Most of you know about the Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneer Fund. But you may not be aware of that organization’s Bernie Myerson Emergency Grant program. Individuals employed by a motion picture theater company and who have encountered short-term, emergency financial stress, can apply for assistance. Many victims of Hurricane Harvey, and now Irma, have encountered such situations.
What we have come to understand is the immediate need people have is money for rent and food. Most lost the food that was in their house (that they had stocked up on) and have been eating out. Many people have found a place to stay with family or a friend, however, they need food, toiletries, and clothing. They have been able to acquire a small supply of the mentioned items, from the relief programs, but not enough to last the entire month of September.
The Pioneers Assistance Program will offer immediate aid in the form of an emergency grant in amounts of $250, $500, or $1000, with the maximum to any one person is $1000. If the maximum amount is to be given, the majority of the need must be for rent (for most cases they will pay the rent directly). The fund is prepared to help 1,000 people with an immediate need grant. They assume the average grant will be $500 (the average rent is approximately $800).
FYI – the Pioneers Assistance Fund, in 2016, spent $780k, helping 210 people. The Texas crises, alone, could cost $500k, if 1,000 people need a grant of $500. Irma has already produced similar devastation in the Caribbean and is headed to Florida now. We will definitely need industry support to fund the program.
Thanks for listening. And let’s all keep our fellow theater personnel, and indeed all victims of these storms, in our thoughts and prayers.