The Denver Actors Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in June 2013, is a source of immediate relief when members of the Colorado theater community find themselves in situational medical need. The Denver Actors Fund offers both financial and volunteer assistance. In 2020, the DAF expanded its mission to provide emergency income replacement for artists affected by the COVID shutdown. The DAF has made $880,000 available to individual artists overall, and made $275,000 in 2020 alone in response to the pademic.
The Denver Actors Fund is a grassroots volunteer group that takes the old "telephone tree" concept of helping members of our community in medical need and responding in an immediate, organized way. It is intended to be a safety net to help families tackle financial problems in times of medical crisis. In addition to financial assistance with medical bills, DAF "Action Teams" have provided more than 250 hours of practical, neighborly services ranging from meal delivery to snow-shoveling to personal company.
In the summer of 2017, actor Abner Genece and his 11-year-old son were nearly killed on a Wyoming highway when they were rear-ended by a semi-truck going 60 mph. Their injuries have required multiple surgeries. Abner now has nine metal plates in his body supporting him. The Denver Actors Fund not only paid $10,859 toward his medical and dental bills, DAF volunteers provided ongoing practical help with everyday needs such as meals, cleaning and transportation. "Simply put, I would not be here without the Denver Actors Fund," he says.
Just 10 days after actor Daniel Langhoff and wife Rebecca Joseph welcomed their second daughter into the world, Daniel died of colon cancer. The Denver Actors Fund provided the family with about $14,000 in support during their battle, and about $75,000 after Daniel's death to help provide for the future well-being of his children. Before his death, Daniel said: "We live in a world where so many of us wish we could make a difference and to change the world in a positive way. The Denver Actors Fund actually does this with everything they do."
Actor Sue Thompson endured the terrible tragedy of a daughter dying when she was eight months pregnant. To add to her misery, Sue had to be induced and deliver the child. The experience left Sue and husband Tyler not only devastated, but with out-of-pocket hospital and doctor bills that added up to $4,944. The Denver Actors Fund paid for all of it. "When I was told the DAF wanted to pay for all of my medical debt, I was blown away," she said. "I had taken an extended leave from work, which was a huge financial burden. Knowing I no longer had to worry about the debt I had was the best news I have received in many months. I will be eternally grateful for the generosity of DAF and their many donors."
Actor and director Sheila Ivy Traister slipped on the ice and separated her shoulder, tore a hip ligament, blew out her knee and suffered a severe concussion that still affects her vision. In trying to pay her medical bills, she used up all her savings and retirement, and the Denver Actors Fund stepped in. "They helped me pay my mortgage, my food and my utility bills," she said. "When I received that check, I cried a lot of happy tears."