity and get back to doing the work they love?  

A gift to the Actors’ Fund on opening night is a great way to acknowledge someone (or everyone in the company) whose work has helped to get you there.

Simply click here or call 1-877-399-8392 and the Actors’ Fund will send an acknowledgement to the theatre to be posted on the call board for opening night. 

Thank you for your support!

Don’t miss Carrie: The Musical
one-night-only benefit concert for the 
Actors’ Fund of Canada in Toronto!

This is your personal invitation to Carrie: The Musical a one-night-only benefit concert for the Actors’ Fund of Canada on Nov. 16th! Carrie: The Musical takes place at St. Michael’s College School Centre for the Arts in Toronto at 8 p.m. on Mon., Nov. 16th with doors opening at 7 p.m. for cash bar and raffle with prizes. Visit the link below or call 1.888.324.6282 for tickets. 

Hope to see you there

Supporter Spotlight – Nora McLellan

Nora McLellan (Photo courtesy of The Characters Talent Agency)

“I developed a habit of giving to the Actors’ Fund of Canada as a young actor,” says long-time Actors’ Fund supporter Nora McLellan on the phone from her house in Niagara-on-the-Lake. “During the second week of rehearsals for a show I’ll usually say to the company ‘Instead of presents for opening night, I’m going to make a donation to the Actors’ Fund.’” 

“Whatever you’re doing in the entertainment business,
you can make giving to the Actors’ Fund of Canada
a part of your life.” – Nora McLellan

Distinguished Canadian performer Nora McLellan has been a supporter of the Actors’ Fund of Canada for many years. At home on both stage and screen, Nora started her career at the age of eight with the Vancouver Opera and has gone on to work with numerous theatres across Canada, including many seasons with the Shaw Festival, as well as roles on hit TV shows like Orphan Black and SyFy’s Killjoys. Nora is the Associate Artistic Director of Theatre 20. 

We recently spoke with Nora about why she supports the Actors’ Fund.

Click here to read more  

Get to know your new Board Members!

New Actors’ Fund Board Members Deborah Bernstein and Sugith Varughese

The Actors’ Fund of Canada’s Board of Directors recently welcomed two new Board Members: Deborah Bernstein and Sugith Varughese.   

Q: Why do you personally support the work of the Actors’ Fund of Canada?  

Deborah:The Actors’ Fund of Canada has a solid reputation for being effective in addressing the urgent financial needs of members of the entertainment industry. It’s inclusive, respectful and timely in its dealings with clients. I’m so pleased to now be a member of the AFC Board.”

“Being part of the entertainment community, I know how precarious the safety net can be and knowing that the Actors’ Fund of Canada exists makes that safety net a little bit stronger.” – Sugith Varughese 

Sugith: “Simple. They do good work. I have two friends who’ve been helped by the Actors’ Fund that I know of, (and I’m sure others that I don’t know.)  And both of them told me that the AFC’s assistance was a lifesaver in their time of tremendous stress and upheaval.” 

Click here to read more

Video of the month: CAFTCAD supports the Actors’ Fund

Big thanks to the Canadian Alliance of Film & Television Costume Arts & Design (CAFTCAD) for supporting the Actors’ Fund of Canada. CAFTCAD recently donated partial proceeds from their annual Movie Wardrobe Sale to the Actors’ Fund of Canada. Special thanks to CAFTCAD President Joanna Syrokomla, Tara Thompson, Pinewood Toronto Studios and all CAFTCAD members for their support. Click here for the video.

Connect with us!

Are you active on Facebook? Do you love to tweet? Do you enjoy watching videos on YouTube?

Connect with us on Facebook and see how your gift is making a difference!

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! 

Prime Time in Ottawa
registration now open!

Register now for Prime Time in Ottawa 2016, a CMPA Event. This coming year the event is Feb. 3-5.

Last year the the Actors’ Fund’s Prime Time Challenge raised over $58,000 to help entertainment professionals facing times of crisis. Let’s raise even more support in 2016! 


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