IN 2007, I DIDN’T THINK ABOUT IT.

“The yes that
lingers in my soul.”

Financial assistance has helped people like Alex when they needed it most.

IN 2007, I DIDN’T THINK ABOUT IT.

“The yes that
lingers in my soul.”

Financial assistance has helped people like Alex when they needed it most.

“I wish I could remember who told me about MPTF, but for the life of me, I can’t,” laments Alex Aguilar, Jr., Local 724 member and Business Manager. “It was 2007 and the industry just shut down. My wife was pregnant, at home on bed rest. We had two toddlers… we were here (he motions with his hand up high), and then boom, we’re down here (moving his hand low).” He recounts the story with a tone of seriousness that anyone who has bills to pay, and people who depend on them, will understand.

A DIFFICULT TIME

Alex is quick to share his story when he hears of someone confronting a challenge in their life or when encouraging his Local brothers and sisters to volunteer. “MPTF helped me through a difficult time. We were right on the cusp of missing our house payment, and they helped us pay our mortgage, electricity, and water for two months. That got me through, got me back on my feet. I mean, we really needed that help. I didn’t have anywhere else to go.”

Your donation helps
others in need.

Your donation
helps others in need.

Now, nearly 14 years later, Alex, healthy and happy in his home with his wife and three children, is a powerful force for good at MPTF. He shares his story, inspires volunteers, and speaks from the heart. “I love what MPTF stands for. Whatever I can do to help, count me in.” Read on to learn more about the impact Financial Assistance has had on our community since 1921, as well as one of Alex’s most extraordinary volunteer projects. A story that will break your heart and fill it with hope, all at once.

“In 2016, Bryce Dallas Howard told my story at an MPTF event. She paid me a great honor. I think there were a lot of tears in the audience that night.”

– ALEX AGUILAR, JR.
THE NEED IS REAL

It’s often said we’re only one paycheck away from poverty. Take that reality, figure in a business that operates largely in the gig economy, and then add in the uncertainty of life, and all the things we don’t think of. MPTF is the safety net for our industry in times such as these. And we’ve been this support for 100 years. Here are just a few ways we’ve helped people over the years.

Relief: Intake form after intake form, going back to the formative years of MPTF, check the boxes “irregular employment” and “material relief given.”

The Need: Notes in the margin are a glimpse of the day: a character actress making $100 a week in 1936, a writer at MGM making a salary of $35 a week that same year, people experiencing job injuries from a physically demanding profession, confronting unexpected financial hardship, and everything in between.

Who We Help: The faces change, but the need will always remain. Here are a few job titles of those applying for help in the early days: vaudevillian, swing gang man, burlesque actor, wrangler, stunt man and ice skater, and organist. Today’s robotics engineers and digital colorists are no strangers to life’s challenges.

Please support MPTF’s good works
for the entertainment community.
We are 100% dedicated to you.

“Please support MPTF’s good works
for the entertainment community.
We are 100% dedicated to you.

LOCAL HEROES

“I’ve been in this union for 25 years. These folks are my friends.” Alex talks of recruiting volunteers: “It’s not that hard. You call people. You say, ‘Hey, this is for a great cause and this is what they did for me. I always share my story and the impact MPTF had on my life.’” He explains, “We’re all blessed, we all have great jobs, we make a lot of money, we live a nice life. Let’s go make an impact on someone else’s life who’s not experiencing all this greatness. When you say that to people, they’re like, ‘Let’s go! Where do we sign up?’”

Alex has helped with dozens of projects for industry members and has been instrumental in organizing teams to get it done. When asked for his favorite, there are many. But one, in particular, stands apart.

THE RIGHT THING TO DO

“We did a project for a seamstress, a single mother, this really gentle, quiet woman who was struggling with her daughter’s disability. With no ramp to the house, it was becoming more difficult for the woman to carry her growing daughter and her wheelchair to and from the car whenever they needed to go out. We put in a whole pathway and ramp to the front door. It took us about a day, maybe 15 of us. It was great.”

When the team was done and the ramp built, the woman took Alex aside and told him, “I didn’t think there was anybody left to help me. My entire family deserted me. I don’t even know you guys. And you guys are here.” Alex was quick to respond on behalf of the entire team, “We want to do this for you!” Her response was heartrending, the kind of sentiment that is hard-earned when she said, “You help me put my faith back in people.”

Alex explains part of his belief system: “To me, the whole union thing is about being there for your members and others. For the community, for folks who would never imagine that ‘the union is going to help me?!’ The way I see it, we have to lead by example. We‘ve done a lot. Helped some older folks. Installed grab-rails, walkways, and ramps for wheelchairs. I’m not gonna lie, there have been tears, but we have a really good time, and it’s just the right thing to do.”

“I’m a firm believer in ‘you gotta give back.’ You have to. You just have to.”

– ALEX AGUILAR, JR.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The Stacy Title Story
Helping a family in our community in tough times.

Homelessness Hurts
Homelessness can happen to anyone, even a successful editor.

Together, We Are Family
The story of a single mother, Michelle Lee, and her daughter.