Trustees of the Directors Guild Foundation have created the DGF COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to aid members facing financial crisis.
The fund will support members of the Directors Guild of America affected by the shutdowns with $1,000 financial relief grants. They will exist alongside the foundation’s longstanding, interest-free loan program that offers aid to members experiencing financial hardships and emergencies.
“The new fund is initially seeded with a $200,000 commitment from the DGF, and a $100,000 donation from the DGA,” the foundation said. “The Guild’s longtime banker, City National Bank, has also made a contribution. The Foundation is, and will continue to be, seeking donations from members and the greater entertainment community.”
The Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF) will administer the new initiative on behalf of the DGF. The announcement noted that DGF, DGA and MPTF for decades have had a close relationship, with the Foundation and Guild providing longstanding financial support to MPTF
“To our members: more help is on the way. As productions remain shut down for an undetermined length of time due to COVID-19, there are members starting to feel the financial strain,” said Directors Guild Foundation Chair Todd Holland. “This new fund will help ease some of that burden. We’ve also seen an outpouring of humanity from our DGA family asking how they can help. Giving to the Foundation is a way to help make an immediate impact.”
DGA President Thomas Schlamme said, “The Foundation has such a rich history of members helping members, and our Guild is so proud to support this important new Fund. In this time of crisis, the DGA is working on all fronts to aid our members – be it in our work with industry employers, with the government, or with the Foundation through this commitment. And in maintaining that tradition of members helping members, I encourage all DGA members who are fortunate enough to be able to help support the Foundation to donate.”
DGA members in good standing who were working on productions suspended in March, or had a commitment to begin work on a production suspended at that time, will be eligible to apply for a grant if they have less than $10,000 in liquid assets and they have a demonstrated need.
Schlamme and DGA National Executive Director Russell Hollander announced on March 25 that major studios will pay two weeks’ salary to below-the-line DGA members losing jobs due to the coronavirus shutdown. The duo also said the DGA Residuals department had worked around the clock and on weekends in advance of the “Stay at Home” order to fast-track thousands of residuals checks worth tens of millions of dollars.