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Oprah, Meryl Streep and more have donated at least $1 million to help striking actors

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation has raised $15 million in the last three weeks for its emergency financial assistance fund, with some of Hollywood's biggest stars donating $1 million or more.

Those large donors include:

  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
  • George and Amal Clooney
  • Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
  • Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso
  • Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Julia Roberts
  • Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Meryl Streep
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • The SAG-AFTRA strike began on July 14.

    Actor and SAG-AFTRA Foundation President Courtney B. Vance said Wednesday the organization has received 30 times its usual amount of applications for the emergency fund, with 400 applications coming in last week alone.

    "I appealed to our community to remember how tough it was coming up, and the response to help their fellow performers has been incredible, immediate and heartwarming," he said.

    Johnson gave a "historic seven-figure donation," while Streep and George Clooney, who are members of the foundation's Actor's Council, have donated, made calls and sent emails as part of fundraising efforts, Vance said.

    "I remember my days as a waiter, cleaner, typist, even my time on the unemployment line," Streep said. "In this strike action, I am lucky to be able to support those who will struggle in a long action to sustain against Goliath."

    George Clooney said, "We stand ready to get back to the table and make a fair deal with the AMPTP. Until then, I'm proud to be able to support the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and my fellow actors who may be struggling in this historic moment."

    The SAG-AFTRA Foundation is a separate entity from SAG-AFTRA. The foundation's emergency fund helps cover eligible applicants' basic expenses, such as rent and mortgage, utilities, medical expenses and groceries. (Note: many NPR staffers are members of SAG-AFTRA, though broadcast journalists have a different contract than the Hollywood actors.)

    Other foundations have also been financially supporting striking actors and writers.

    Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane donated $1 million to the Entertainment Community Fund. The organization said it has raised more than $6.3 million since May 1; the Writer's Guild of America strike began on May 2.

    The fund has distributed nearly $3 million to over 1,500 people affected by the strikes, according to the organization. It is now giving out $400,000 to $500,000 a week, compared to an average of about $75,000 in the first half of 2023, it said.

    Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Ayana Archie
    [Copyright 2024 NPR]
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