Courtney B. Vance is now the president of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, and one thing he wants to do is make the group a better place to turn to for SAG-AFTRA actors who aren’t completely thriving.
Vance took over from the actress JoBeth Williams, who’s stepping down after a decade, and one of his roles will be to oversee the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization’s new Entertainment Industry Council.
The SAG-AFTRA Foundation, which benefits members of the separate SAG-AFTRA union, reportedly has about 160,000 members across the United States, and Vance will officially start his new role on Thursday at the union’s 4th annual Patron of the Artists Awards.
It’ll be held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California, where people like Ava DuVernay will be honored.
The veteran actor, who starred in films like “The Preacher’s Wife” and “The Mummy,” released a statement about some of the tasks he plans to focus on once taking over.
“There’s the union side to SAG-AFTRA, which handles the industry and negotiates health care and pensions. It is so necessary, but what happens to performers when they’re on the way up, or on the way down? Who is there for you?” he asked.
“When you start to hear about the cases of members in need, who have turned to our foundation and received this support, their lives change. And we want to keep changing lives,” added the actor.
Vance also said he wants to raise the visibility of the foundation and make it just as known as MusiCares, a nonprofit that provides various benefits for recording artists.
“Look at the Recording Academy and MusiCares. Everyone knows that MusiCares supports recording artists, and it does incredible work providing life support,” said Vance, who’s been married to the actress Angela Bassett for 22 years. “We’re moving to set that up, to help in all aspects of the performer’s life.”
Williams also released a statement about Vance’s new position, and she said the foundation is in good hands.
“We are proud to announce Courtney B. Vance is the new president of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation,” she stated. “He embodies our values of education and dedicated service to artists, and he is a remarkable role model.”
“Though it is bittersweet to step back from this role, I have every faith that Courtney will continue the foundation’s legacy and do the organization proud,” added Williams.