New ECF Survey Spotlights Pandemic Impact on Entertainment Industry Workers


( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Significant Challenges Brought on by the Pandemic Continue, Pertaining to Employment, Housing, Insurance, Mental Health, and More

ENSPIRE Contributor: Daniel Garritson

The Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund) is a national human services organization supporting the needs of those working in the entertainment and performing arts industry. They recently released the results of a new survey assessing the needs of the entertainment community three years after a national shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic that left tens of thousands of workers in the entertainment industry unemployed and uninsured.

Earlier this year, the organization had over 4,000 respondents to a survey sent to people who sought support from the Entertainment Community Fund during the pandemic. While results showed that the impact of COVID-19 has improved for many, approximately half of the respondents continue to experience significant challenges, including:

  • 50% of respondents are still having difficulty finding employment.
  • 63% of respondents have income that is lower than it was pre-pandemic
  • 64% of respondents who lost housing describe their housing condition as worse than pre-pandemic.
  • 55% of respondents who lost health insurance have worse health insurance as compared to pre-pandemic.
  • 63% of respondents whose mental health was weakened describe their mental health as worse as compared to pre-pandemic.

Respondents also said that the Fund services that were most helpful over the last three years were Career Center Services, Health Insurance Counseling, and Financial Wellness Programs. Respondents are most interested in the Fund’s emergency financial assistance, followed by Career Center services, the financial wellness program, health insurance counseling, housing/residences, and mental health/addiction and recovery services.

“The pandemic exposed almost overnight how vulnerable people in the entertainment industry are,” said Entertainment Community Fund CEO Joe Benincasa. “The programs and services we are providing help them navigate the everyday challenges of working in this industry, and also the extraordinary hardships still associated with the long tail of the pandemic.”

“The Entertainment Community Fund continues to provide much-needed resources to the performing arts industry as we face ripple effects from the pandemic,” said Fund Board Chair Brian Stokes Mitchell. “Our mission is to ensure that those across the country who are employed in the industry are supported and can thrive, even in the face of ongoing challenges.”

Since March 2020, the Entertainment Community Fund has provided almost $30 million to over 20,000 individuals. The assistance covers basic living expenses such as rent, groceries, medicine, or health insurance premiums. More information on the impact of the pandemic can be found in a 2021 survey they did of impacted workers here

Related Articles: Black Music Honors Awards Celebrates Black Music Excellence, DIAGEO Celebrates Those Who Refuse to Blend in with a Panel Discussion Hosted by Janet Mock featuring Jon Gray, Luke Lawal, Phillip Lim, and Yvonne Guidry