SAG-AFTRA Foundation

aka SAG-AFTRA Foundation   |   Los Angeles, CA   |


The SAG-AFTRA Foundation provides vital assistance and educational programming to the professionals of SAG-AFTRA while serving the public at large through its signature children's literacy programs. Our programs reflect the concerns and interests of SAG-AFTRA members as well as their desire to give back to their communities. The SAG-AFTRA Foundation is independent from SAG-AFTRA but offers substantive services to performers, free of charge. The Foundation relies solely on the support from grants, corporate sponsorships, bequests and individual contributions to maintain our programs and create new ones.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Cyd Wilson

Main address

5757 Wilshire Blvd. Suite PH1

Los Angeles, CA 90036 USA

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NTEE code info

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (A12)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (T12)

Philanthropy / Charity / Voluntarism Promotion (General) (T50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Since 1985, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has actively supported SAG-AFTRA artists through the triumphs and struggles that are inherent to the pursuit of professional success in the performing arts. We provide training, education and other resources to help both new and veteran professionals refine their craft and we offer avenues of financial assistance when medical and personal crises strike. We understand that performing artists live and work in a rapidly changing entertainment media environment, and it is imperative that our actors, voiceover artists, broadcasters, dancers, and others understand evolving industry trends, are provided the tools necessary to navigate these changes successfully, and are given the opportunity to improve their skill sets throughout their careers. In addition, the Foundation promotes early reading development with our outward facing Storyline Online program, helping to cultivate the next generation of informed, imaginative, and empowered audiences.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Assistance Programs

Emergency Assistance programming serves as a crucial financial lifeline for eligible SAG-AFTRA artists and their dependents who are facing unexpected extreme hardship, helping them cover basic costs of living. In addition to short-term financial assistance, we also offer supportive case management services with a qualified, in-house social worker. Services include needs assessment, crisis intervention, counseling, and third-party referrals for additional food, housing, and disability support. The objective of our assistance programming is to provide performing artists with avenues of critical support as a first step in the process of achieving the ultimate goal of long-term stability, self-sufficiency, and financial independence. Additional assistance programs include:

Catastrophic Health Fund, providing eligible SAG-AFTRA artists and their dependents with assistance meeting extraordinary costs resulting from catastrophic illness or injury.

COBRA Assistance, short-term financial assistance to help cover COBRA premiums.

Disaster Relief Fund, distributing emergency financial aid to members of the SAG-AFTRA community who have been affected by natural disasters, including recent hurricanes and wild fires.

COVID-19 Relief Fund, introduced in March 2020 to address the urgent financial needs of performers severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with short-term assistance to help meet the costs of rent, medical bills, utilities, and groceries.

Scholarship Program, offering financial aid to members and their dependents who are pursuing higher education, a transition to employment in a related profession within the entertainment industry, or a complete change in career path.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Performer Programs: From audition technique to self-marketing strategies, career talks with esteemed actors to panel discussions with established directors, the Foundation's Performers Programs focus on the nuts and bolts of both performance and career to better prepare a robust talent pool for success in an ever-changing entertainment and media environment. The Foundation's Performers' Programs encourage performing artists to take charge of their careers, refine their performance abilities, learn new skills, and develop lifelong habits of self-focused professional development.

The Business presents speaker panels with Q&A's, as well as our Small Group Sessions series. The Business helps SAG-AFTRA artists learn to think as business professionals, as well as artists. Participants are introduced to strategies for self-managing their careers, learning marketing and financial concepts that empower them to operate as small business owners.

Casting Access offers critical insight into the casting process, providing SAG-AFTRA artists with cold reading experience in an intensive class setting. Participants receive feedback from respected industry casting professionals they may not otherwise have the opportunity to meet and learn from.

Computer Lab instruction provides SAG-AFTRA artists with access to professional-grade video and audio editing programs, writing software, and professional websites and industry trades, all of which are important self-marketing tools for a successul career in the performing arts. Classes are designed to help participants understand and become comfortable using these technologies.

Conversations offers programs with successful peers in film and television who explore the process and profession of acting with an audience of fellow performing artists. Programming formats historically include screenings followed by Q&A's with associated cast members, providing attendees with valuable information and advice on the working lives of actors.

On-Camera Lab facilities offer the opportunity to gain valuable experience in front of the camera and record high quality auditions. Staffed by trained engineers, the Labs provide quiet and dedicated space with professional lighting and camera equipment.
Voiceover Lab state-of-the-art recording facilities combine the professionalism and quality of a commercial studio with the innovation and focus of a classroom environment. SAG-AFTRA artists aquire skills for self-recording voice tracks, learning how to use industry standard audio software, and training with guest instructors representing fields across the voiceover arts, such as voicing animation, video games, commercials, and audiobook narration.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers
Children and youth

Storyline Online -- Literacy is an instrumental skill for achieving financial stability and intellectual enrichment, and it is essential for fostering the creativity of future generations of performing artists and audiences. The Foundation commits our outward-facing resources to promoting early reading development with Storyline Online, our children's literacy program. Storyline Online is a free online video library featuring acclaimed actors who volunteer their time to read children's books aloud alongside imaginatively produced illustrations, and is designed to build reading capacity at the K through 4 level. Episodes run between seven and 15 minutes, with each video focusing on themes of community spirit, honesty, perseverance, responsibility, kindness, and compassion for others, encouraging young readers to explore these concepts and identify commonalities in human experiences that on the surface may seem very different from their own. Supplemental curriculum developed by a credentialed elementary educator and aligned with English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core Standards accompany every video for use in the classroom, in hospitals, and at home. Storyline Online is viewed over ten million times per month, and was a recipient of the 2016 Parent's Choice Award, as well as a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2018. The American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of School Librarians endorse the program.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Artists and performers

Related Program

Performer Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

These metrics are for Performers Programs only, and do not include Assistance recipients and Storyline Online views.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

At the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, we believe that the bedrock of a thriving society is formed by cultural expression and artistic achievements, and that the contributions of performing artists are an essential part of our social framework. We foster the contributions of our actors, voiceover artists, broadcasters, dancers and others by providing them with emergency financial assistance and a wide range of professional development opportunities, because perfecting one’s craft is a lifelong pursuit. We also know that there are few support systems for performing artists, and that the limited opportunities available for professional development are often expensive, far exceeding the budgets of many performers. Consequently, we are committed to offering access to the resources, tools, and facilities available in our programs at no cost to SAG-AFTRA artists.

In addition, we help to cultivate the collective potential of the next generation of audiences, storytellers, and performing artists with our Storyline Online children's literacy development program.

Emergency Assistance programming was founded in 1985, and we continually streamline our programming structure based on 35 years of the Foundation's best practices, simultaneously collaborating with partner organizations when feasible to create effective aid packages for SAG-AFTRA artists. Structures for new or expanded assistance programs are often based on preexisting models, allowing us to implement programming on short notice to meet the unanticipated financial needs of recipients who have often been impacted by unforeseen events, including illness or injury, natural disasters, and public health emergencies.

Performers Programs are offered in our Los Angeles and New York facilities, periodically in other regions across the United States, and virtually. We design and present quality programming in a variety of formats, including in-person and virtual moderated panel discussions and highly interactive small group classes, as well as pre-recorded videos for online viewer access on the Foundation's YouTube channel. Maximizing programming caliber in part by cultivating and building upon strong relationships with the established entertainment industry professionals who take active roles as guest speakers and instructors in our programs is an ongoing priority. We also introduce new programming subjects in response to emerging trends and industry conditions affecting our community of performers. Both in-person and virtual attendance is closely tracked, and we survey participants on a quarterly basis. This longstanding practice produces valuable information we use to analyze the level of participant satisfaction, attendance rates, and the avenues through which SAG-AFTRA artists are learning about upcoming scheduled programs. Based on these evaluations, the Foundation is able to better understand the needs and concerns of our community at a given point in time, and we adapt our curriculum accordingly. Our social media platforms and our YouTube channel provide additional options for sharing feedback.

Storyline Online leverages the preponderance of technology both at school and at home to digitally reach as large an audience as possible. Our literacy content is available 24 hours a day for children, educators, parents, and other caretakers via the Storyline Online website (, Vimeo, SchoolTube, YouTube, and our mobile app for Apple, Android and Google devices. Given that actors are particularly gifted in the art of storytelling, our literacy development program draws on well-known artists in the SAG-AFTRA community who agree to donate their time to read aloud to children. Video views and downloads of supplemental curriculum are tracked to gauge use and interest.

Emergency Assistance programming is spearheaded by our dedicated in-house Emergency Assistance team, including our licensed social worker. The presence of this fulltime team allows us to provide short-term counseling and collaborate with recipients on individualized budgets, helping them to begin implementing plans based on personal accountability that encourage financial stability far beyond the immediate receipt of emergency financial assistance. Additionally, our long-term relationships with other organizations with similarly aligned missions enables us to periodically partner on both individual aid packages and broader initiatives for disbursement of assistance, resulting in efficient distribution of emergency funding to artists in need.

Performers Programs are available both in-person and virtually. In-person programming normally takes place in our permanent facilities in Los Angeles and New York, allowing us to provide these educational resources in the two US regions with the largest concentrations of SAG-AFTRA artists. Additionally, our in-house tech team works closely with our Performers Programs to provide programming virtually, expanding our reach to performers throughout the nation, those with mobility issues, and those who are not able to attend in-person programs because of scheduling conflicts. Our virtual programming also allows us to provide popular programs to larger audiences, because the number of attendees is not limited by physical capacity thresholds.

Storyline Online also benefits from our in-house tech staff, who ensure that the Storyline Online website and apps are updated and operational, and plan in advance for continued quality of delivery. We film Storyline Online videos with a trusted production team, helping to ensure the quality and professionalism of each video. Additionally, considering the priority often placed by successful performing artists on shaping a positive public image, the enthusiasm with which our storytellers participate in this programming underscores the value they identify in Storyline Online, consequently encouraging other SAG-AFTRA artists to read for future videos.

Our guiding principle of providing emergency assistance and a comprehensive roster of professional development opportunities that help improve our performers’ prospects for success remains unchanged. Regardless of the method of delivery, we are continuing to design and produce high quality programs that are responsive to current industry conditions and the evolving needs of SAG-AFTRA artists. Additional programming offered to reflect emerging production protocols for a pandemic and post-pandemic environment include classes that provide the skills needed for self-taping auditions, as well as techniques for mentally preparing for live virtual callbacks. We are also exploring opportunities to scale up programming, such as ensuring appropriate levels of staffing to facilitate both in person and virtual programs as well as pre-recorded video production.

Since 1985, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has granted over $26 million in assistance programs to thousands of SAG-AFTRA Artists in need, offered over 10,000 free educational classes to members of the performing arts community, and read to over 740 million children worldwide with our signature and award-winning children's literacy program, StorylineOnline.


SAG-AFTRA Foundation

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SAG-AFTRA Foundation

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Courtney B. Vance

Pamela Reed

Maureen Donnelly

Rebecca Damon

Dulé Hill

Bill Immerman

Stacey Mooradian

John McGuire

Nancy Sellers

David White

Eileen Willenborg

Sharon Lawrence

Clyde Kusatsu

Jack Speer

Gabrielle Carteris

Jason George

Jim Kerr

Martha Henderson

Arianna Ozzanto

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/17/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation