Actors' Equity Foundation Names New Officers
Longtime performer and beloved Actors' Equity Association Councilor Judith Rice (known throughout AEA, New York City and Broadway as simply "Judy") was named on January 10th, 2018 as the new President of the Actors' Equity Foundation.
The Foundation, besides recognizing talented individual actors in New York and Los Angeles with its eight annual performance awards, distributes grants to over 150 theaters nationwide and provides financial support to various agencies serving the arts community.
In an age of #MeToo and #TimesUp, Ms. Rice's appointment to this 56-year-old philanthropic and humanitarian non-profit organization - created to aid and assist members of the professional acting community and promote the theater arts - has shattered another glass ceiling. As Ms. Rice remarked at a recent Foundation awards ceremony: "I am the first woman to hold this position. That made me think of Mary McColl (AEA's Executive Director) and Kate Shindle (AEA's President) with great pride. We seem to have hit a trifecta here, ladies, and I'm delighted to be a part of it."
Ms. Rice, a member of AEA for nearly 47 years, in addition to being a long-time Councilor, serves on many union committees and ancillary boards. As an original member and current Trustee of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS , she has worked tirelessly for that organization, as well as serving as a Trustee of the Actors' Equity Staff Pension Plan. In a talk before presenting the Foundation's annual St. Clair Bayfield and Joe A. Callaway Awards on January 29th, Ms. Rice gave a bright, enthusiastic glimpse of the Foundation's future: "Although the Foundation is a completely separate entity from Equity, they are very much Joined At The hip in their efforts to better the lives of the Equity membership. Moving forward, the Foundation will focus additional efforts on the development and enhancement of the actor's professional life. This is a big change and an exciting one."
Ms. Rice, besides becoming the Foundation's first woman President, is also its first new President in twenty years. Previous Foundation President Arne Gundersen led the Foundation during that period, following the late Carl Harms. Mr. Gundersen, whose signature Foundation achievement was the Stephen J. Falat Basket Project, congratulated Ms. Rice: "Judy brings excellence in so many ways... charm, strength, leadership. I have no doubt she will do wonderful things for the Foundation!"
Also newly appointed is the Foundation's Vice President Tracey Knight Narang. A playwright, member of The Dramatists Guild, and The Theatre Communications Group, Ms. Narang is also a published author, a blogger, and has sat on many other Councils and Boards, including the Actors' Equity Foundation's Board of Directors. She is currently taking the CTI program for producers working in the commercial theater. Discussing her new position at the Foundation, Ms. Narang enthused: "It's an exciting time at the Foundation. I look forward to collaborating with Judy, and the board, to continue our mission in supporting the theater community at large."
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