Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater creates GoFundMe to raise funds for staff

Photo: @mrderrick_ via Twitter
By Matt Charnock - Published on January 11, 2021.

The Grand Lake Theater — Oakland’s historic cinema famous for its attention-grabbing marquee messages — has been closed since March. And now most of its crew has “run out of their unemployment benefits,” leading the historic theater to create a fundraiser to offer some financial support to its staff.

Much like most other movie houses in the Bay Area, the Grand Lake Theater has remained shuttered since March of 2020. (Though a select few theaters in the region, particularly those in Sonoma County, briefly opened movie theaters at reduced capabilities back in September of last year.) But while the theatre itself has managed to stay afloat, its employees continue financially sinking as both state and federal unemployment benefits wane.

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“While the theatre has the means to reopen, in all its glory, our staff is struggling during these unpredictable times,” reads text on the dedicated GoFundMePage, which was created by the assistant manager of the venue, Tegan Ryan. “Especially now that we have missed the holiday season, which usually provides a plethora of hours to go around. Not to mention, the generous tips. Recently, most of our crew have run out of unemployment benefits.”

At the time of this article’s publishing, 84 individuals nave collectively given almost $5,000 toward the campaign that was launched Saturday; Ryan says all funds generated by the fundraisers will go toward members of the crew — many of who “have families or are college students who need a flexible job, or a [work at the theater as a] second job to make ends meet.”

“They are in desperate need of assistance with rent, bills, groceries, and [other] necessities of life,” Ryan added, noting that any and all donations “will be greatly appreciated.”

The current campaign goal sits at $15,000. To donate to the fundraiser, visit www.gofundme.com/f/GivetoGRANDcrew.

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