Annette Bening Addresses “Really Serious” Financial Situation Amid Strikes: “A Lot of People Losing Their Apartments Right Now”

Philanthropic organization Social Impact Fund celebrated its 10-year anniversary in Los Angeles on Tuesday night and, in typical charitable fashion, used the occasion to gift a $50,000 donation to the Entertainment Community Fund. Annette Bening, the new chair of the ECF, was on hand to accept the grant and get frank about the need for financial assistance as both the writers and actors strikes rage on.

Noting that the ECF (formerly known as the Actors Fund) has given out $4.8 million in grants for immediate needs to people in the industry since the WGA strike began in May, Bening told the crowd, “The situation is really serious out there for those of us in show business. There are a lot of people who are in dire financial conditions, so this fund that we have, this is one of the things that we do; it’s emergency cash and the average distribution is about $2,500. People can use it for whatever they need — rent, a lot of people losing their apartments right now, losing their houses.”

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Bening, who recently was featured on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter’s annual philanthropy issue for her work with ECF, noted that the fund “started out at about $200,000 per week to try to serve people, we’re now at $700,000 a week, trying to get it out there.” She also thanked those in attendance “because it’s kind of dark times in many ways, but then when you come to an event like this and you see all these people that just want to help and make the world better and do your part, it’s inspiring to me.”

The grant was presented by Social Impact Fund executive director Craig Cichy. The Social Impact Fund, which was recently named THR’s philanthropic organization of the year, is a fiscal sponsor that works with charities to alleviate the administrative burden of getting started, allowing them to operate under SIF’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt classification rather than filing for their own. Cardi B, Bradley Cooper, Kerry Washington, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Shawn Mendes, Lilly Singh and Lily Collins are among the many stars who have partnered with the fund on their charitable ventures.

When Cichy took the stage at the event — of which THR was a media sponsor — he remembered SIF’s first project, which was in collaboration with John Legend.

“Ten years later, the Social Impact Fund has received almost $80 million in charitable funds to support over 60 projects that are changing the world,” Cichy said. “The success of the Social Impact Fund is directly linked to the extraordinary programs we host, their passion for change and the impact they make.”

He added, “Over the past decade, we’ve positioned ourselves as behind the scenes, allowing our projects to be front and center to grow and to flourish — which is why tonight, this is kind of like our coming out.”

The celebration, held at Citizen News in Hollywood, featured food curated by chef Evan Funke of Mother Wolf, alongside specialty cocktails and music by DJ LaLa LAND. Guests — including VictimsFirst founder Anita Busch (who was also featured in the philanthropy issue), Talia and Armani Jackson, and TikTok star Rami Aly-Zein — had the opportunity to learn more about SIF’s work and to meet the organizations that SIF has supported.

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