Dwayne Johnson Makes Largest Single Donation to SAG Relief Fund
As the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes continue in Hollywood, star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has made the largest single donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, according to its president and executive director.
The SAG-AFTRA Foundation is a non-profit organization associated with, but not a part of, SAG-AFTRA. The Foundation aims to help provide financial relief to the union’s 160,000 members through the Emergency Financial Assistance Program.
When the SAG-AFTRA strike first became official, SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance and executive director Cyd Wilson sent a letter to 2,700 of the union’s highest-paid actors, explaining why donations to the Foundation could be of great benefit to those in need. According to the pair, Dwayne Johnson went up almost immediately.
“It was a love fest. It’s like, ‘Man, you’re stepping up in a way that lets other people know how much it really matters,” Vance said of his reaction to Johnson’s donation in an interview with Variety. “It’s what he’s saying, ‘In this moment, I’m here and I’m not going anywhere, whatever you need to do.’ And that sends a great message to others to do the same.”
Dwayne Johnson’s donation will help more than 7,000 SAG members
While Vance didn’t want to share the exact size of Johnson’s donation, Wilson said it was “the single largest donation” the Foundation has ever received. Foundation grants typically deliver up to $1,500 per individual member, but a lifetime member can receive up to $6,000 in extreme circumstances. According to Wilson, Johnson’s donation will help approximately 7,000 to 10,000 members in need of financial assistance services.
“This is the largest single donation we’ve ever received from one person at one time,” Wilson said. “And the amazing thing is that that same study is going to help thousands of actors keep food on their table, keep their kids safe, and keep their cars running.” And it’s not lost on me that he’s very humble about this, but it’s a way to get us started.”
Wilson compared the donation and charity to how the Foundation was working during the COVID-19 pandemic, and said that even with Johnson’s donation, there will be more work to do, as the organization could see the strike going “through the end of the year.”
“This is how we’ve done this during COVID — some of the biggest stars in our industry stepped up,” Wilson said. “For it to graduate like this it’s really going to give us a start on the money we need to make, because everything we’re hearing and seeing, we feel we need to be ready that this could go on through the end of the year. We need to be able to help these people in the long run. We have 160,000 SAG-AFTRA musicians and that’s a lot of people who are going to need our help. This donation is the kick-start we needed in the first week of what we think will be a long journey.”
Vance also praised the continued efforts of SAG-AFTRA leadership – including the union’s national president Fran Drescher – and again thanked Johnson for his help.
“I want to thank Dwayne for his generosity, compassion and initiative to step up in this important and meaningful way for our community. On behalf of the thousands who will be supported by his historic donation, thank you, thank you, thank you.”