The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation recently received an anonymous donation of $200,000 to its emergency assistance fund. 

The fund was established in April 2020 to help support union members through the pandemic and pay for necessities such as rent, health care, utilities and food. The anonymous gift brings the total amount raised to more than $550,000, which includes funds from SDC’S income relief fund. 

More than $200,000 has already been granted.

After the closure of the theaters in March 2020, unemployment for SDC members, which includes directors, choreographers and associates, stands at more than 90%, according to the union. About 80% of members who received health insurance coverage through the union plan will lose coverage on March 1, 2021. 

SDC has joined with other unions facing similar hardships, such as Actors’ Equity and Local 802, in advocating for 100% COBRA subsidy to cover members’ health insurance. 

With the new donation, individual grant amounts have increased to $750 from $500 for full members and the new opportunity for associate members to receive $300 grants. 

“This unexpected and incredibly generous gift, from an unknown ‘patron saint’ of directors and choreographers, will prove to be a lifesaver for many of our Members in the difficult months ahead,” said Mark Brokaw, president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. 

The emergency assistance fund was initially established through donations from SDC members  Marc Bruni, Rachel Chavkin, Michael Greif, Thomas Kail, Susan Stroman and Evan Yionoulis, as well as from producer Jeffrey Seller and his partner Josh Lehrer.