Beginning in 1939, a group of entertainment industry friends met regularly in social settings. As the organization grew, the members decided to broaden their purpose and in 1951 formed the Foundation of Motion Picture Pioneers (FMPP). The group established an assistance program (today known as the Pioneers Assistance Fund) that assisted motion picture industry members who were in need of financial aid and assistance. The stated goal of the program as drafted by its founders was as follows:
To establish a self-perpetuating fund to assist pioneers of the motion picture industry who find themselves in need; the assistance to consist of direct financial aid, medical care and temporary business subsistence during periods of unemployment to eligible applicants.
In 2002, the FMPP merged with the Will Rogers Memorial Fund to create the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. The merger created one of the greatest and most meaningful charities ever supported by the motion picture industry.
Today, the Pioneers Assistance Fund is the only industry program that provides both short-term and long-term assistance to veterans of the motion picture entertainment industry. The PAF financially assists individuals with medical treatments, health insurance, medical equipment needs, emergency grants and funeral expenses, among other needs. The Fund not only assists members with their immediate needs, but also identifies and supports the groundwork necessary for members’ ongoing success.
Industry veterans who fall on tough times should know that they have a ready and efficient source of aid in times of need, emergency and distress through the Pioneers Assistance Fund.
The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation also operates Brave Beginnings and the Will Rogers Institute.