Today on Sept. 26, we had the opportunity to interview Cyd Wilson, the Executive Director of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. Cyd gave us an exclusive preview of the SAG Foundation’s Second Annual New York Golf Classic, which will be held on this Monday, Sept. 29. The classic will take place at the Trump National Golf Club and is being hosted by actor Ron Perlman. Dane DeHaan, coach Jim Calhoun, Jace Alexander, Joe Grifasi, Stephanie Szostak, Haley Joel Osment and James McDaniel are a few of the notables expected to attend. Read on to learn more about the event.
Tell us about the work the SAG Foundation does.
Cyd Wilson: The SAG Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that provides vital financial and medical assistance and free educational programs to SAG-AFTRA performers. As well, the SAG Foundation serves the general public through its children’s literacy programs BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), where over 2,200 volunteer actors read to elementary students in Title I schools throughout the country every week, and StorylineOnline, its children’s literacy website where well-known actors read children’s books aloud reaching worldwide audiences.
Speak about having Ron Perlman on board as an ambassador and supporter.
Cyd Wilson: Ron Perlman is a committed Board Member of the SAG Foundation. Ron is an actor’s actor. He does all he personally can to give back to his fellow performers because he understands what it is to struggle as an actor. Currently he is busy promoting a book but still made time to serve as host our Second Annual New York Golf Classic. We couldn’t be more pleased he stepped up to the tee for us again.
How did the Golf Classic event come about?
Cyd Wilson: The New York Golf Classic followed the success of our Los Angeles Golf Classic. These tournaments raise critical funds for the SAG Foundation’s Catastrophic Health Fund and Emergency Assistance programs, both of which help working performers when they are struck with severe illness or economic hardship. The life of the actor can be a roller coaster when it comes to making ends meet and having the ability to weather a major illness or injury. What makes these fundraisers so special is that its really about actors helping their fellow actors. We like to say it’s, “Actors For Actors.”
Tell us more about the Catastrophic Health Fund and Assistance Programs that this event will benefit.
Cyd Wilson: These programs are part of the SAG Foundation’s mission to provide vital assistance to performers when they need it most. We are not a social service agency. We provide many career-based programs for working performers to help them hone their craft and increase their business skills. However, in times of crisis or urgent need, we provide an immediate bridge to help get performers to the other side. Or in times of tragedy when working performers are no longer able to work due to life-threatening illness or injury, we ensure their medical needs are taken care of. Some actors may think of us as a safety net, and others a springboard.
Perlman also has a memoir entitled “Easy Street (The Hard Way)” coming out on Sept. 30, which recounts his fascinating life and career and demonstrates the power of persistence. Fans of Perlman will appreciate the many great stories and insights he shares in this book.