Producer/philanthropist Steve Bing has agreed to donate $30 million towards the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s goal of $350 million in one of the largest recent gifts to the fund.
Bing’s donation matches a contribution from Barry Diller, announced in June. Anne and Kirk Douglas and Rupert Murdoch have also come on board with $20 million gifts this summer.
“For years Steve Bing has been one of the most philanthropic and generous people in our industry,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, who’s heading the MPTF fundraising campaign. “He has also been one of the most loyal supporters of the MPTF through both the good and challenging times. Now with this amazing contribution he puts us another step closer to securing our long term goals.”
The MPTF has now raised more than $280 million — or better than three-quarters — of its $350 million goal. Katzenberg and George Clooney unveiled the $350 million campaign in February in order to raise funds to support the charitable programs and health and social services as well as child care and retirement care services to entertainment biz members.
Ken Scherer, CEO of the MPTF Foundation, said that Bing’s commitment will help the fund meet the needs of the expanding industry retiree population. “This commitment will help provide the safety net in the years ahead for the 75,000 industry members who will be retiring over the next ten,” he added.
Besides Bing, Clooney, Diller, Douglas and Katzenberg, other donors to the campaign unveiled in February have included Tom Cruise, Fox Entertainment Group, David Geffen, Michael Lewis, Jerrold Perenchio, Todd Phillips, Joe Roth, Patrick Soon-Shiong, Steven Spielberg, Thomas Tull, Casey Wasserman and John and Marilyn Wells.
Until the fundraising campaign launched, the only equivalent gift to the foundation came more than three decades ago from the Samuel Goldwyn family, when the foundation received the proceeds from the sale of the Samuel Goldwyn Studio to Warner Bros.
The MPTF has been rebuilding since its January 2009 announcement that rising costs amid the recession would force it to shutter its long-term care unit, which had 136 patients at the time, as well as its acute-care hospital. That led to a barrage of criticism over the past three years over that decision, with some questioning the fund’s commitment to its stated goal of “taking care of our own.”
But earlier this year, the MPTF disclosed it would begin admitting new patients for the first time in three years, going from 29 patients to as many as 40. And MPTF execs have emphasized that the fund will continue to operate its independent and assisted-care facilities in Woodland Hills and half a dozen health centers in the Los Angeles area, along with modernizing the Woodland Hills campus and expanding its medical and social services for biz retirees.
“Ninety-one years ago the first person helped by this organization was an actor who couldn’t afford a toupee needed for an audition,” said MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher. “Today the needs are far greater as we maintain the residential campus and long-term care facility and support the charitable programs and services provided each year to thousands of entertainment industry members — active and retired — who depend on MPTF for health and social services as well as child care and retirement care.”