The AFC Newsletter: August 2020 View this email in your browser.


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In This Issue:

  • Message from the Executive Director
  • COVID-19 Virtual Donor Wall
  • Big Swing 2020: Gold Sponsor Spotlight
  • Last Chance for Big Swing 2020 Raffle Tickets
  • PAL Stratford's Expect the Extraordinary Fundraiser
  • Rendezvous with Madness Festival

Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

One. Million. Dollars. We have sent $1 million in direct financial assistance to entertainment industry members affected by COVID-19 in just over four months.

In the past few months, thousands of people from within the industry and beyond have found their way to us. They have reached out to seek help for themselves or someone they know, to donate, to help spread the word, and to offer support. This proves what we knew all along: The AFC is vital and worthy of the trust the community has placed in us to help convey as many people as possible to the other side of this chasm.

Before 2020, the most emergency financial aid we had ever granted over an entire year was $700,000. In the first month after the industry shut down in March, we received more than three times the number of appeals for help than we would typically receive in a year. That we have now reached $1,000,000 in emergency financial aid grants over just four months is something we had never imagined.

Our Program Manager Leah Erbe says: "Luckily, we have put a lot of work into expanding our team and developing new ways to serve our community. This allowed us to react swiftly and get more done since March than I thought possible in a year. It has helped us provide a lifeline of practical support and genuine human connection to hundreds of people when they felt at their most isolated."

One. Million. Dollars. A bewildering amount. To quote Leah again: "It's decades' worth of rent payments, and it's a pile of grocery baskets as high as the CN Tower, and it's filled prescriptions and gas tanks and phone bills paid. It's also hundreds and hundreds of our friends and colleagues who, I hope, felt the warmth of their own community's support, and felt just a bit steadier for a while."

Our work in response to the COVID-19 crisis reinforces our vital role in Canada's arts and entertainment ecosystem. Our concern is the human element: we support the people - on stage, on screen, or behind the scenes - who make the work that enriches our lives in so many ways. At all times, pandemic or not.

It's our privilege and honour to be doing such meaningful work right now. Every day, I am moved by the stories of how people pull together to support each other in this historic moment. We are so grateful that so many folks in the industry and beyond have rallied around The AFC. And The AFC, in turn, was there for so many in their darkest hours.

We couldn't do any of this work without the trust of the community we serve, the generous support of our industry partners, and many individuals and groups who have made donations or organized grassroots fundraisers. Thank you. You helped one million dollars happen.

It will be months before many of our people are back to work. Even as we surpass $1,000,000 in COVID-19 assistance, we know the emergency is far from over, for them or for us. We can't stop now, and we hope our community won't stop either.

Thank you for caring,

David Hope
Executive Director

COVID-19 Virtual Donor Wall

Our COVID-19 Virtual Donor Wall gets updated monthly - check out the names of the people, organizations, foundations, and groups who have donated to The AFC to support the many members of our community hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Please take a moment to scroll through to thank them for their contributions.

As always, we would like to thank every organization and every individual who has fundraised, offered to volunteer, shared information, tweeted and posted, protested, cared, and helped a friend or a stranger. THANK YOU.

Big Swing 2020: Gold Sponsor Spotlight

Canada Life is a leading insurance, wealth management and benefits provider focused on improving the financial, physical and mental well-being of Canadians. For more than 170 years, individuals, families and business owners across Canada have trusted Canada Life to provide sound guidance and deliver on the promises they’ve made.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life became one company – Canada Life, and today, they proudly serve more than 13 million customer relationships from coast to coast to coast.

We appreciate Canada Life’s continued commitment to supporting The AFC as a sponsor of Big Swing 2020 at the Gold Level. Canada Life’s strong connection to our community through their Canadian Entertainment Industry Retirement Plan (CEIRP) shows their dedication behind the scenes to help entertainment industry workers thrive centre stage. Thank you, Canada Life, for joining us in our mission to help Canadian arts and entertainment professionals maintain their health, dignity and ability to work.

Last Chance for Big Swing 2020 Raffle Tickets

We are just a few days away from our annual charity golf tournament and there is still time to snatch up some Big Swing 2020 raffle tickets! Get yours today to back a great cause and have a chance to win fabulous prizes, including:

  • Golf Town Gift Card
  • Best Buy Gift Card
  • Golf Foursome at the Lionhead Golf Course
  • Golf Foursome at the Royal Niagara Golf Course
  • Sony Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
  • Bose Headphones
  • A 43" Smart TV
  • The Keg Steakhouse & Bar Gift Card and more!

Raffle tickets are available for sale until Friday, August 28th at 12:00 noon only - don't miss out! The raffle draw will be on Saturday, August 29th during Big Swing Golf Tournament. Ticket purchasers do not need to attend the golf tournament to purchase raffle tickets or to be eligible to win.

PAL Stratford's Expect the Extraordinary Fundraiser

Expect the Extraordinary is PAL Stratford’s much-beloved annual fundraising event that has packed the Avon and Festival theatres over the last five years. Stratford Festival artists have been the hosts and curators of this much-anticipated show, with musical themes ranging from the Beatles to movie tunes to Leonard Cohen.

This year's event is called How the Light Gets in - an Evening of Hope, Healing and Inspiration and it takes place online on Monday, September 14 at 7:30 pm. Join past and present company members of the Stratford Festival in an evening of music, dance, spoken word and, song hosted by Rebecca Northan and Raoul Bhaneja. Thank you for supporting The AFC with this year's event!

For full details and tickets, go to

Rendezvous with Madness Festival

The Rendezvous with Madness Festival is the first and largest arts and mental health festival in the world and presents local, national and international work exploring themes of mental health and addiction issues. As community members are feeling the emotional effects of months of isolation, income precarity, and anxiety over their health and what the future holds, the Rendezvous With Madness Festival offers a unique opportunity to come together in reflection and discussion.

The Festival runs October 15-25, 2020 and showcases a range of features and short films from around the globe, as well as a full-building exhibition activation of the Workman Arts building at 651 Dufferin Street featuring visual, media and performance art installations. All tickets are PWYC and there will be both in-person and virtual options for engaging with the festival, so all patrons can enjoy the festival safely. Visit for details. 

The AFC is a charitable organization with a mission to help Canadian entertainment professionals maintain their health, dignity, and ability to work.

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