2020 Pioneer Giving

Our biggest fundraiser, the 79th Pioneer of the Year Dinner, was scheduled to take place on October 7th. The time-honored annual event has brought our industry together for nearly eight decades and has become a treasured piece of our history. The Hollywood Reporter has called the Dinner, “one of the best industry events to attend.” While we were unable to host the Pioneer of the Year Dinner this year, our reason to celebrate the Pioneers Assistance Fund is bigger than ever before.

A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT

 Dear Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation supporter,

Our biggest fundraiser, the 79th Pioneer of the Year Dinner, was scheduled to take place on October 7th. The time-honored annual event has brought our industry together for nearly eight decades and has become a treasured piece of our history. The Hollywood Reporter has called the Dinner, “one of the best industry events to attend.” While we were unable to host the Pioneer of the Year Dinner this year, our reason to celebrate the Pioneers Assistance Fund is bigger than ever before.

The Pioneer Assistance Fund has been a safety net for industry members for over 80 years. The program has evolved over time and when it was created, we never expected that we would need to help people through annual natural disasters and now a global pandemic. During the early months of the shutdown, we provided a small lifeline to industry workers before a federal assistance program was established. Here is just one example of a thank you note we received:

I am a single mom and have worked for movie theaters for 21 years. Keeping afloat will be difficult, but somehow, we will find a way. I am extremely thankful for the grant you gave me, it’s nice to know there are people out there who care.

– Assistant Theater Manager in Ohio

The Pioneers Assistance Fund is the only charitable assistance program for people who work in exhibition, distribution or trade services exclusive to the sector. 

We cannot predict the future, but we are confident that many of the 9,000+ people we helped in the early months of the pandemic will need more help. Currently, a Phase II of the COVID-19 Emergency Grant is in operation and will stay available through 2020. 

You or your company have been a generous donor to the Pioneer of the Year event, but now your support is needed more than ever. Together, we can continue to help industry workers who are struggling to keep their heads above water. 

We understand what we are asking of you and your company at this time. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the industry charity during such a challenging time and ask you to stand with us to help industry workers. Thank you for your compassion, together we will get through this difficult time.

 Mark Christiansen, President

TOGETHER, WE’RE GRANTING HOPE.

In 2018, multiple hurricanes led the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation to send financial support to a then record number of 630 industry members. This year we have already assisted over 9,000. It’s been a busy year!

2020 COVID-19 Emergency Grant Client Stories
NORTH CAROLINA A ROOF OVER HER HEAD

A theater manager in North Carolina was furloughed from her theater due to the pandemic, and was living on a reduced income. A few weeks later, a line of severe storms marched across the state and in a matter of 24 hours, a total of 12 tornadoes touched down across the state. While the tornadoes were low grade, the damage left behind was anything but. This theater manager had significant damage to the roof of her home from the tornadoes, and the repair costs were beyond what she could afford with a reduced income. The Pioneers Assistance Fund provided a grant to help offset the costs to fix the roof of her home.

TEXAS CANCER BATTLE, INTERRUPTED

Earlier this year, after a Texas theater manager was furloughed from his job, his income was reduced by 50%. His wife, who has been unable to work for the last two years due to her battle with cancer, was on an autoimmune cancer medication for quite some time, but due to the pandemic there was a short supply of her medication. After her doctor switched to a new prescription, the new drug was not covered by the couple’s health insurance and the costs became unsustainable. The Pioneers Assistance Fund provided a grant to help pay for her cancer drug so she can continue her battle.

MINNESOTA HOMELESS BUT NOT HOPELESS

A longtime theater employee in Minneapolis was furloughed from his theater and began the arduous process of filing for unemployment. During the application process he was informed that he was ineligible for unemployment as he owed back payments from over a decade ago, of which he was unaware. The lack of assistance forced him to have to leave his apartment and he started couch surfing and sleeping in his car. A grant from the Pioneers Assistance Fund helped him afford basic living expenses so he could free up any available money to pay his car payment and avoid losing his car.

BE THE PIONEER OF CHANGE

THANK YOU for your continued support of our programs. To send a gift, please click the “Donate” button below. You can also send donations via check (payable to Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation) to Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, ATTN Pioneer Dinner, 6767 Forest Lawn Dr UNIT 303, Los Angeles, CA 90068. Your gift is tax deductible as allowed by law.