Posted July 6, 2011
Equity Member, Family Members Awarded Union Plus Scholarships
Union Plus Provides $150,000 to Help Students from Union Families Achieve Their Dreams
Union Plus has awarded $150,000 in scholarships to 130 students representing 43 unions, including one Equity member and two Equity family members, in the 2011 Union Plus Scholarship Program.
"During a time when the labor movement is under attack, helping union members and their children achieve their educational goals is critical. This year's scholarship recipients appreciate that their unions provide family-sustaining benefits, a voice in the workplace and a path to achieve the American Dream," says Leslie Tolf, president of Union Privilege, the organization that provides an array of Union Plus benefits for union families, including the scholarship program.
Meet the 2011 Equity Honorees
"The actor's career is unpredictable and capricious, but I've always felt secure," says Evan Griffith. He gives credit for that feeling of security to having grown up in a household in which both parents are Equity members, with solid union benefits-including health insurance, which has helped care for his father during a protracted illness. Carrying forward his parents' legacy in the performing arts, Evan is a talented musician who founded an outreach group that performs in hospitals, shelters, senior homes and community centers. He is planning a dual major in music and psychology. "I am deeply aware of, and grateful for, the benefits that union membership has provided our family," he says.
More than 35 years as an Equity member have provided Jan Neuberger with a lifetime of lessons in how much union benefits matter. "I have some savings, I will be eligible for a pension in less than a decade, and," she says, "I have never been left stranded by an unscrupulous producer." Most of all, she adds, "I have always had health insurance," which isn't the case for many nonunion working families. She regards obtaining a degree as a way to give back some of the blessings she has enjoyed. Her degree in English and creative writing "will make me a rich and valuable resource for young people discovering the power of language, drama and the windows they provide onto the self," she says.
Culley Schultz is forever grateful for her father's union benefits which helped her and her sister through two serious illnesses when they were young. She remembers feeling a sense of pride as her father, a strike captain, carried her during the annual Labor Day Parade as he led the actors involved in the SAG/AFTRA Commercials strike in 2000. Today union consciousness and compassion help drive her to pursue a degree in social justice, with the goal of helping underserved people to unify and achieve their goals. "My family's involvement in our unions has taught me that the lofty ideals of social justice are nothing without strong organization, structure and solid, achievable goals," she says.
Learn More About the Union Plus Scholarship Program
Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school or a recognized technical or trade school. Since starting the program in 1991, Union Plus has awarded $3 million in educational funding to more than 2,100 union members, spouses and dependent children. Recipients are selected based on academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor.
In addition to the Union Plus Scholarships, the following benefits help union families afford higher education:
Visit UnionPlus.org/Education for applications and benefit eligibility.
Other programs include mortgage and finance benefits, safety net and insurance benefits and even money-saving offers on Goodyear tires, car rentals and AT&T wireless service. Union members can visit UnionPlus.org to find out which programs their unions offer.