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New York, NY (June 15, 2023) – At the Annual Board meeting held yesterday, the Board of Trustees of the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund), voted Annette Bening as the new Chair of the Board. The Fund is a national human services organization for everyone in performing arts and entertainment.

The Board of the Entertainment Community Fund establishes policies for administering the programs and services of the organization, which has served the community since 1882. Bening joined the Board in 2010 and was appointed Vice Chair in 2016. She now steps into her new role as Chair of the Board, succeeding Brian Stokes Mitchell, who held the position of Chair since 2004.

Brian Stokes Mitchell will continue to serve the Fund as a Trustee and Chair of the newly-formed Leadership Council, a group of performing arts and entertainment community leaders comprised of former Trustees, Entertainment Community Fund Medal of Honor laureates and volunteer representatives who help to advance the organization’s work in communities across the country.

Under his leadership as Chair, Mitchell has led the Fund through several significant moments for the entertainment community. In 2020 and 2021 during the height of the COVID pandemic, the organization helped more than 60,000 individuals through a wide range of programs and services, including financial assistance, and focusing on the unique needs of performing arts and entertainment professionals at every stage of life. Since March of 2020, the Fund has distributed more than $30 million in emergency financial assistance to more than 20,000 individuals.

In May 2022, Mitchell announced the official renaming of the organization to the Entertainment Community Fund, reflecting the broad scope of industry professionals they help. In the same year, the Fund celebrated its milestone 140th anniversary. The Fund is the only organization, with reach from coast to coast, committed to helping all of those who work in entertainment and the performing arts, in every aspect over their lifespan and throughout the entire course of their careers.

Mitchell performed in a one-night-only benefit concert for The Fund in March 2023, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Ragtime. The concert drew a sold-out crowd and raised over $1 million in support of the Fund’s programs and services to help people in the performing arts and entertainment community. He also led the Fund throughout the 2007-2008 Writers’ Strike and the ongoing 2023 Writers’ Strike, offering critical support to all those affected via the Fund’s broad spectrum of programs, workshops, support groups, online resources and emergency financial assistance. In 2008, the Fund provided more than $1.6 million in emergency financial assistance to people impacted by the Strike.

Bening and Mitchell have also had many years of supporting the work of the Fund together. In Spring 2019, Bening and Stokes celebrated the ribbon cutting of The Friedman Pavilion at the Actors Fund Home, which marked the completion of a capital campaign project to rebuild, expand and preserve the Home to continue providing state of the art care for seniors in the industry.

In summer 2022, Bening spoke at the dedication ceremony for The Hollywood Arts Collective buildings—The Cicely Residential Building and The Rita Moreno Arts Building—where friends and supporters of the Fund gathered with Moreno and members of Cicely’s family to honor of both women and their contributions to the entertainment community. The Cicely Tyson Residential Building features 151 units of affordable housing and the new home for the Entertainment Community Fund Western Region Headquarters. The Rita Moreno Arts Building will be home to The Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Theater; LA Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE); a young filmmakers program targeting underserved, emerging talent in the neighborhood; and the Entertainment Community Fund’s Rosenthal Family Foundation Training Center.

“After over 10 years as a Trustee, I’m so proud to begin this new chapter with the Entertainment Community Fund as the next Board Chair; I’ve always said that the Fund doesn’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. I’m continually in awe of the Fund and the magnitude of work done to provide compassionate, understanding and prompt support for the entertainment industry. Congratulations to my dear friend Stokes on such an incredible tenure, and I can’t wait to see what we all accomplish together in the coming years,” said Bening.

Mitchell shared, “Where do I begin in reflecting upon my time as Chair at the Fund? It’s been an honor to serve my peers as we navigate a life in the arts doing what we love—even when doing what we love comes with challenges and uncertainty. Thanks to all of the amazing people at the Fund, I know that our community will continue to have a safety net of support whenever they need it. And as my friend—and former high school classmate!—Annette assumes the role of Chair, I know the Board and the Fund are in excellent hands.”

“It’s a gift to have such inspiring people as part of the Entertainment Community Fund family, serving on our Boards, Councils and Committees,” said Fund President and CEO Joe Benincasa. “And Annette and Stokes embody a deep commitment to not only the Fund, but also to the people we help every day, across the country and across the industry. They bring out the best in all of us and in their colleagues who serve with them. It’s been a privilege collaborating with Stokes for the past 19 years, and I’m honored to seek new heights of service in supporting a life in the arts with Annette as our Chair.”

For a full listing of the board, councils and committees of the Entertainment Community Fund, visit entertainmentcommunity.org/leadership.

The Entertainment Community Fund, formerly The Actors Fund, is a national human services organization that addresses the unique needs of people who work in performing arts and entertainment with services focused on health and wellness, career and life, and housing. Since 1882, the Fund has sought to ensure stability, encourage resiliency and be a safety net for those who shape our country’s cultural vibrancy. Learn more at entertainmentcommunity.org.

Annette Bening is a Tony Award and four-time Academy Award nominee, and two-time Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award winner. Most recently, she appeared in Jerry and Marge Go Large on Paramount+ opposite Bryan Cranston, as well as Death on the Nile, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. Upcoming projects include Nyad, directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, and Poolman, alongside Danny DeVito and directed by/co-starring Chris Pine.

Additional film credits include Hope Gap, The Report, Georgetown, Life Itself, The Seagull, Captain Marvel, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, 20th Century Women, Rules Don’t Apply, Danny Collins, The Search, The Face of Love, Ruby Sparks, Girl Most Likely, Ginger & Rosa, The Kids Are Alright, Mother and Child, Being Julia, American Beauty, In Dreams, The Siege, The American President, Mars Attacks!, Richard III, Love Affair, Bugsy, Regarding Henry, The Grifters, Guilty by Suspicion, Valmont, Postcards From The Edge and The Great Outdoors.

On stage, Bening was last seen in Jack O’Brian’s Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s classic All My Sons alongside Tracy Letts, for which she earned a Tony Award nomination. Previous stage credits include Public Theater’s 2014 Shakespeare in the Park production of King Lear; Ruth Draper Monologues at Geffen Playhouse; Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Mark Taper Forum; Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads at Tiffany Theater; Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler at Geffen Playhouse; and Medea at UCLA.

Bening also received a Tony Award nomination and won the Clarence Derwent Award for Outstanding Debut Performance of the Season for her role in Coastal Disturbances.

Bening graduated from San Francisco State University and trained at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco until she joined the acting company.

Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a career that spans Broadway, television, film, and concert appearances. He received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his star turn in Kiss Me, Kate, and in 2016 was awarded the prestigious Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award for his charitable work with the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund). An extremely versatile and in-demand singer, Stokes has performed at venues spanning jazz, opera, pops, country, and musical theater worlds, and his musical talent has extended to the present day as producer, arranger and orchestrator on his three solo albums.  His extensive screen credits include a 7-year stint on Trapper John, MD and have continued with memorable appearances on everything from PBS’ Great Performances to The Fresh Prince, Frasier, Glee, Jumping the Broom and his most recent recurring roles on Madam Secretary, Mr. Robot, The Path, Billions and The Good Fight, The Blacklist, Elementary and Bull. He is a co-founder of Black Theatre United, is on the board of Americans for the Arts and was the Chair of the Board of the Entertainment Community Fund from 2004-2023.