Film Academy Pledges $6 Million to Help Industry Workers Impacted by Virus Crisis

Oscar Statue at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - Getty-H 2019
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Contrary to popular opinion, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gives out more than just Oscars.

On Friday, Hollywood's most elite organization announced that it will be donating $6 million to "help support motion picture employees and their families facing severe financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with institutions focused on supporting diverse filmmakers."

Some $4 million of the donation will be split equally between The Actors Fund, which supports behind-the-scenes workers as well as performers, and the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF), which has offered essential relief to those in need since 1921. Both organizations provide immediate assistance to individuals working in the film industry during times of crisis.

The remaining $2 million will go to the already-established Academy Foundation to support its Grants Program, which aids in funding new and existing institutions that open pathways for storytellers from a wide range of diverse backgrounds, especially those from underserved communities.

"The Academy has a long history of supporting our colleagues, particularly during the most dire circumstances," said Academy president David Rubin. "As we face a pandemic, it's incumbent upon us to help those in the motion picture community who are suffering. The shutting down of productions, businesses and theaters has had devastating consequences. By contributing financially to The Actors Fund, MPTF and the Academy Foundation's wonderful grants program, we can help provide our extended family with desperately needed assistance."

Added Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, "The Academy's primary focus right now is helping our community make it through this unprecedented crisis. With our donation, The Actors Fund and MPTF can bring emergency services — including financial assistance, housing, family care and counseling — to more people. Both are longstanding safety net organizations with the expertise to mobilize and respond quickly. Additionally, the Academy Foundation's Grants Program will be able to continue its ongoing efforts to provide opportunity and funding for deserving, diverse storytellers in an even more effective way, and make sure these individuals feel supported during this time."

The donations come in the same week in which Bill Kramer, the director of the long-gestating Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, told The Hollywood Reporter that the Academy has raised approximately 97 percent of the cost of the $388 million pre-museum-opening fundraising goal, meaning it still needs to raise about $11.5 million. The museum's overall budget is $482 million.