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The Actors’ Equity Foundation

The Actors' Equity Foundation was originally created in 1962 and serves "the purpose of voluntarily aiding and assisting the members of the acting profession...and to promote the theatre arts." In 1961, when Paul Dullzell, second Executive Director of Actors' Equity Association, and then President of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America, died, he left a bequest to Actors' Equity Association in his will of monies to be used for the general welfare of actors. At that time, Equity itself could not accept such monies directly, being an unincorporated association. Consequently, the AEA Council, on December 4, 1962, approved the creation of a separate not-for-profit corporation called the "Actors' Equity Foundation." Angus Duncan, then Executive Director, Carl Harms, then Recording Secretary, and Edward Weston, Second Vice-President of the Association, signed the Foundation's certificate of incorporation. The Foundation then accepted the Paul Dullzell bequest and all others that have come its way since 1962.

The Foundation was guided for many years by Councillor Emeritus Carl Harms until his passing in 2005 and is presently governed by a Board of Directors, led by Arne Gundersen, President.

Two Different Funds
The Board is empowered to make grants from two distinct funds:

  • The Charitable Grants Fund - The use of these funds is very specific and only for welfare purposes. The types of grants from this fund typically go to:
    • The Actors Fund – for aid to actors and the maintenance of the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, NJ and the Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence on West 57th Street.
    • The Episcopal Actors Guild
    • The Stephen J. Falat Holiday Basket Project
    • Volunteer Physicians for the Arts

  • The General Fund - These funds may be used more generally for the overall enhancement of live theatre, such as grants to:
    • TOFT – The Theatre Archive at the Library at the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center
    • Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts
    • Actors Archival Project – to make archival tapes of actors’ lives that have been recorded by Carl Harms
    • Individual nonprofit theatres across the country

Labor Archives - For the maintenance of the Equity collection in the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University (the most complete and available scholarly collection of Equity’s 90-year history).


Members Can Help!
The Foundation has grown over the past 40 years as a result of estate bequests and individual donations. Would you like to be part of the work of this Foundation? This is a lasting and tangible way to help fellow performers and live theatre. If so, and for further information on making a bequest or donation, please contact Joan Glazer (212) 869-1242. Or, you may send a donation by check to: The Actors' Equity Foundation, c/o Arne Gundersen, President, 165 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036. All contributions are tax-deductible.

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