The Will Rogers Pioneers Assistance Fund has launched “Big Screens Big Hearts,” a fundraising campaign to benefit movie theater workers, more than 100,000 of whom have been affected by theater closures during the pandemic. More than half of the closures were family or community owned and operated theaters, and many may never reopen.
“The Pioneers Assistance Fund’s Big Screens Big Hearts campaign wants to raise $1 million to support exhibitors and their employees who work tirelessly to make our movie-going experience special,” said Todd Vradenburg, executive director of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. “This fundraising goal would replace what we would normally raise at our annual Pioneer of the Year Dinner. While movie theaters may be open, theater workers all over the country are struggling to rebuild their lives. We value the critical role these individuals play in the film industry. Supporting Big Screens Big Hearts will help our workforce get back on their feet.”
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Watch a brief video introducing the campaign above.
“The Will Rogers Pioneers Assistance Fund wants to help exhibitors bring back furloughed employees and retain their dynamic and skilled workforce,” said Chris Aronson, president of film distribution at Paramount Pictures and chairman of the Pioneers Assistance Fund Committee. “These hard-working individuals matter to providing audiences with a magical movie-going experience. We are grateful for the motion picture industry’s support of our Covid-19 emergency grant program, which supplemented the federal relief package and helped workers weather the storm. Now that stimulus money is nearing an end, our Big Screens Big Hearts campaign will continue to support theater employees and their families as we embark on the road to recovery.”
In 2020, the Pioneers Assistance Fund distributed $3.5 Million in Covid-19 relief grants to more than 10,000 industry workers, with 98% of requests for help coming from theater workers. The board of the Pioneers Assistance Fund is comprised of studio film distribution presidents, exhibitor presidents and CEOs, and other senior leadership in the motion picture industry, all of whom support Big Screens Big Hearts.
Donations to Big Screens Big Hearts can be made here.
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