Barry Diller and his family have made a $30 million legacy gift toward the Motion Picture Television Fund campaign goal of $350 million — the largest-ever single personal donation to the fund.
Diller’s gift was announced Tuesday. The $350 million campaign was announced in February by George Clooney and is being led by Jeffrey Katzenberg, board member and chairman of the MPTF Foundation.
“MPTF has benefited greatly in recent years from the Diller-Von Furstenberg Family Foundation, providing grants that have increased the amount of our charitable community services beyond the Wasserman Campus,” Katzenberg said in a statement. “This incredible pledge now insures that these services will be there forever, and we are grateful to Barry for honoring the legacy of caring for our own in such a significant way.”
Katzenberg told Variety he’s hopeful that Diller’s gift will encourage others to make donations of a similar magnitude, adding, “He’s one of the true icons of the business and he’s setting the bar pretty high.”
Katzenberg noted that the Diller family had already donated millions of dollars to the MPTF prior to making the $30 million gift.
Diller said: “Seems impossible to me to have had success in the entertainment industry and not strongly support the MPTF. I’m just glad and happy to be able to do so.”
Clooney said funds raised by the MPTF campaign will be used to support the charitable programs and health and social services as well as child care and retirement care services to entertainment biz members.
Clooney noted in a statement, “It is estimated that over 75,000 industry members will be retiring over the next 10 years, and this campaign will help insure that MPTF will remain a vital part of the safety net of care for our industry at a time that state and federal programs are coming under such great stress.”
Besides Clooney, Diller and Katzenberg, other donors to the campaign unveiled in February have included Steve Bing, 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.
Ken Scherer, CEO of the MPTF Foundation, told Variety that 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.
The MPTF faced 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. It also announced earlier this year that it was launching a geriatric psychiatric unit on its Woodland Hills campus in partnership with UCLA Health System and its Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital.
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.