Actors Fund Reaches Mid-Point of Capital Campaign Expanding Senior Care Facility with the Shubert Pavilion
By: Ellis Nassour
The Lillian Booth Actors Fund Home, the assisted living and skilled nursing care facility for the performing arts and entertainment community, built with donations with hundreds of donors not to mention audiences who support the annual galas and Actors Fund performances, has celebrated a milestone: the opening of the Shubert Pavilion at the facility in Englewood, NJ (155-175 West Hudson Avenue). The event not only marked the mid-point of a capital campaign to rebuild, expand and preserve the Actors Fund Home but also doubles capacity for senior care.
“This dedication is another milestone for the Actors Fund as we build on our history of providing essential programs and services for all who work in the performing arts,” said Tony-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, chair of the Actors Fund, who hosted the ribbon-cutting.
The new three-story Pavilion, made possible by a lead gift from the Shubert Organization, with major additional support from the Walt Disney Company and the Mackintosh Foundation, houses a 25-bed sub-acute center (IV therapies, wound care, pain management, and hospice) for residents recovering from illness or surgery, In addition, there are 14 assisted living units. These are outfitted with kitchen, bath, and laundry facilities, and have accessible gardens.
“The Shubert Pavilion represents our commitment to the future of the Actors Fund Home, one of this industry’s finest institutions,” stated Philip J. Smith, chairman of the Shubert Organization. Shubert president Robert E. Wankel had high praise for Actors Fund Home’s administrator Jordan Strohl, his staff “who offer loving care to our friends and colleagues in residence,”
“The expansion and modernization of the Englewood facility allows us to serve more people, in more ways, with continued compassion and excellence,” states Actors Fund president and CEO Joseph P. Benincasa.
The facility includes a rehabilitation center with a gym for physical, occupational, and speech therapies.
The ultimate goal of the capital program will add 45 residential units. The project, set for completion by the end of next year, will incorporate new infrastructure and the renovation of over 30,000 square feet of existing resident space, The final phase will add a two-story building with a 20-bed memory care unit, seven assisted living units, a medical suite, arts studio, dining room, bistro, and the Memory Care Garden.
The non-profit Actors Fund was founded in 1882 and has gradually expanded into a national human services organization providing “a safety net for those in need, crisis, or transition.” Programs serve performers across the entertainment spectrum as well as those behind the scenes. Services include health care (rehabilitation and physical, occupational and speech, therapies), insurance counseling, housing [assisted living and skilled care], emergency financial assistance, and employment and training services.
In 1902, the Fund opened its first home in Staten Island. When the City needed the property to expand a park, the move was made in 1928 to the grounds of Wall Street financier Hetty Green’s Englewood home. Known during the Gilded Age as “the richest woman in America,” Miss Green’s business acumen far surpassed that of the era’s major male financiers.
Her mansion, on six wooded acres, was razed in 1959 and a modern facility erected in 1961. Expansion continued with wings named for 19th Century Shakespearean actor Edwin Forrest and the actress best-remembered for her role on the TV sit-com Gilligan’s Island Natalie Schafer, who left an endowment of $1.5-million. In 2003, the Home was named to honor philanthropist Lillian Booth, who donated $2-million. The Broadway community is among the entities providing major support for the Home. Numerous Broadway stars regularly entertain there. One of the annual events to honor donors is the celebration of the Bard’s birthday.
The Actors Fund Home is the recipient of U.S. News and World Report’s coveted “Best Nursing Homes in America” award, as well as the highest rating [five stars] from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. There are offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. To donate or for more information, visit www.actorsfund.org.