Coronavirus Takes A Toll On Grants By The Film Academy

Coronavirus has taken a toll on philanthropy by Hollywood’s premier nonprofit, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

According to a person briefed on the matter, the Academy this week will begin posting notice that its FilmWatch and FilmCraft grants programs have been put on hold for the rest of the 2021 fiscal year, which ends June 30. The move comes as the group contends with a sharp drop in its operating gains in the last fiscal year, largely from a sharp decline in investment income, and braces for any further impact from a virus-driven delay in the Oscar ceremony until late April.

The Academy confirmed the suspension, but a spokesperson did not elaborate. Last summer, before the long-term nature of the pandemic was clear, the Academy made about $2.5 million in grants through the programs. So far, the group has avoided deep budget cuts, and has largely maintained its staff.

During the last fiscal year, the Academy’s increase in net assets fell by half, to $33.8 million from $67.8 million the year before. The group expects to resume its grants programs when the full impact of the pandemic has passed, the person briefed on the matter said.

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