This year the LA/Orange County chapter of MCA-I has distributed close to $10,000 in cash, goods or services to help various members of the So Cal media community. “Starting in January we began utilizing our organization’s 501c3 Charity status to help raise money for needy members of the professional media community,” said Brian Page, chapter president and voice actor. “As you can see, we’ve been very successful in our first year.” The chapter has partnered with other local media organizations not only to raise money but disburse it as well.
“The chapter’s board of directors had been researching and planning this for a good bit of time,” said TV Producer-Director John Coleman, one of the people instrumental in implementing the charity initiative for the chapter. “But it really got under way in January when the VO Peeps approached us.”
The VO Peeps, a networking and educational organization for voice actors and performers was founded and is run by Anne Ganguzza, who also serves on the board of the MCA-I chapter in Orange County. “We had this need in the VO community to find a way to support talented people who’ve fallen on hard times. Because it’s such a competitive specialty, it seems that voice actors get hit harder when the economy slows down,” said the actress and voice coach. “So, MCA-I helped us create the VO Peeps MCA-I Career Scholarship Fund."
Ganguzza and her organization immediately started soliciting donations of cash, professional product and services that could make a positive difference to the careers of worthy voice actors. “Having MCA-I as a partner meant that donations could be tax-deductible. That made a huge difference. Without it, our fund would not exist,” Explained Ganguzza.
Meanwhile as the VO Peeps MCA-I Career Scholarship Fund was building it’s nest egg, the LA/OC chapter of MCA-I partnered with another local organization, the Professional Videographers Network (PVN) to raise money for the family of a beloved OC industry professional who died suddenly. Helping to put on a memorial service and using its charity status, the MCA-I chapter, together with PVN and the support of individuals from other organizations, were able to donate $2,000 to the family of Larry Goldsmith. Goldsmith had served on the board of MCA-I and PVN as well as the Media Alliance of OC.
Then, in May the VO Peeps MCA-I Career Scholarship Fund was able to award its first scholarships thanks to donations from VOICE 2012 owners James Alburger and Penny Abshire. Two or three deserving performers were able to attend the prestidgeous annual conference via scholarships totaling close to $1500—all thanks to the Fund.
The biggest single charity project of the year was created to help the family of an OC media professional get through an unusually difficult time. Named after a young mother and wife of a local VO artist who lost her battle with brain cancer early in the summer of 2012, the Sandra Swingler fund raised $5,000!
As with the Chapter’s previous charity efforts, donations of cash and in-kind products or services were solicited and given directly to MCA-I for tax deductibility. Ganguzza passed the hat at meetings, solicited nationally online, held raffles and more. According to MCA-I Chapter Treasurer, Film Producer, Art Kirsch, “MCA-I administered the money, provided oversight and assistance and wrote the award check on behalf of both organizations. The wonderful thing,” he explained, “is that we were able to do all these things with no overhead charges! That means every penny raised went to the beneficiaries!”
“All together, MCA-I raised and donated close to $10,000 to worthy individuals by year’s end,” said Walter Davis, the LA/OC Chapter’s President-elect. “When you add that on top of our annual MCA-I MediaProCamp, which we provide free to media pros, and add in our monthly meetings, the members of this chapter have accomplished an amazing amount!”
Anne Ganguzza added, “The generosity of the media community to support our own has been just amazing. And it’s been particularly gratifying to see all the different organizations work together under the leadership of MCAI’s LA/Orange County Chapter.”
Going forward, the VO Peeps MCA-I Career Scholarship Fund continues to accrue cash and in-kind product to help media professionals. They are actively seeking donations which will go to help people in need during the next year. Tell your friends that every dollar can make a difference and ask them to include this charitable effort in their holiday giving and beyond.