The AFC: February 2019 Newsletter View this email in your browser.


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 In This Issue:

February 2019

Message from the Executive Director 
How people were helped: January 2019
Q&A with Keith Martin Gordey for ACTRA Magazine
Testimonial: Roc Lafortune
Supporter Spotlight: Mirvish Productions
Work with us: two program team positions available

Message from the Executive Director

Dear friends,

Recently I had a chance to catch up with Keith Martin Gordey, UBCP/ACTRA President and ACTRA National Executive Board member. We spoke about how The AFC's work benefits members of the community, our existing and new programs and plans for the future. The highlights of our conversation resulted in a brief piece for ACTRA Magazine which we have included in this newsletter.

Keith and I talked about how important it is for us to increase our fundraising efforts, as the need for our services continues to soar. It’s a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately.

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to be with a great group of people from large and small charities who gathered to learn about how we can help donors make donations with an even greater impact.

We’re so grateful to have the generous financial support of many individual donors who believe in our mission. Although many of our supporters choose to make annual donations, from time to time we have been very fortunate to have been the recipient of bequests or gifts of publicly-traded securities. These types of donations and a few notable others generally fall under the heading of “Planned Giving”. In yesterday’s session, we learned that giving in this way is not just for the well-to-do. In fact, these types of donations are a powerful way in which you can make a significant contribution to The AFC that in many cases can result in significant tax savings, either now or later.

We’ve got some information on the possibilities on our website here. If you think one of these options might be right for you, let’s have a conversation. Please feel free to call me directly at (416) 975-0304 x 19 or drop me a line at I’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, and as always, thank you for caring.

David Hope
Executive Director

How people were helped: January 2019

The first month of 2019 was a very busy month for The AFC - your support helped us distribute $85,322.82 in emergency funding to entertainment professionals facing crisis situations. Here's how people were helped:

  • $55,355.11 to help keep a roof over people’s heads
  • $7,155.00 for groceries and other necessities
  • $4,771.42 to cover utilities
  • $5,444.86 for travel and transportation
  • $1,836.32 to keep the phone and internet connected
  • $8,443.11 for emergency dental and medical care
  • $1,432.00 for union dues
  • $885.00 to cover other expenses, like childcare, moving and storage, etc.

Q&A for ACTRA Magazine

Republished with permission from

Keith: Last year, The AFC distributed a record $706,440 in emergency financial aid to entertainment professionals. How can The AFC continue to meet this demand?

David: Our last fiscal year showed the largest amount of emergency financial aid distributed in The AFC’s history, up over 40 per cent from the previous year. This shows an extraordinary need for our services. It also shows we need to ramp up our fundraising efforts and reinforce our call to the community to continue to support entertainment professionals facing crisis situations. The AFC does not receive public funding, so our work is made possible by contributions from industry organizations and individual donors. We are very grateful for the support we receive.

The AFC’s work goes beyond distributing financial aid to industry members facing crisis situations. Could you speak about the community and personal support offered by The AFC?

The circumstances that bring people to The AFC are often multi-faceted and complex. Our program team members have extensive professional training and expertise in personal support and advocacy. In addition to short-term financial aid, they are also able to provide our clients with compassionate support and help them carve out a viable long-term plan to deal with their crises in a sustainable way. Our team members are also able to connect our clients with existing community support systems and resources within the industry and beyond.

The AFC has added a financial wellness program that is FREE to all of us who work in the Canadian entertainment industry. Please tell our members how this works.

Our Financial Wellness Program is open to all Canadian entertainment industry professionals and was designed to get people started on the road to financial stability. To sign up, fill out a simple form at A member of our team will get in touch to discuss your goals and connect you with seasoned financial counsellors from Credit Canada who are experienced in working with people who make their living in our industry.

What’s in the plan for the future? How is The AFC going to evolve its services to continue to support everyone in the entertainment industry?

We have many things in the works! We are going to continue to develop our Financial Wellness Program. We are going to explore how we can be of service to the community in the realm of personal support and advocacy. Our strategic goal is to evolve our existing programs and create new initiatives to respond to the needs of our community in the most efficient and sustainable way. 

ACTRA Magazine article is available here. Photo: David Hope accepting a cheque in support of The AFC from UBCP/ACTRA's Keith Martin Gordey, 2018. 

Testimonial: Roc Lafortune

Receiving support from The AFC helped me emotionally – it gave me back my dignity. I felt I was a part of the family, that I was taken care of, that it was ok to ask for help.

In our industry, work comes and goes, and success does not always mean that you are set for life and able to provide for your family. I came to The AFC at a time when I experienced a slowdown in work, which lasted much longer than the usual lull in work, and my wife had to stay at home to care for our daughter who is autistic.

Our line of work always pushes us to be the best – when you walk into an audition, you have to think that you are special, that you’re the guy for the job. But we don’t often think about what happens when we don’t get the job, because we know the next audition is right around the corner. But when the next gig doesn’t come along, we start questioning ourselves and feel like we are failing. We are not really prepared to deal with such situations.

All of a sudden your income is cut in half or more, and with mortgage payments, expensive full-time care for your child, basic living expenses, it felt to me like everything was spiralling out of control.

Asking for help is quite a step – you have to really be able to put away your ego and push away the thoughts of being viewed as a failure by your peers. Of course, first you look around, you try banks, other possible avenues of support. Hearing no again and again and facing rejection everywhere was tough, and soon we were out of options. I remember thinking that I was going to lose my house, my wife, my family. When you are in a hole, your thoughts can get dark rather quickly. 

When I came to The AFC, I encountered people who were kind and who treated me with no judgment whatsoever. They were listening to me, and they were hearing what I was saying. They worked fast, they took the time to explain how the system worked and where to go for long-term help, they helped me fill out the papers from A to Z. I felt like someone took me by the hand and walked me out of the abyss.

Receiving support from The AFC helped me emotionally – it gave me back my dignity. I felt I was a part of the family, that I was taken care of, that it was ok to ask for help.

I definitely plan on supporting The AFC as soon as I am able to. They do important work in supporting artists and the arts. In times of war or crisis, our industry booms. Why? Because our society cannot survive without the arts and entertainment. Join me in the campaign in support of The AFC! 


Supporter Spotlight

Mirvish Productions and Come from Away Toronto raise over $34,000 through audience collections for entertainment professionals going through hard times

Based on real events on and after September 11, 2001, Come from Away has been promoting the message of kindness and humanity on the world's largest stages for several years now. Ultimately Canadian, this brilliant award-winning musical tells the story of warmth, support, acceptance, generosity and community coming together when 38 international flights get re-directed to a small town of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador.

In December 2018, the message of kindness and humanity was reinforced thanks to everyone behind Come From Away Toronto, Mirvish Productions and the amazing Come From Away audiences who raised over $34,000 in support of The AFC through audience collections. 

We are extremely grateful to the cast and crew of the show who helped facilitate audience collections at performances of Come from Away and for delivering the show's powerful message to inspire theatregoers to give generously in support of artists going through hard times. Huge thanks to everyone at Mirvish Productions and the staff of the Royal Alexandra Theatre for their assistance with the collections.  

Come from Away continues to play in Toronto - now at Elgin Theatre. Photo: Toronto cast of Come from Away, 2018. Via @comefromawayTO

Work With Us

We are looking to fill two positions in our program team! Click the links below to view full job descriptions and application details. Applications for both positions are accepted until March 7, 2019.

Case Manager          Program Assistant

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