ExtendPUA.org is a grassroots movement of pandemic unemployed workers advocating for comprehensive COVID relief legislation focused on The People. The organization was founded in July 2020 by Stephanie Freed and Grant McDonald, two pandemic unemployed professionals in the live events and entertainment industry. Since July we have accumulated an engaged base of over 25,000 people and a wonderful volunteer team who are all directly affected by the unemployment crisis. We believe policy should be based on lived experiences and workers' voices should be at every table. Our mission is here.

Resource Cultivation


  • Our website provides information, resources, monthly strategy, updates, and tools for people to advocate to their elected officials directly.

  • Our tools have generated tens of thousands of constituent letters & calls to legislators.

  • We culled resources for workers who are struggling in our Help Section & advice for claim issues.



We have organized & facilitated 40+ meetings directly with Senators and their staff, bringing over 150 constituents to tell their stories. We follow up those meetings with letters from our org as well as written & video stories from constituents, sharing a total of 600 stories so far.

Press Outreach


  • We pitch press on the issues facing unemployed workers incessantly. We’ve garnered over 50 news media placements so far to encourage and empower others to advocate, as well as share our community’s stories.

  • We also provide press pitch tips for workers to pitch press themselves!
    See our Press Coverage here.

Community & Coalition Building


  • We have cultivated a community of the unemployed. We are directly engaged with over 25,000 un or under employed workers across the US.

  • We maintain a blog & robust social media accounts to share information and advocate publicly. 

  • We are part of several coalitions including serving on the steering committee for ProsperUS.

  • We have also partnered with national and local organizations on initiatives: Freelancers’ Union, NIVA, LEC, NITO, CPD, NELP, Spaces in Action, Restaurant Organizing Project, MWA, People's Action, and more.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube

Policy Advocacy


  • We write policy proposals and issue breakdowns and sent them directly to legislators' and stakeholders offices. We have built relationships in several Senate offices for ongoing conversation.

  • We submitted testimony including workers stories to a Live Events Industry Senate committee hearing & spoke about Partial UI in a NYS Joint Session (testimony). 

  • We create media including several videos as well as graphics to make issues more compelling and easy to understand. We understand storytelling is key.

  • Our Current Policy Hub

We created and maintain this resource to create awareness, empower workers, and promote tangible action around an issue that is affecting not only us, but over 21 million people who are currently affected by pandemic unemployment or underemployment. Our work and our community has grown enormously in the last 9 months. We meant to start a letter campaign and now we've met with dozens of Senators and formed coalition partnerships with some incredible organizations.


Check out our 2020 Year in Review and our press coverage.

We are all volunteer and entirely funded out of our own pockets, please consider a donation to support this work if you are able.



Stephanie is a Writer, Messaging Hawk, Policy Fanatic, Strategist, & Advocate, as well as a Production Electrician & Lighting Designer in the entertainment and live events industry. 


  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
McDonald_Headshot (1).jpg


Grant McDonald, Associate DIRECTOR   

Grant is a Video Director and Designer for Broadway, Concert Tours and Live Events.

Grant@ExtendPUA.org | @McDonaldG | 


Our Core Team:

Julienne Bilker, Press & Government Affairs 

Paul Frydrychowski, Stories & Constituent Outreach 

Kathryn Schmidtt, Press Outreach

Sarah Ford, Administration

Joe Beumer, Advocacy

Amanda Holt, Stories

Kylee Loera, Graphics and Video

Corey Psoinos, Website Consulting

ExtendPUA.org Past & Current Contributors: Thomas, Savannah, Kristin, Katie, Jill, Stephanie K, Margaret, Abbe, Emma, Lois, Brian, Keith, Pamela, Joanna, Pete, Gwen, Marian, Andrew, Josh, Jimmy, Will, Greg, Shanna, Atum, Josh, Christine, Ben, Lindsey, Adam, Katherine, Sal, Diana, Nicole, Alice, Mercedes, B.A., Luke, Taylor, Alex, John, Connor, Jackie, Cathay, Devonne, Claire, Heather, Nikki, Adrian, Damien, Mike, Bre, Tracy, Chau and the Ciaooo Magazine team, Colin and the Courier Newsroom team, Michael at Stage Directions, and Alicia at Scripps.

Our CoalitionS

As well as coalitions that are not public facing: Partial UI NY & #FixUI

ExtendPUA.org's Organization Partners include: National Independent Venue Association, National Independent Talent Organization, Main Street Alliance, Live Events Coalition (National and various Locals), We Make Events, Music Workers Alliance, Recording Academy, Unemployed Action, Restaurant Organizing Project, Restaurant Workers United, ILeague of Historic Theatres, National Association of Theatre Owners, Various IATSE Locals, Groundwork Collaborative, Spaces in Action, MomsRising, NELP, People's Action, People's Bailout, Indivisible, and more.