NATO and Pioneers Assistance Fund Announce Movie Theater Worker Emergency Fund

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Pioneers Assistance Fund (PAF) are partnering to create an emergency fund for cinema workers affected by furloughs and layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic. An initial $2.4 million has been poured into the fund intended to provide financial assistance to movie theater employees facing economic hardship.

The grant program is Phase 1 of an eventual two-phase assistance program.  Phase 1 will provide a stipend to any theater workers who meet specific criteria. Phase 2 is being developed and will expand assistance to a larger group of people who work in the motion picture industry, in the event the current crisis continues for an extended period of time.

The basic eligibility requirement for the Pioneers Assistance Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grant (Phase 1) requires an individual to have worked in theatrical exhibition for a minimum of five (5) years.

NATO is encouraging all members of the motion picture industry to contribute to the fund. The trade body notes the economic stimulus’ CARES Act includes a provision that creates a universal charitable deduction for at least one year. The stimulus plan eliminates the 50 percent adjusted gross income limitation for charitable deductions from individuals and increased the Adjusted Gross Income limit for corporations from 10% to 25% of their taxable income for 2020.

Donations will support film industry members who are struggling to mitigate the personal and professional impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Cinema workers affected by the crisis can visit to apply for an emergency grant or to make a donation.