The Fran & Ray Stark Foundation has made a pledge of $10 million to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, to be used to construct an assisted-living facility for 75-100 residents at the Motion Picture & Television Country House & Hospital in Woodland Hills. It will be built on the back 40 acres of the land originally contributed by the late Jean Hersholt. The gift is one of the four largest contributions ever made to the fund. Stark Foundation chairman Ray Stark, one of the early contributors to the fund and the Country House & Hospital, acknowledges, “I have been fortunate to work with some wonderful people throughout my career and I deeply appreciate all those who worked so hard on each picture. The foundation is pleased to have this opportunity to return that support by contributing to the fund for the expansion of services.” Stark asided to me, “Maybe I’ll be there someday myself.” Meanwhile, he continues his constant activities readying features — the next probably “Houdini” with Paul Verhoeven directing. Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairman of the MPTF Foundation, says, “Ray Stark’s remarkable gift is beyond generous. On behalf of the MPTF Foundation and all those who are served by the fund, I want to express our gratitude and appreciation for this pledge.” Through the Stark generosity, the fund can begin to accommodate the industry’s growing need for services offered by the MPTF. It has begun a major campus initiative, with plans calling for creating “a healthy entertainment community that may include holistic medicine and a full range of wellness services, a home health agency and elder day care; interactive communications and educational opportunities; technologically advanced facilities for health-care delivery on an inpatient and outpatient basis as well as enhance retirement residence and long-term care programs.” The MPTF currently serves approximately 400 residents and patients daily at the Country House & Hospital — while struggling with an eight-year waiting list for residential care. The needs of industry workers and retirees have for some time exceeded MPTF’s facilities on the campus. Thus the Stark pledge is a giant step to cure these ills. And as fund president William F. Haug reminds, “No other industry cares for its own the way entertainment does.” The MPTF was established in 1921 and now has a 256-bed, licensed full-service acute care hospital and five health centers throughout the L.A. area. Kenneth Scherer, MPTF Foundation CEO, says, “The generosity of this particular pledge will inspire the next generation of industry leaders to help the fund fulfill its dream on the Woodland Hills campus over the next five to 10 years.”

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