In October 2007, ETC CEO Fred Foster issued a challenge to companies and individuals working in the entertainment industry: Donate to The ESTA Foundation’s Behind the Scenes fund, a program that provides financial assistance to entertainment technology professionals who are seriously ill or injured. ETC offered to match all donations to Behind the Scenes up to $50,000.
At LDI 2007 in Orlando, Behind the Scenes sold holiday cards and held a Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament to raise funds for the challenge. They also raffled off a custom Broadway Chopper motorcycle and high-dollar Visa gift cards.
The raffle winners were announced on November 18, the final day of LDI 2007:
Ken Udell from Audio Depot, Madison, Wisconsin
$2,500 Visa gift card:
Bill Belleveau, Middleton, Wisconsin
$1,000 Visa gift card:
Rob Hofkamp from Martin Audio, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Rick Rudolph, chair of the Behind the Scenes Committee, says, “The ETC Challenge Grant galvanized the industry to step forward and support Behind the Scenes both during LDI 2007 and the holiday season. We not only met, but also exceeded the challenge. This will allow us to continue making grants in 2008 while also building the endowment so we will be able to help our colleagues far into the future.”
In all, $57,963 was raised at the end of 2007, meaning that with ETC’s matched donation, Behind the Scenes amassed $107,963 for the fund. “The entire ETC family should feel very proud knowing they have made such a difference in people's lives,” continues Rudolph. “Just in the last few weeks of the year, we paid health insurance premiums for a stagehand who was recovering from surgery, aided a widow and her daughter, and prevented another family from being evicted. Thanks to ETC and those who met the challenge, these people gained new hope and some peace of mind during the holidays.”
Funds are available to anyone who has worked at least five years full time in the entertainment technology industry, whether they're on the road or in a rental shop; they're a TD or the head of R&D; they work in a theatre, cruise ship, or other related production venue. The funds may be used for medical expenses, funeral expenses, or basic living expenses.