The Actors Fund Helps Performers Through "The Home Campaign"
Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Joe Benincasa, President & CEO of The Actors Fund, to discuss the mission of The Actors Fund and how The Home Campaign will benefit thousands of people in the entertainment and performing arts industry.
"We're pleased be to joined by Joe Benincasa, President and CEO of an organization called The Actors Fund. Good to see you Joe. Oh, it's great to see you Steve. Describe the organization. Oh, it's the national human services organization for everyone in the performing arts and entertainment. The Actors Fund name is a little bit of a misnomer. Back in 1882, 136 years ago, everyone in show business was an actor. So we help stagehands, directors, writers, producers, on-air personalities, through a number of... there are 25 different services we provide. What do they need? Well you know, incomes are low for actors and other people working in the industry. So a dancer, an actor, on average will earn between twenty and thirty thousand dollars a year professionally. A year? Yeah. A year. All that talent? So they have a hard time qualifying for health insurance And you know, all of our services are focused on helping them, you know, have a decent life. And it's... How did you get into this? You know it was... I got into it because I'm a non-profit person. I was head of public relations for United Way of Tri-State, and then Miami. I worked... managed the board at the New York Blood Center, the largest blood center in the world in the 80s, and about 31 years ago you know, I was producing a lot of public service announcements. And friends like Colleen Dewhurst... gosh, Dick Kiley, they all asked me if I'd take a look at The Actors Fund to help reorganize and that was in 1988. Hmm. So I told my wife, "It's six months, it's volunteer assignment." [laughter] You know. "We'll see how it goes." And I got so excited about the organization, and so excited about the mission of the organization. You know, we provide services in four areas. It's direct financial assistance, a variety of social services, career development, helping people in the performing arts develop parallel or second careers. We help them with their health insurance and their healthcare. We operate housing and affordable housing. We own seven residences. We're very proud of the one in New Jersey. Is there one in Englewood? In Englewood, New Jersey. Describe that. It's a... we're finishing a thirty four million dollar expansion of that home, and it provides four levels of care for seniors. One is sub acute care, which is brand new for us, skilled nursing care, memory care, you know, and assisted living. It's on a beautiful six acre campus. Hmm. We're taking a look at a shot right over there. I see it. It's beautiful. Yeah I know. It's a gorgeous place. April 25th we're doing the ribbon-cutting. You've..."