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


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 In This Issue:

May 2019

Message from the Executive Director 
How people were helped: April 2019
Testimonial of the Month: Kristin Hoff
What do social workers do?
Big Swing 2019 is almost here!
Big Swing Sponsor Spotlight: Great-West Life
Volunteers needed for Big Swing 2019

Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Most people know us for our short-term Emergency Financial Aid program, which keeps the lights on and food on the table for hundreds of entertainment industry professionals in crisis every year. Demand for this program has stayed extremely high for the second year in a row, topping $700,000 in aid that prevented homelessness and helped our clients maintain their health, dignity and ability to work.

Our Financial Wellness and Personal Support and Advocacy programs are two ways in which we can help clients build a bridge from a time of crisis when they need the kind of short-term assistance our Emergency Financial Aid program provides to a point when they can begin working towards achieving longer term goals.

Our Personal Support and Advocacy services are provided by the social workers on our team. You can read about the valuable work they do and the difference they can make in the life of someone who’s really struggling with difficult challenges in this edition of the newsletter.

Of course, these services cost money. The Financial Wellness program is made possible through the generous support of Richard Rooney and Laura Dinner. But the $100,000 we will spend this year on the Personal Support and Advocacy Services comes from our general revenues that are funded by donations from supporters like you.

We’re working hard on all fronts to inform and engage you, our supporter, in helping us to increase our financial resources so we can continue to help your friends and colleagues in the business to not only bounce back from adversity and get back to doing great work but also to live and work more sustainably in the long-term.

There are many ways for you to help, including clicking here to donate right now.

But of all our fundraising methods, the one that needs the most promotion as we head into the busiest period of the year for film & TV production is our Reel Friends Plan for film & TV cast and crew. Reel Friends is an automatic payroll donation plan that starts when you’re working and stops when you’re not. Contributions only occur when you are working and can afford them. And payroll donations are small, so while you might not even notice them week to week, you can feel secure in knowing that your donations will have a big impact on our ability to provide life-changing assistance to the most vulnerable members of our industry.

Reel Friends is one of the best ways for you to support The AFC and if you plan to be on set this year, I urge you to consider enrolling in the Reel Friends Plan today. Simply click this link to enroll. Choose your start date, choose your end date and choose the percentage of your weekly pay that you want to have sent automatically to The AFC as a tax-deductible donation. By enrolling in the Reel Friends Plan you will know that, together with your community, you are working towards a better future for yourself and people you work with every day.

Thank you for caring,

David Hope
Executive Director

How people were helped: April 2019

In April 2019 your support helped us distribute $60,440.84 in emergency funding to entertainment professionals facing crisis situations. Here's how people were helped:

  • $32,783.48 to help keep a roof over people’s heads
  • $6,640.00 for groceries and other necessities
  • $1,820.80 to cover utilities
  • $3,974.30 for travel and transportation
  • $1,566.00 to keep the phone and internet connected
  • $10,820.90 for emergency dental and medical care
  • $2,835.36 to cover other expenses, like childcare, home care, union dues, moving, etc.

Testimonial of the Month: Kristin Hoff

It was such an encouragement to me to find out that there is an organization ready and happy to help. It made me feel much less vulnerable.

In August 2018, I hit my head quite hard and got a concussion. The injury to my brain was significant and I had rather severe symptoms for several months and milder symptoms for the better part of a year.

The AFC was incredibly helpful to me (and thus to my family) through their financial assistance. They covered two of our mortgage payments and also paid for several biodynamic osteopathy treatments that helped immensely to speed up the healing process.

Brain injuries are terrible; we use our brains for everything! Life just had to stop for me for several months. My symptoms were severe enough that I could not drive for several weeks, I could not be in front of a computer screen and I had to cancel a few singing contracts. My husband was working a lot to try to compensate, but we also had a one-year-old at home, so I was the primary caregiver for her at this time. That took everything out of me. It was a very discouraging and financially stressful time.

I only learned of The AFC at the time of my concussion. I had assumed that in being a self-employed artist, I am automatically alone and insecure in a situation of a health crisis. It was such an encouragement to me to find out that there is an organization ready and happy to help. It made me feel much less vulnerable.

Art brings life and joy and comfort in our world. But there is definitely a vulnerability and risk that comes with the terrain of pursuing this line of work. The more we have an infrastructure in place that can support Canadian artists, the more art will continue to flourish in our country and nourish our citizens and our overall cultural life. We need The AFC to continue to help provide this safety net to contribute to keeping the arts alive and well in Canada! 

What Do Social Workers Do?

Some of you probably know that The AFC has social workers on our team. They work directly with clients in our Emergency Financial Aid and Personal Support and Advocacy programs. But what do social workers do, exactly?

Think of social workers as a gateway to all sorts of supports and resources: widely known and accessible, or completely unfamiliar and quite difficult to access. Our social workers help individual members of the arts and entertainment industry access these supports directly at The AFC or from other government and community organizations through referrals and advocacy.

Most often our community members come to social workers when they are vulnerable. “We are able to support them and push for them in situations when they are not able to do it themselves or when they are not aware of the services that are available. We can advocate for them, with them, or help them become their own advocate. We are the connector to all things: we support people with multiple issues, look at their various intersecting environments and, basically, examine their lives. We help them navigate the system, which is notoriously difficult to navigate,” says The AFC’s Senior Program Worker Christine Rossi-Wright.

“One of our roles is to work together with clients to assess their situation and determine what kinds of support they and their families might need,” adds The AFC’s Case Manager Hayley Schmalz. “Together, we try to solve common human problems and tackle challenges that may be more specific to the entertainment industry and the creative lifestyle. We are often asked about free resources for people in our industry. Social workers at The AFC is one such free, confidential resource available to anyone in the entertainment industry.

Here are some of the things social workers can help with (not an exhaustive list and in no particular order):

  • Mental health support
  • Substance use counselling and assisting people who are considering change
  • Finding an appropriate rehab service
  • Assisting people fleeing domestic violence situations
  • Helping people in situations tied in with divorce and separation
  • Assisting people going through life changes – ageing, living with disability
  • Helping people work through housing problems
  • Referring people to specialized supports
  • Informing and educating people about the full spectrum of services and supports they can tap into

The list goes on! But most importantly, The AFC is a safe space which is not driven artistically or politically. Here, you can always fund support, know that you are not alone to work on your challenge and build a strong relationship with a social worker who will continue to be there whenever you reach out for help.

To talk to a social worker today call 1-877-399-8392 or 416-975-0304. One-on-one drop-in sessions are available every Thursday from 1-4 pm (pilot project, currently available in Toronto only.)

Big Swing 2019

Our annual charity golf tournament is almost here! 

There is still a little bit of time left to register for a fun day of golf in support of entertainment industry workers going through hard times. Register online today to secure your spot.

Co-presented with DGC Ontario, Big Swing is a well-loved annual event which brings our community together to raise crucial funds to support entertainment professionals when they are at their most vulnerable due to injury, illness or other personal hardship. Last year's tournament raised over $109,000 - let's top this result this year!

This year’s tournament will be held on Monday, June 17 at the Royal Ontario Golf Club - shotgun start is at 8 am. See you on the course!

Big Swing Sponsor Spotlight: Great-West Life 

Great-West Life is an established leader in the Canadian group benefits and group retirement services marketplaces. They serve the needs of more than 30,000 group benefit plan sponsors and their plan members and handle approximately 60 million group health and dental claims transactions for members and their dependents each year. Additionally, they administer over 17,500 group capital accumulation plans and over 1.5 million plan member accounts.

Great-West Life has long been driven by their mission to help Canadians achieve financial, physical and mental well-being. This perfectly aligns with The AFC’s work in supporting entertainment industry professionals when they need emergency financial aid, assistance with physical and mental health care, counselling support, and more.

We are very excited to once again welcome Great-West Life as a sponsor of Big Swing 2019 at the Gold Level. Great-West Life has a strong connection to our community through their Canadian Entertainment Industry Retirement Plan. We are very grateful for their continued commitment to supporting entertainment industry workers by coming on board as a major donor of Big Swing 2019.

In 2019, Great-West Life is coming together with London Life and Canada Life under one brand – the new Canada Life. Learn more at

Volunteer Call: Join Us at Big Swing 2019 

Are you passionate about the Canadian entertainment industry and interested in supporting the people who work in it? You can make a difference by volunteering for this year's Big Swing Charity Golf Tournament!

Big Swing 2019 will be held on June 17, 2019 at the Royal Ontario Golf Club. If you would like to volunteer for the tournament, please contact Gillian Stone at or by calling 416-975-0304.

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