<i>Variety</I>'s Benefactor of the Year

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. knows well philanthropy’s great dichotomy — that if you publicize your efforts, you’re vilified for grandstanding, while if you keep quiet about your good deeds, they may go unnoticed. The org is best known for the annual Golden Globe Awards, yet the HFPA also is a generous benefactor to many charities associated with film education.

“Our charter demands that our donations go to organizations that have some sort of entertainment affiliation,” says Jorge Camara, HFPA’s prexy. This year, the beneficiaries include some of the largest universities on both coasts.

But HFPA largesse also assists several lesser-known arts orgs such as the Harlem-based Museum of African American Cinema; L.A.’s Outfest; and Inner-City Arts, a visual and performance arts center serving low-income elementary and middle school students in downtown L.A.

“We’re a small organization, so every penny helps,” says Sharyn Church, deputy director of Inner-City Arts regarding the HFPA grants that have helped support her org’s animation programs since 2006.

This year’s grant was for $25,000, a 25% increase over last year’s despite HFPA’s annus horribilis. In January, the writers strike forced cancellation of the Golden Globes Awards ceremony, whose broadcast on NBC had been the org’s chief revenue source since 1996.

Yet even without its kudocast income, HFPA managed to support many of its usual beneficiaries this year. “So many schools and students depend on our donations,” Camara says, “so we’ve taken it from our savings. The grants were somewhat less — we gave over a million dollars last year, and this year we’re giving around $700,000.”

Needless to say, the recipients aren’t complaining. “These scholarships are lifesavers — literally,” says Steve Anker, dean of CalArts’ School of Film/Video. “They have made it possible for students from around the world to come to CalArts. I only wish more corporations and foundations followed their lead.”

Two dozen and counting

More than two dozen arts organizations receive grants from HFPA for 2008-09. They include the American Film Institute, California Institute of the Arts, California State Summer School Arts Foundation, California State U. Long Beach (Dept. of Film and Electronic Arts), California State U. Northridge (Dept. of Cinema and TV Arts), Columbia U. School of the Arts, Ensemble Studio Theater — the L.A. Project, FilmAid Intl., Film Independent, Ghetto Film School, Independent Feature Project, Inner-City Arts, Inner-City Filmmakers, Latin-American Cinemateca of Los Angeles (LACLA), Lollipop Theater Network, Los Angeles Conservancy, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Foundation, Museum of African American Cinema, National Association of Latino Independent Producers, New York U. (Tisch School of the Arts), North Carolina School of the Arts Foundation, Outfest, Streetlights Production Assistant Program, Sundance Institute and the U. of California Los Angeles (School of Theater Film and Television).

TIP SHEET

What: HFPA Grant Luncheon

Where: Beverly Hills Hotel

When: Noon Wednesday

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