SAG-AFTRA has raised more than $15 million from Hollywood’s highest-paid actors for an emergency financial assistance program for licensed artists facing financial hardship during the ongoing actors’ strike.
Donators of $1 million or more to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation include George Clooney, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman, Dwayne Johnson, and Nicole Kidman.
“Thanks to the support of some of Hollywood’s highest-earning stars, the foundation is preparing to bring help and hope to thousands of actors facing tremendous financial hardship,” said SAG-AFTRA Foundation President Courtney B. Vance , about the non-profit organization’s fundraising. goals to date in a statement.
Also contributing significant donations are Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Julia Roberts, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey.
An independent charity since 1985, the foundation offers relief aid to eligible SAG-AFTRA artists facing unexpected financial crises.
Vance added that the SAG-AFTRA Foundation is currently submitting more than 30 times as many requests for emergency aid, or about 400 requests in the last week, as actors try to weather the strike that has largely halted production in Hollywood.
Dwayne Johnson was the first to make a large donation to the non-profit organization and was quickly followed by George Clooney and Meryl Streep.
In a statement, Streep recalled her early financial struggles while trying to make it as an actress.
“I remember my days as a waitress, a cleaner, a typist, even my time on the unemployment line,” she said. “In this strike action, I am lucky to be able to support those who will fight a long action to hold their own against Goliath. We will stand strong together against these powerful corporations that are hell-bent on taking the humanity, the human dignity, even the humanness out of our profession. I am most proud of my fellow actors who immediately offered to fund the Emergency Financial Assistance Program.”
SAG-AFTRA members joined the striking Writers Guild of America union in July after they failed to reach an agreement with studios and streamers on a new contract.
“We have stood on the shoulders of the likes of Bette Davis and Jimmy Cagney and it is time for our generation to give something back,” Clooney added in his own statement. “I cannot thank Courtney enough for her determination to organize this effort by shedding light on the human cost that is occurring right now and how we can work together to alleviate some of the pain and suffering.”