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

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In This Issue:

  • Message from the Executive Director
  • Launching The AFC's Career Resilience Initiative
  • Financial Wellness Videos Series
  • Vitality Monthly Giving Campaign
  • Stratford Festival's Guthrie Committee Donates $25,000 to The AFC
  • CSARN's Maintaining Creativity Conference

Message from the Executive Director

Dear ,

“Don’t give up.”

Our supporter Marilyn sent us a note yesterday along with a very kind donation. She closed her note with these words.

If there were to be a theme for our experience during this pandemic, that might be it.

As gig workers, many entertainment professionals are more vulnerable than those in other sectors to a sudden loss of income. Since the bottom dropped out of the entire industry in March, hundreds of our colleagues have turned to The AFC for help to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Government programs have been an essential component in the relief effort. But the need is greater than what these programs provide and The AFC has responded with $1.2 million (and counting) in emergency financial aid.

We are now seven months into the pandemic. Our goal remains what it was on day one: to help as many of our people as possible to get through this.

Many of our film & TV colleagues are now back to work but I’m hearing reports of sky-high levels of stress on sets. Meanwhile, live performance venues remain almost completely shuttered and most of our colleagues in theatre, music and dance are months away from a time when any significant amount of employment will be available for them.

We asked: “What can The AFC do now, beyond our short-term emergency financial aid program, to give our people the best chance to survive and recover from the personal and financial trauma caused by COVID-19?”

This month, we are responding by launching our Career Resilience initiative, releasing new content in our Financial Wellness Program and continuing work on our collaboration with our friends at Behind the Scenes on the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative.

Next month, we will be preparing the launch of our much-anticipated Maintaining Mental Wellness project, re-tooled to help meet the enormous mental health challenges that have surfaced during the pandemic.

Canada’s entertainment industry is nothing without the talented people who make the work you love. For it to bounce back from this disaster, we need to do all we can to ensure that our colleagues who are struggling now can hang on long enough and that they’ll still be there when this is over to continue to create the productions that mean so much to all of us.

“Don’t give up.” Thanks to you, Marilyn, and our family of community and industry supporters, The AFC certainly won’t.

David Hope
Executive Director

Launching The AFC's Career Resilience Initiative

We are so excited to be launching a new initiative with a focus on helping entertainment industry professionals work through the challenges the pandemic brought on to our jobs and careers.

Check out our new Career Resilience Resource Hub - a compilation of the programs, services, and resources that are currently available for employment support, apprenticeships, career transition, side hustles & entrepreneurship, and job searching.

Next month, we are running our Career Resilience Workshop Series with Mark Franklin of Career Cycles - registration is open now and spots are limited! Here are the workshops on offer:

All workshops are delivered on Zoom and are free to attend - sign up now!

Financial Wellness Video Series

We are thrilled to bring you the next batch of video content in our new financial wellness video series!

In the next two videos, opera singer and financial planner Chris Enns and The AFC’s senior program worker Christine Rossi-Wright talk about the reality of having to make tough financial decisions around such issues as debt, housing/home, making money and loss of employment/income in the middle of the pandemic. They will touch upon issues like decision fatigue, dealing with change, loss of identity and will discuss financial tools and professionals that can help with starting to understand tough and complex processes like consumer proposals, bankruptcy, mortgages/renting, and more. 

Watch Bracing for Impact: Making Tough Financial Decisions in the Middle of the Pandemic Part 1 and Part 2 on our Youtube Channel

Vitality Monthly Giving Campaign

Since the beginning of the pandemic, thousands of people in 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 month, we have launched our Vitality Monthly Giving Campaign. Monthly donations are a dependable source of support for the vulnerable members of the entertainment industry. They make a strong impact, reduce administrative costs, and are easy to track, ensuring that more of the donation goes where it’s needed most.

We hope you will consider becoming a monthly donor today by joining the Vitality Campaign!

Stratford Festival's Guthrie Committee Donates $25,000 to The AFC 

Stratford Festival has been a steadfast supporter of The AFC through audience collections, benefit performances, and company fundraising for decades. We are very grateful to the Guthrie Committee of the Stratford Festival for upholding this long-standing tradition and making a generous $25,000 donation to support the work The AFC is doing to help people in our industry through the pandemic.

Sean Arbuckle, one of Guthrie Committee’s Past Chairs, has talked to us about the committee’s decision to make a contribution to The AFC: “The Festival’s 2020 season was cruelly cut short in March due to the pandemic, before this year’s Guthrie Committee could even be elected. But the Committee’s “rainy day” fund still existed, and the Festival very much wanted to put that money to its best possible use. They asked a number of us who had formerly served as Chairs of the Committee to help them decide what to do with it.

"Despite our usual mission, we knew that it was not a year for whimsical awards; people were struggling with the sudden loss of basically an entire year’s income. Everyone was in need. What became obvious is that The AFC already had the structure and the capability to offer assistance to those in our profession most in need of help. Given that the Festival would be unable to do its usual benefit performances and fundraising for The AFC, it seemed that the best use of the funds would be to make a donation to The AFC to help its work.

"We at the Festival have traditionally been very lucky members of our profession (and we know it!) in terms of the length and relative security of our contract, which is why we are honoured every year to be able to use our platform to raise money for The AFC. Even in non-pandemic times, we know friends or family (or even past company members) who have relied on aid from The AFC, but this year has been hard on ALL of us. In the spirit of company and, in the larger sense, of “community,” we could not have been happier to make a donation that will hopefully help all of us in need. And we were really proud to be able to tell our extended Festival family that the way we found to celebrate “company” in 2020 was to make this donation because we are so grateful for the work that The AFC does for all of us.”

CSARN's Maintaining Creativity V Conference

CSARN invites all artists to their free annual conference. Maintaining Creativity V takes place online in November in three two-hour sessions. Hear keynote speaker Tom Jackson’s thoughts on The Economy of the Future: Knowledge and Love on November 16th.

Join a panel discussion on Disruption, Isolation, and the Healing Benefits of the Arts with Toronto comedian/writer Carolyn Bennett, art historian and Manitoba Senator Patricia Bovey, Newfoundland visual artist Marlene Creates, and Montreal singer Ranee Lee on November 23rd.

On November 30th, Chapter Three features a discussion on Creating in the Third Age with Alberta visual artist Patrick Close, Stratford actor/director Martha Henry, BC singer/writer Pauline Le Bel, Ontario musician David Mott, and Emily Urquhart, author of the new book The Age of Creativity. They will also announce the latest ‘unsung hero’ … the winner of the 2020 Visionary Artist Lifetime Award on the 30th. It’s all free but registration is required. Details at csarn.ca/conference.

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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