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The National Association of Theatre Owners and the Pioneers Assistance Fund have created an initial $2.4 million fund to provide financial assistance to movie theater employees who need help due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The organizations said Monday that the first part of the initiative is a grant program that will provide a stipend to any theater workers who meet specific criteria. The initiative’s second phase is being developed and will expand assistance to a larger group of people who work in the motion picture industry, in the event the current crisis continues for an extended period of time.

Basic eligibility requirements for the first phase — titled the Pioneers Assistance Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grant — calls for an individual to have worked in theatrical exhibition for a minimum of five years.

“We encourage all members of the motion picture industry who have the ability to make a much-needed contribution today,” NATO and the Pioneers Assistance Fund said in a joint statement. “Your donation will support film industry members who are struggling to mitigate the personal and professional impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.”

The organizations noted that the economic stimulus, the CARES Act, includes a provision that creates a universal charitable deduction for at least one year. The stimulus also eliminated the 50% adjusted gross income limitation for charitable deductions from individuals and increased the adjusted gross Income limit for corporations from 10% to 25% of their taxable income for 2020.

NATO represents the owners pf more than 33,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and more than 32,000 additional screens in 102 countries worldwide. The Pioneers Assistance Fund is part of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation and provides both short-term and long-term assistance to veterans of the motion picture entertainment industry.