Thursday, August 11, 2022

















At an annual meeting held on July 26, the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund), the national human services organization for everyone in performing arts and entertainment, welcomed five new members to its Board of Trustees and reelected Tony Award-winning actor Brian Stokes Mitchell as Chair, his nineteenth term of serving in this role.


The new trustees will support the Entertainment Community Fund’s mission to continue to deliver and expand services nationwide:


·         Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator for SAG-AFTRA

·         Elliot Greene, Chief Operating Officer of the Shubert Organization

·         Sharon Karmazin, producer and philanthropist

·         Tyler Perry, award-winning writer, director, producer, producer and actor, and founder of Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta

·         Alvin Vincent, Jr., Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association


“We’re thrilled to welcome Duncan, Elliot, Sharon, Tyler, and Alvin as the first people joining our Board under our new name of the Entertainment Community Fund,” said Joseph Benincasa, President, and CEO of the Fund. “And with Stokes re-elected to lead as Chair, the life-changing work we’ve done for 140 years will continue to help the performing arts and entertainment community.”


In May 2022, the Entertainment Community Fund formally announced the new name of its organization in order to better reflect the broad scope of industry professionals they help. The Entertainment Community Fund has been 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. The organization provides holistic support to assist members of the entertainment community with the unique hardships of working in the industry and lifts them up when crises hit–like when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the entire performing arts and entertainment industry in March of 2020.


In 2020 and 2021, the organization served more than 60,000 individuals through a wide range of programs and services focusing on health and wellness, career and life, and financial wellness (a 68% increase over the preceding two non-pandemic years). Since March of 2020, the Fund has distributed more than $26.8 million in emergency financial assistance to some 17,900 individuals.


“It’s an honor to continue to serve as Chair of the Board of the Fund,” said Brian Stokes Mitchell. “I look forward to working with Duncan, Elliot, Sharon, Tyler, Alvin, and the rest of our Board and Councils to support performing arts and entertainment professionals throughout the country.”

The Board also created a new award, the Medal of Distinction, to recognize people in the performing arts and entertainment community who merit recognition for lives devoted to helping their colleagues. The first two recipients are John Bowab and Marty Wiviott. John is a director of television and stage and a producer with a 50-year career. Marty has been a professional stage manager, producer, and executive for more than 60 years. Together, John and Marty co-produced a popular series of lobby concerts at the Pantages Theater.

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



Duncan Crabtree-Ireland is the National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator of SAG-AFTRA. In this capacity, he oversees the world’s largest and most influential entertainment union, comprised of more than 160,000 members worldwide who work in film, television, broadcast news, commercials, music, video games, and more. Crabtree-Ireland has played a critical role in many of SAG-AFTRA’s signature achievements over the past two decades, both in his current role and prior to that as a long-time chief operating officer and general counsel. Notably, he was a key participant in the successful merger between SAG and AFTRA in 2012 and serves as the principal architect of SAG-AFTRA’s successful COVID safety response and return-to-work initiatives. Crabtree-Ireland is a strategic and creative lead negotiator and has personally led or overseen negotiations for SAG-AFTRA’s Commercials, Music, Network Code, and Netflix contracts, among others.


Crabtree-Ireland is bilingual in English and Spanish, and has been the lead negotiator for SAG-AFTRA’s contract with the Telemundo network for Spanish language productions since its inception, oversees the union’s bilingual initiative, and is a co-host of the SAG-AFTRA podcast en Español. Crabtree-Ireland formerly served as a criminal prosecutor for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office and has received numerous awards for his work and service throughout his career, including the Peggy Browning Award, the Corporate Counsel Award from the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Samuel L. Williams Outstanding Trustee Award, the Profiles in Diversity Award from the Association of Corporate Counsel and the California Minority Counsel Project, the Co-President’s Award from the Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Bar Association, and the Labor Counsel of the Year award from the Association of Media & Entertainment Counsel. In 2019, he received the SAG-AFTRA George Heller Memorial Award for extraordinary service to SAG-AFTRA and its members.


He is the chair of the board of trustees of the SAG-AFTRA & Industry Sound Recordings Distribution Fund, the co-chair of the board of trustees of the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund, a member of the boards of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan, SAG-Producers Pension Plan, the AFTRA Retirement Fund, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly known as The Actors Fund), and SoundExchange, and is a delegate to the International Federation of Actors where he serves as the convenor of its North America and English Speaking groups and co-convenor of its Global Diversity Working Group. He served as a longtime adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Law School. He is a past chair of the Conference of California Bar Associations, a past treasurer of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, a past co-president of the LGBTQ Bar Association of Los Angeles, and has served by appointment as a judge pro tem of the Los Angeles Superior Court.


Previously, Crabtree-Ireland served as Screen Actors Guild’s deputy national executive director. Crabtree-Ireland received his Bachelor of Science in foreign service with a concentration in international relations, law, and organization from Georgetown University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Davis, School of Law, where he was inducted into the Order of Barristers. Crabtree-Ireland lives in Los Angeles with his husband, John, and their five children.


Elliot H. Greene is the Chief Operating Officer of The Shubert Organization, which owns and operates 17 landmarked Broadway theaters and six off-Broadway venues. Founded in 1900, the company is actively involved in theater production in New York and around the world. Mr. Greene was recruited to join The Shubert Organization in 1976, in the position of Assistant Controller. He subsequently served as Controller, Vice President-Finance, Senior Vice President-Finance, Chief Financial Officer, and Executive Vice President prior to his 2019 promotion to Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Greene is a long-standing member of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee of The Broadway League and serves as Chair of its Finance Committee. He also serves as a Trustee on the Boards of numerous theatrical pension and welfare plans covering thousands of actors, musicians, and other constituencies. He served as a Commissioner and Vice Chairman on the Hoboken, New Jersey, Zoning Board of Adjustment. He had previously served as a Commissioner and Vice Chair on the Ringwood, New Jersey, Zoning Board of Adjustment and Commissioner and Chair on the Ringwood, New Jersey, Planning Board. Mr. Greene, who is a CPA (inactive), is a proud 1971 graduate of Rutgers College. He resides in Hoboken with his wife Janet.


Sharon Karmazin is a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer and a distinguished philanthropist. Sharon is returning to the Entertainment Community Fund Board for a second stint having served from 2014-2021. Her Broadway-producing career began 20 years ago with Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses based on Ovid’s myths. Since then, she has co-produced over 25 plays and musicals on and off Broadway, on tour, and in the West End and has been the recipient of five Tony Awards, most recently for The Inheritance and The Band’s Visit, as well as two Olivier Awards. Sharon is a longtime board officer of the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ, and an Emeritus member of the Rutgers University Foundation Board of Directors. She is the president of The Karma Foundation, family philanthropy.


Tyler Perry's inspirational journey from the hard streets of New Orleans to the heights of Hollywood's A-list is the stuff of American legend. Born into poverty and raised in a household scarred by abuse, Perry fought from a young age to find the strength, faith, and perseverance that would later form the foundations of his much-acclaimed plays, films, books, and shows.


It was a simple piece of advice from Oprah Winfrey that set Perry's career in motion. Encouraged to keep a diary of his daily thoughts and experiences, he began writing a series of soul-searching letters to himself. The letters, full of pain and in time, forgiveness, became a healing catharsis. His writing inspired a musical, I Know I've Been Changed, and in 1992, Perry gathered his life's savings in hopes of staging it for sold-out crowds. He spent all the money but the people never came, and Perry once again came face to face with the poverty that had plagued his youth. He spent months sleeping in seedy motels and in his car but his faith—in God and, in turn, himself—only got stronger. He forged a powerful relationship with the church and kept writing. In 1998 his perseverance paid off and a promoter booked I Know I've Been Changed for a limited run at a local church-turned-theater. This time, the community came out in droves, and soon the musical moved to Atlanta's prestigious Fox Theatre. Tyler Perry never looked back.


And so began an incredible run of 13 plays in as many years, including Woman Thou Art Loosed!, a celebrated collaboration with the prominent Dallas pastor T.D. Jakes. In the year 2000, I Can Do Bad All By Myself marked the first appearance of the now-legendary Madea. The God-fearing, gun-toting, pot-smoking, loud-mouthed grandmother, Madea, was played by Perry himself. Madea was such a resounding success, she soon spawned a series of plays—Madea's Family Reunion (2002), Madea's Class Reunion (2003), Madea Goes To Jail (2005)—and set the stage for Perry’s jump to the big screen.  In 2015 Perry returned to the stage, performing his new original play, Madea on the Run, to sold-out audiences across the United States.


In early 2005, Perry's first feature film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, debuted at number one nationwide. His ensuing Madea films, including Madea's Family Reunion, Daddy's Little Girls, Why Did I Get Married?, Meet The Browns, The Family That Preys, I Can Do Bad All by Myself, Why Did I Get Married Too?, For Colored Girls, Madea's Big, Happy Family, Good Deeds, Madea's Witness Protection, A Madea Christmas, Boo! and Boo! 2 A Madea Halloween, and A Madea Family Funeral have all been met with massive commercial success, delighting audiences across America and around the world. He also starred in the Rob Cohen-directed Alex Cross and helped release Academy Award-nominated Precious, a movie based on the novel Push by Sapphire, in conjunction with his 34th Street Films banner, Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films, and Lionsgate.


2006 saw the publication of Perry's first book, Don't Make A Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries On Life And Love, which shot to the top of the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list and remained there for eight weeks. It went on to claim Quill Book Awards for both "Humor" and "Book of the Year" (an unheard-of feat for a first-time author), and spread Tyler Perry's unique brand of inspirational entertainment to a devoted new audience. It is a brand that quickly became an empire. In 2007, Perry expanded his reach to television with the TBS series House of Payne, the highest-rated first-run syndicated cable show of all time, which went into syndication after only a year. His follow-up effort, Meet the Browns, was the second highest debut ever on cable—after House of Payne. In late 2012, Perry teamed up with Oprah Winfrey in an exclusive deal to bring scripted programming to her cable network, OWN, and launched the half-hour sitcom, Love Thy Neighbor, and the hour-long drama, The Haves and The Have Nots, which made its debut in 2013 and has continued to break ratings on the network. In August 2016, Perry debuted a new drama series called Too Close to Home on TLC, the network’s first scripted series. OWN premiered a House of Payne spinoff series, The Paynes, on the network in 2018. It was announced in July 2017 that Perry signed a multi-year content partnership with Viacom, to produce original drama and comedy series across the Viacom networks, in addition to having a first-look feature film deal with Paramount Pictures group. Since the partnership began, Perry has released The Oval, Sistas, Ruthless, and Bruh with BET/BET+, and recently announced the revival of House of Payne, which will also premiere on BET. He also premiered his hit Madea’s Farewell Play on BET+. Tyler now has 17 shows, 25 feature films, and over 1,500 episodes of television on his resume.


In the fall of 2008, Perry opened his 200,000-square-foot Studio in Atlanta, situated on the former Delta Airlines campus in the Greenbriar area of southwest Atlanta. During the course of its operation, the space was home to the production of over 15 films and over 800 episodes of Perry’s five television series. Not one to rest on success, Tyler Perry and his Atlanta-based employees have been hard at work on films including Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, among many others. 


In March 2019, Perry released his next movie with Lionsgate, A Madea Family Funeral, which brought his popular character back to the big screen for her final moment and garnered over $74 million at the global box office. Perry’s film, A Fall from Grace, premiered on Netflix in January 2020, where an impressive 39 million people chose to watch the movie in its first month of being on the platform. In 2021, Perry had a pivotal role in Taylor Sheridan’s American Western thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead opposite Angelina Jolie, Jon Bernthal, and Nicholas Hoult, in addition to playing the role of the morning show host, Jack Bremmer, in Adam McKay’s Netflix feature film, Don’t Look Up, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, and Cate Blanchett. He also lent his voice to Paramount’s Paw Patrol: The Movie, which was released in Summer 2021. 


Perry took his iconic Madea character, whose franchise has grossed over $1 billion at the box office, to Netflix with a 12th movie, A Madea Homecoming. The film premiered on Netflix in early 2022. In the Fall of 2022, Perry and Netflix will release A Jazzman’s Blues, which is Perry’s longtime passion project that he originally wrote in 1995. Perry will write, direct and produce the film, which follows an investigation into an unsolved murder that unveils a story full of forbidden love, deceit, and a secret that has been held for 40 years. 


In 2020 Tyler once again made history by being one of the first filmmakers to get back to work during the historic 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. He found a safe way to get his cast and crew back to production by coming up with an extensive and safe plan to return to production, by creating “Camp Quarantine” on the lot. In under two months, he was able to complete full seasons of television for four of his BET/BET+ television series. As the pandemic bled into 2021, he collaborated with BET for an exclusive news special, COVID-19 Vaccine, and the Black Community A Tyler Perry Special, which premiered in January 2021 on BET and BET Her. In the half-hour special, he sat down with top medical experts Carlos del Rio, MD Executive Associate Dean, Emory School of Medicine at Grady Health System, and Kimberly Dyan Manning, MD Professor of Medicine at Grady Health System, to address the public's concerns and fears about the COVID-19 vaccine. 


Listen to Tyler and you'll hear a man who hasn't forgotten about the people who have helped him reach the top of a mountain he could once only dream of climbing. Research into his history of philanthropic acts, and you’ll find that Tyler gives from a personal place, aiding people and charities that help others overcome the obstacles that he, too, once faced. And on a grand scale. He has been intimately involved and donated generously to civil rights causes through work with the NAACP and NAN. He also strongly supports charities that focus on helping the homeless, such as Global Medical Relief Fund, Charity Water, Feeding America, Covenant House, Hosea Feed the Hungry, Project Adventure, and Perry Place—a 20-home community that Perry built for survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. In January 2010, Perry pledged $1,000,000 via The Tyler Perry Foundation to help rebuild the lives of those affected by the earthquakes in Haiti and another $1,000,000 in 2017 to help Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas. After Hurricane Maria, he personally sent a plane full of supplies to Puerto Rico and ensured the return was filled with a group of survivors. Perry did so again in September 2019 to help victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. 


During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Tyler once again stepped in to help those in need, including purchasing groceries for the elderly in Georgia and Louisiana, purchasing grocery store gift cards for police to hand out to Atlanta communities in need, covering travel expenses for George Floyd’s family for his funerals, donating $100K to the legal defense fund of Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, and paying for funeral expenses for Rayshard Brooks and Secoriea Turner, a young girl killed in Atlanta. Mr. Perry also hosted a 2020 Thanksgiving food-giving event at his Atlanta studio that fed 5,000 families. 


The summer of 2020 proved to be extremely difficult for Americans as the COVID-19 pandemic was met with another national crisis—racial injustice. Following the death of George Floyd, like many people, Tyler Perry was exhausted from the senseless violence, hate, and division continuing to plague the United States. He spoke out in a video essay, featured exclusively on the cover of People Magazine, that lasted eight minutes and forty-eight seconds—the exact length of time former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin used a knee to pin Floyd by the neck as he died. This very personal video included Mr. Perry’s own experiences with racism, and his conversations with his own son about racism in America and ended with a call to action to never give up hope. 


Tyler’s work has been recognized with many esteemed awards in his career, including DGA Honors by the Directors Guild of America, the Chairman’s Award at the NAACP Image Awards, Favorite Humanitarian Award, and People’s Champion’s Award at the People’s Choice Awards, Ultimate Icon Award at the BET Awards, and the Governor's Award at the 2020 Emmys. Most recently, he received an Honorary Oscar at the 93rd Academy Awards in April 2021 as the recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.


Tyler Perry practices what he preaches, and what he preaches has endeared him to millions of fans drawn by that unique blend of spiritual hope and down-home humor that continues to shape his inspiring life story and extraordinary body of work.


Alvin Vincent, Jr. is the Actors' Equity Association's Executive Director. Appointed executive director in 2022, Vincent oversees the collective bargaining process for more than 40 national and regional contracts and supervises Equity's professional staff nationwide. He works closely with Equity's council, the union's governing body, to develop and implement national policy, establish goals and work with the staff to carry out Equity's strategic plan. He is the union's representative and lead spokesperson with the media, labor, bargaining partners, and government officials. Vincent is from a multi-generation union family and has dedicated his career to the labor movement. He first joined the United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW) union as an A&P employee in 1986, joined the staff in 1990 and rose through the ranks of union leadership. Prior to joining Equity, Vincent was the international vice president and mid-Atlantic region director for the UFCW. He is particularly skilled at strategies for sustainable change and growing and managing staff to execute ambitious visions for worker and social justice. 


Vincent is dedicated to many causes outside of his work in the labor movement. Notably, he founded and chaired Empower PAC, a non-partisan political action committee that supports candidates and campaigns that benefit progressive causes and working families. He also served on the board of directors for the Keystone Research Center for Public Policy, the Philadelphia chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Uplift Solutions, a public-private partnership that has brought 25 million servings of healthy and high-quality food to urban food desserts. Vincent holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore. Vincent and his family split their time between Washington, D.C., and New York City. 

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 resilience and be a safety net for those who shape our country’s cultural vibrancy. Learn more at


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