Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. Grants Change Lives, Launch Careers

“Ever since I was a little girl I’ve heard actors I admire thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press in their Golden Globe speeches,” Cal State L.A. student Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni says. “I never could have imagined then that this same organization would be supporting me in my journey to being a professional actor and producer.”

As part of its mission, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. is committed to contributing to nonprofit organizations connected to the entertainment industry and will once again be offering a series of grants to organizations that fit the bill.

“It means a lot,” says John Ramirez, chair of the Television, Film and Media Studies department at Cal State L.A., which has applied HFPA grants to graduate scholarships for nearly a decade.

Each year the HFPA’s support gives the university the opportunity to provide about 20 scholarships, which help students invest in equipment and, in some cases, refocus their time on their studies.

DiGiovanni, who had been working two part-time jobs at the time that she received the HFPA scholarship in 2010, credits the org with giving her the financial security to study more.

Jorge Camara, chairman of the HFPA board, says, “We’re very happy that we can contribute wherever we can. It’s very gratifying.” Part of the HFPA’s charter commits to donating to industy-related organizations, and thanks to revenue from the Golden Globes broadcast, it is able to offer funding year after year.

Over the years, the HFPA has donated more than $18 million to various charities and has funded scholarships and programs for up-and-coming film and television professionals. This year, the HFPA is set to contribute to more than 50 causes spanning professional and pre-professional education and training, scholarships and cultural advocacy.

However, it is not the money that means the most to the orgs that receive the grants; “It’s not the cash, it’s the cachet,” says Amie Williams, co-founder of GlobalGirl Media, a first-time HFPA grant recipient that provides journalism training to teenage girls.

Streetlights founder Dorothy Thompson shares the sentiment. Streetlights works to promote diversity in the entertainment industry’s workforce through job training. “It’s still predominately a white man’s world behind the camera,” Thompson says. “And to have industry people supporting us says ‘we agree with what you’re doing, we believe in what you’re doing’ — the social justice of it is tremendously important.”

The donations will be presented at the HFPA’s grant banquet 6 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Beverly Hilton.

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