Variety's Creative Leadership Award: Judd Apatow

Grateful for his own literary mentors and looking to give back, Dave Eggers co-founded the 826 tutoring program a decade ago to help under-resourced students receive creative writing guidance. When the program expanded to Los Angeles, Eggers approached Judd Apatow about getting involved. Excited by the cause, Apatow proposed a fake-honorific fund-raising benefit for Seth Rogen and “the philanthropic work he might do in the future” that doubled as “a great send-up of celebrity-studded benefits in general,” according to Eggers.

The mock-telethon raised enough money for 826LA to open its main location, in Echo Park, which Eggers calls “the house that Judd built.” For this year’s event, Apatow recruited such diverse stars as the RZA, Bob Newhart, Colin Quinn, Peter Frampton, Ray Romano, Pee-wee Herman and Apatow’s own daughter, Maude, who graced the audience with a song. Along with paying the building’s rent, “Judd’s done about half a dozen different things for 826LA — the huge events, sure, but he’s auctioned off lunch with himself, he’s donated money straight-up, he’s helped us with connections to other funding help,” Eggers says. “There’s been no one more instrumental in the financial health of 826LA.”

And the feeling’s mutual. “Dave Eggers has created this amazing organization, and he is the person who mentors me in philanthropy,” says Apatow. “I’m so inspired by how much time and care he puts into the 826 centers around the country, so I try to do what I can to support his efforts.”

Variety’s Creative Leadership Award: Judd Apatow
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