Big Screens. Big Hearts.

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While the movies may be open, theater workers all over the country continue to struggle rebuilding their lives after the devastation of 2020.

The Big Screens Big Hearts campaign aims to support the Will Rogers Pioneers Assistance Fund that provides financial aid and supportive counseling to individuals who work in theatrical exhibition, distribution and vendors exclusive to either sector, who are encountering an illness, accident or injury.

Your Donations At Work

From New York to Los Angeles, your donations go directly to positively impact the lives of theater workers and industry employees and veterans. Here are a few examples of your dollars at work within our communities.


Theater Manager Takes on Massive Debt to Pay for Wife’s Cancer Drug

Joe, a long-time theater manager in Boston, was kept on as an employee during the pandemic, but his income was reduced by 60%. His wife has been unable to work for the last two years due to her battle with cancer. She was on an autoimmune cancer medication for quite some time, but due to the pandemic there was a short supply of her medication and her doctor switched to a new one. The new drug was not covered by the couple’s health insurance. The Pioneers Assistance Fund is helping the couple offset the high cost of the medication while they continue to rebuild their lives.

Raleigh, NC. Nancy

Tornadoes Ravage Family Home Leaving Them with No Roof

Nancy, a theater manager in North Carolina was furloughed due to the pandemic and was living on reduced income. Two weeks later, a line of severe storms marched across North Carolina 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. Nancy’s home had significant damage, and the repair costs were beyond what she could afford with a reduced income. The home would be deemed inhabitable for her and her family unless major repairs were quickly made. The Pioneers Assistance Fund provided a grant to help with the repair costs and we continue to help Nancy and her family as they continue to rebuild their lives.

Albuquerque, NM, Marcos

Theater Employee becomes Single Foster Father to Siblings Facing Separation

Marcos, a theater employee in Albuquerque, worked a secondary job at a group home. In February of 2020 the group home closed, forcing the residents to be placed elsewhere. In an instant, Marcos became a single foster father to four siblings who were in danger of being separated. A month later, the pandemic hit and Marcos was placed on reduced hours and not eligible for unemployment. He had no choice but to relocate to another county with less expensive rent, making his commute to and from the theater twice as long. The hours spent commuting each week was putting a strain on Marcos and the children. The Pioneers Assistance Fund is helping Marcos and his new family relocate back to their original residence as they continue to rebuild their lives.

Phoenix, AZ. Gina

Long-time Theater Employee Suffers Medical Issue while Trying to Make Ends Meet

Gina has worked in the theater business for more than a decade and recently became an assistant manager. When the pandemic hit, she was placed on reduced hours and could no longer afford rent. Gina moved in with three roommates just to get by. In March she tried to apply for unemployment but was denied after she signed up to work for a grocery store delivery service. A few months later, Gina was diagnosed with a neurological disorder which forced her to quit her job since she could no longer drive. The Pioneers Assistance Fund is helping Gina navigate the unemployment and healthcare systems as well as ensuring she has a safe place to live during this time.


Between state shut-downs and stay-at-home orders, the movie industry suffered significantly in 2020. While movie theaters in many places have reopened, the devastating impact continues to affect these local businesses, their owners, and employees.


Any amount you can give helps theater works rebuild their lives through the Pioneers Assistance Fund programs. Click below to give today to help industry employees through financial hardships, injury, illness, accident and career training.


If you’ve already given and want to share this cause, or if you can’t give monetarily but still want to help, please consider downloading and sharing our mission on your social media platforms.

Click the links to the right to download assets for posts, videos and cover photos to spread our message and continue to help industry workers as they struggle through this difficult time.


Mothers, sons, grandfathers, friends, neighbors: local theater workers are more than the people who provide you popcorn and rip your tickets. Check out the Will Rogers Pioneers Assistance Fund in the news and learn about the positive impact of your donations.



Pioneers Assistance Fund Has Given $3 Million To Movie Theater Workers During Pandemic

November 24, 2020

Boxoffice Pro

Stepping Up: Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation Helps the Exhibition Community Make it Through COVID-19

April 24 2020

The Hollywood Reporter

Theater Owners, Will Rogers Foundation Create $2.4 Million Fund for Cinema Workers

March 30, 2020

Los Angeles Times

Not even the coronavirus puts Baby in the corner

April 21, 2020