INTERIM MISSION STATEMENT
Prepared by the Plaintiffs’ Liaison Committee
in Consultation with Class Counsel
The settlement agreements in 19 age discrimination cases (the “Settlement”) create an organization known as the Fund for the Future (of “FFF”) to be shaped by the class members themselves to help older television writers seeking career opportunities. It is available only to members of the settlement classes in the TV Writers Cases. When the Fund is operative, after the settlement becomes effective, it will support creative writing projects for television and other media proposed by settlement class members, create social networking opportunities in the industry and help eligible class members meet emergency needs. It is a large and meaningful mission, circumscribed by the terms of the Settlement Agreements, and entrusted to a Board of Governors, with the initial oversight of the two trustees of the Qualified Settlement Fund in these cases.
As a practical matter, the Fund for the Future will function as a not-for-profit entity accountable to the Settlement Class. The Settlement Class members who have served on the Liaison Committee and helped develop the concept of the Fund have many ideas and will hone them as discussions continue. Within its legal parameters, the Fund’s role is multi-dimensional – as facilitator, inter-connector, promoter, funder, investor and lender. However, it is geared in all respects to promote the careers of older television writers. To fulfill that mission, the Board will create a presence in the arts and entertainment world for the Fund, its members and its works.
What will the Fund for the Future do?
The language of the Settlement Agreements sets the parameters for what the Fund for the Future can do, and it must operate within those parameters. The Settlement Agreements define three primary activities for the Fund:
a. Networking. The Fund for the Future may sponsor television writing industry networking events (e.g., screenings, readings, dinners, workshops). Participation in such events by any person or entity is completely voluntary.
b. Project Grants and Loans. The Fund for the Future may offer grants or loans to qualified Settlement Class Members to finance (or partially finance) the preparation, publicizing, marketing and dissemination of television or movie-format scripts, shorts, presentations, pilots, new media, internet or similar audio/visual works. The Fund for the Future may also sponsor or co-sponsor competitions open to Settlement Class Members, including awards, for such writing. Pursuant to its rules, and subject to availability of funds, the Board of Governors will make awards, grants or loans for such projects based on criteria to be developed. These will include, among other things, the merits of the proposal, as well as financial need and relevant WGA minimum scale payments.
c. Emergency Loans. The Fund for the Future will establish a mechanism to provide emergency social welfare loans (for, e.g., food, health, transportation, or shelter) to individual Settlement Class Members who meet financial necessity criteria approved by the Board of Governors. Grants or loans for this purpose shall be based on criteria including, but not limited to, financial need.
In this way, the FFF will “look after our own.” Although we cannot hope to meet all needs that arise, the FFF can respond to emergency situations. It can establish a working affiliation with a prestigious, experienced, and licensed financial entity to oversee the allocation of a portion of Fund monies as short or long term loans for class members at critical times in their lives. It can also explore ways to assist and advise settlement class members on solutions to financial problems relating to pensions and health insurance.
In addition to its primary activities, the Fund for the Future may pay for a study that explores ways to enhance Settlement Class Members’ access to medical insurance and/or financial resources to supplement pensions including but not limited to annuities. We will learn, to the best of our abilities, and with the best help we can get from government, financial institutions, and organizations that are aware and proactive in looking after older working people, what we can effectively and creatively do to promote the financial security of Settlement Class Members.
What will make the FFF a success?
The success of the FFF will be determined by Settlement Class Members themselves. While we will have a volunteer Board of Governors, two Trustees, Class Counsel, and a paid Executive Director, it is the work and wills and intellects of Settlement Class Members that will get things done. We need effective participants. We need imagination. We expect exemplary results. No one has ever done what the FFF is mandated to do. We’re just the people to do it.