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


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 In This Issue:

March 2019

Message from the Executive Director 
How people were helped: February 2019
Tribute to Bruce Gray
AFBS Renews its Support of The AFC
Big Swing 2019: Registration Open Now
Celebrate World Theatre Day
Thursday Drop-ins: Talk to a Social Worker

Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Last week I had the opportunity to meet with our US counterparts the Actors Fund and the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Los Angeles.

Our meetings were so inspiring and I have a huge amount of respect for the work these organizations do. While they both operate at a much larger scale and offer a wider array of services, we’re in the same line of work: providing compassionate aid to entertainment industry professionals.

The panoply of robust and effective programs offered by each of these organizations suggests possible avenues of future development here at The AFC. But what struck me most was the role each has to play in creating a community amongst the diverse range of industry members. This is where I believe some of The AFC’s biggest opportunities are. In fact, building that sense of community is something we’re doing more and more of now and we will continue to build our capacity to do this in the weeks, months and years to come.

Our business can be hard on people. Our Emergency Financial Aid Program goes a long way to mitigating – on a short-term basis – the financial impact of the highly variable income that’s so prevalent amongst members of our industry. The money is important, of course. But in many cases what’s just as important is the knowledge that you’re not alone.

We work in a way that is complementary to benefit plans offered by unions and guilds that many of our clients may have access to in varying degrees. Our personalized, non-bureaucratic approach is part of what makes The AFC unique and outstanding as a provider of human services to the most vulnerable members of our industry.

I am proud of our Financial Wellness Program and the Personal Support and Advocacy services we’re able to offer on a national basis. Now, with the social work drop-ins that we’ve opened on a pilot basis here in our office in Toronto, I’m especially excited about what the future holds.

The AFC seeks to use the resources that you provide with maximum effectiveness to offer Canadian entertainment industry professionals services that are responsive to their needs and have beneficial impacts on their health, dignity and ability to work.

We are making continual progress toward advancing this mission, but for us to succeed in the long-term we must ensure we have the resources we need to carry out this work. As our supporter, you can help us to get to where the community needs us to be. If you agree that we’re on the right track with this, please let me know. I’d be especially grateful if you choose to support these efforts with a donation at

Thank you for caring.

David Hope
Executive Director

How people were helped: February 2019

In February 2019 your support helped us distribute $56,820.29 in emergency funding to entertainment professionals facing crisis situations. Here's how people were helped:

  • $35,116.54 to help keep a roof over people’s heads
  • $8,305.00 for groceries and other necessities
  • $1,779.09 to cover utilities
  • $2,859.00 for travel and transportation
  • $1,526.99 to keep the phone and internet connected
  • $4,463.79 for emergency dental and medical care
  • $1,578.50 to pay for counselling
  • $1,191.38 to cover other expenses, like childcare, union dues, moving and storage, etc.

Tribute to Bruce Gray

Bruce Gray's giving nature and remarkable generosity and kindness left a deep impression on the lives of many in our community and beyond.

The AFC remembers the celebrated actor Bruce Gray who passed away in December 2017 in Los Angeles. At the end of last year, the AFC received a generous, impactful bequest from Bruce's estate. 

We were able to connect with some of Bruce’s friends, family and colleagues in the past few weeks. There is so much heart, beauty, and fun in the stories they shared with us.

His sister Judy recounts that Bruce got into drama and acting as a young kid growing up in Puerto Rico. His path to acting took a slight detour when Bruce earned an MA in Psychology at the University of Toronto, but ultimately he was back at pursuing the profession he loved so much. His first stage role didn’t have lines – he played a gladiator in the production of Androcles and the Lion in London’s Mermaid Theatre, right next to a fellow gladiator and fellow Canadian Donald Sutherland.

Bruce Gray’s talent, versatility and utter professionalism led to a full and fulfilling career both on stage and on screen. He was loved and respected in Hollywood for his guest spots and recurring roles on a number of iconic TV shows like Beverley Hills 90210, Murphy Brown, Picket Fences, the Star Trek series, Murder She Wrote, and Queer as Folk, to name just a few.

In Canada, he was lauded for his brilliant portrayal of investment banker Adam Cunningham on the TV series Traders which brought him a Gemini Award. His impressive list of the big screen credits includes a lead role opposite Carol Burnett in Between Friends, principal parts in Let’s Get Harry and For the Boys, memorable appearances in The Peacemaker, Spy Hard, and many more.

Bruce's giving nature and remarkable generosity and kindness left a deep impression on the lives of many in our community and beyond. His strong presence continues in the vital work of the organizations that Bruce chose to support with bequests in his will. We are extremely grateful that The AFC was one of these organizations.

Gifts in wills, like Bruce’s, are vital to the important work The AFC does in supporting Canadian entertainment professionals. They provide secure funds that allow us to expand and develop our programs and services in emergency financial aid, personal support and advocacy, financial wellness, mental health, and other critical areas of support.

Bruce approached legacy giving with thoughtfulness and compassion. His dear friend Michael Pashak told us that, when planning his legacy giving, Bruce wanted to support the causes that helped shaped his life. With his bequest to The AFC, Bruce has made a profound and lasting impact in the lives of so many Canadian entertainment professionals and helped them move one step closer to the world where they are valued and supported. sustainable way.

Read full tribute to Bruce Gray here. Explore planned giving options on our website.

Photo: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

AFBS Renews its Support of The AFC

AFBS renews its long-standing commitment to supporting the work of The AFC with a $100,000 donation.

AFBS, the only national insurance and investment provider established and owned by Canadian performers and screenwriters, has supported The AFC for over two decades, through annual donations and providing a subsidized office space for the organization.

“AFBS is deeply invested in fostering the welfare of Canadian artists and entertainment workers – that’s why we reaffirm our support of The AFC,” said AFBS President and CEO Robert M. Underwood. “Their work is focussed on strengthening our community and helping our Members and other industry workers maintain hope, dignity and security during crisis situations. We are proud to renew our support this year to help boost The AFC’s growing portfolio of programs.”

“Our work would not be possible without the support of such vital donors as AFBS,” said The AFC’s Executive Director David Hope. “Their generous donation and continued support will not only allow us to provide a lifeline to hundreds of artists and entertainment professionals going through hard times, but will also enable us to offer more services that address the needs of industry members in the most sustainable way.”

Read full announcement here

Big Swing 2019

Big Swing Charitable Golf Tournament Returns for its 23rd Year.

Registration for Big Swing 2019 is now open! This year’s tournament will be held on Monday, June 17 at the Royal Ontario Golf Club in Halton. It will have an 8:00 a.m. shotgun start and end at approximately 4:00 p.m.

This well-loved tournament, co-presented with DGC Ontario, brings together industry members for a fun day of golf in support of the work of The AFC. Last year, Big Swing raised over $109,000 for entertainment professionals going through hard times. Join us on the course on June 17 – register online today!

Photo: Big Swing 2018. John Narvali.

Celebrate World Theatre Day

Theatre makers and theatre lovers around the globe celebrate World Theatre Day on March 27. World Theatre Day has been established to recognize the power of theatre to promote mutual international understanding and peace and protect cultural diversity and identity in communities throughout the world.

This year’s Canadian World Theatre Day message has been composed by playwright and performer Sunny Drake: “As the conjurers of Story, we are the magicians of reality. So let’s weave possibilities so compelling that we enrol ourselves and others in using our collective genius to make them reality. Let’s lift up the voices of those whose Stories and visions have been squashed: artists who are Indigenous, Black, people of colour, women, disabled, children, Deaf, trans, non-binary, two-spirit, queer, sex workers, poor, working class, refugees, and many others.” Read full message here in English and French.

On March 27 – and every day – we’d like to celebrate theatre creators and theatre companies across Canada who have been supporting us by hosting benefit performances, organizing audience collections and spreading the word since the day The AFC started in 1958. Thank you and happy World Theatre Day

Toronto: we are opening the doors of The AFC office on Thursday afternoons for walk-in sessions with the social workers on our team!

  • Are you having trouble filling out forms?
  • Are you interested in finding out what types of services you can access for assistance? For example: housing, employment, bereavement support, disability, etc.
  • Do you have short or long-term goals and don’t know where to start?

Drop in on Thursday afternoons from 1-4pm (last person seen at 3 pm), and meet with a social worker who might be able to help. Social workers can provide brief counselling, referrals to other supports, and assistance filling out forms and applications. This is a free service. No ID or proof of entertainment industry work is necessary. 

Any member of the entertainment community can call in or get in touch at any time for support during a tough time: 1-877-399-8392 |

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