Bizzers might not know about the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s philanthropic contributions, and, until recently, this included three-time Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais, says org prexy Aida Takla-O’Reilly.
“When I met Ricky Gervais last year in Paris to talk, he said, ‘You give all that money away? Why doesn’t anybody know about it?'” Takla-O’Reilly recalls. “I said, ‘Speak about it when you come to the Golden Globes.’ ”
This year, the HFPA will donate more than $1.2 million to 40 industry-related schools and orgs, as selected by the trustees. Representatives will receive those grant checks today at the org’s annual installation luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The Film Foundation, founded by Martin Scorsese to preserve classic movies, receives the largest donation at $250,000.
For the first time, the trustees have also set aside funds to be used throughout the year, says Takla-O’Reilly, who, as president, will be able to disburse $30,000 in discretionary funds. With these additional contributions, the org plans to match last year’s record-breaking sum of $1.5 million in donations.
“Things happen throughout the year,” says Takla-O’Reilly, citing disaster relief efforts as an example. “People are left out, and we’ll find out that a project is great.”
While most of the 2012 grant recipients also received HFPA funds last year, Visual Communications, the Gingold Theatrical Group and the Young Storytellers Foundation are recent additions.
It’s not always the movies. For example, funds for GTG will go toward the Gotham org’s productions of George Bernard Shaw plays. The non-profit was recommended by TCM host and film historian Robert Osborne. The HFPA originally planned to donate money to the TCM Classic Film Festival, but after learning the event was well-funded, they asked Osborne for suggestions.
The donation to Visual Communications will go toward an Asian-American film and TV pros conference. The NPO is dedicated to films by and about Asian-Americans. Encouraging positive, thoughtful images of minority groups remains important to the Takla-O’Reilly and the HFPA.
“All throughout the industry, you’ll find movies that demean minorities and give the wrong impression,” she says. “We want to defuse that.”
Especially with a struggling economy, the continual support of the HFPA provides an important boast to the film industry.
“We’ve received many letters from students and people who said, ‘Without your gifts, we could not have done this,’ or ‘I could not have graduated,’ ” Takla-O’Reilly says. “We’re very happy to be able to get the money from NBC and give it away.”
Showbiz Philanthropy Leader Report:
Barbara Davis: Philanthropist of the Year | HFPA shares its Golden Globes wealth with arts orgs | At 70, Foreign Press org expands its reach | Newman legacy at Weinstein Co. | Hollywood goes global to help a continent in need
The Variety Guide to Entertainment Philanthropy