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The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Pioneers Assistance Fund (PAF) have set up an initial $2.4m fund to provide financial assistance to theatre employees in need of help during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The grant programme is the first in what will be two phases of assistance. Phase 1 will provide a stipend to any theatre workers who meet specific criteria. Phase 2 is being developed and will extend assistance to a larger group of people who work in the film industry, in the event that the crisis continues for an extended period.

Basic eligibility requirements for the Pioneers Assistance Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grant (Phase 1) is an individual must have worked in theatrical exhibition for a minimum of five years.

“We encourage all members of the motion picture industry who have the ability to make a much-needed contribution today,” NATO and PAF said in a statement. “Your donation will support film industry members who are struggling to mitigate the personal and professional impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Interested parties are asked to click here to apply for an emergency grant or to make a donation.

The $2.2tn economic stimulus CARES Act passed into law last week includes a provision that creates a universal charitable deduction for at least one year. The stimulus also eliminated the 50% adjusted gross income limitation for charitable deductions from individuals and increased the Adjusted Gross Income limit for corporations from 10% to 25% of their taxable income for 2020.