You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

HFPA Grants Write a Better Future for Students

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. is known to people around the world for its star-studded Golden Globe Awards. But the organization’s charitable efforts often escape the public’s gaze.

Over almost three decades, the Hollywood Foreign Press has provided more than $20 million in grants to high schools, universities, and entertainment-related organizations. As a result, more than 1,300 students have received scholarships to support their education.

Now HFPA is preparing to gift $2.4 million to another group of recipients at its annual banquet on Aug. 4 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

“That’s when we can showcase to the world that HFPA is not only about putting on an award show in January, or all of the press conferences and other activities that we do year-round,” says Lorenzo Soria, president of HFPA. “It’s also about giving back. It’s a moment where we can tell another side of our story.”

Soria says the organization has received hundreds of letters from students. “If it wasn’t for our grants, they wouldn’t have graduated. It’s gratifying for us because we can see our money in action.”

One school that has benefited from HFPA’s charitable efforts is Cal State Northridge. Since 1998, CSUN has received over $900,000 in grants to assist with students’ senior film projects and fellowship funding. Just last year, CSUN’s department of cinema and television Arts received an unprecedented $2 million grant with a portion going toward the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. Scholars Program to support underrepresented film and TV students in the industry.

“A very big component to this is going to be providing mentorship,” says Nate Thomas, CSUN professor. “We’re talking about providing industry mentorship to these scholars that will help students make the transition, because a large part of this industry is who you know.”

HFPA’s grants have helped CSUN students from Latino, African-American, Asian, and LGBT backgrounds “turn aspirations into reality and tell their stories which are reflective of their communities,” Thomas says.

Two HFPA scholars have been admitted to CSUN this year, and the university has plans to admit four to five a year in the future. “So many folks in this town talk about diversity, but it’s all talk,” Thomas adds. “This is one organization that puts their money where their mouth is.”

A smaller, yet, still effective grant of $25,000 went to LAUSD/USC Media Arts & Engineering Magnet School to purchase cameras, light kits, and audio gear for the institution’s Lights, Camera, Take Action project. Serving 50 to 60 low-income students annually, Lights, Camera, Take Action, allows participants to create socially conscious documentaries and ad campaigns for various nonprofit organizations in their communities.

“We get a lot of students that come from low socio-economic households,” says Matthew Waynee, cinematic arts instructor. “So they might not have equipment at home like you might find in more affluent neighborhoods. This has really given them the opportunity to see what higher level of equipment they can learn film on.”

Waynee says it has made a noticeable difference in his students when “they feel they are not just students shooting video with their phones.” Many have gone on to pursue film at the college level as a result of the experiences they’ve had through HFPA grants. “When they see their projects on the L.A. Times website — when they feel that it’s real, and know that the money came from Hollywood Foreign Press — it pushes them a little more,” he says. “I’ve been blown away at the professional level of work my students have been able to do. We are really trying to bridge the gap for our students.”

Pictured: Minority students at Cal State Northridge relied on HFPA funding to complete their film “Champion.”

More Scene

  • Dylan O'Brien, Justin Theroux, Angela Bassett,

    Travis Knight on Getting the Call to Direct ‘Bumblebee’: ‘Did You Guys Get The Right Number?’

    “Bumblebee” director Travis Knight admits he couldn’t believe it when Paramount Studios and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura called him two years ago, asking him to helm the upcoming “Transformers” movie. “My initial question was, ‘Did you guys get the right number?'” Knight joked at Sunday’s premiere of “Bumblebee” at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. “You’ve seen [...]

  • Director Peter JacksonWarner Bros. Pictures THEY

    Peter Jackson Talks Transition From 'Hobbit' Movies to World War I Documentary

    Peter Jackson remains a bit astounded at his transition four years ago from the Shire of Middle Earth to the French battlefields of World War I. Jackson introduced his documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” Friday night at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood, four weeks after it aired on Armistice Day on the BBC. [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • Children's Defense Fund

    Angela Bassett, Conan O'Brien Honor Young Students at Children's Defense Fund Gala

    Awards season may be right around the corner, but on Thursday, Hollywood took a break from the glitz and glam to celebrate five high school students who have excelled academically despite facing extreme adversity both at home and in the classroom. The 29th annual Beat the Odds Awards ceremony at the Skirball Cultural Center featured [...]

  • Dolly Parton attends the world premiere

    Dolly Parton Hopes to Perform 'Dumplin'' Song at the Golden Globes

    It’s not easy to upstage Jennifer Aniston. But everyone at Thursday night’s premiere of her new Netflix flick, “Dumplin’,” seemed to be singing the praises of Dolly Parton, who earlier in the day received a Golden Globe nomination for “Girl in the Movies,” one of half a dozen new songs she wrote for the film. [...]

  • Lena WaitheVariety's Power of Women, Arrivals,

    Who Lena Waithe Thinks Should Replace Kevin Hart as Oscar Host

    Lena Waithe thinks Kevin Hart could have handled his Oscar debacle in a much better way. “I kind of wish that he would have taken a moment to let it be a teachable moment and to say, ‘Hey, what I said wasn’t right and I want to make that right,’ not just to keep the [...]

  • Christie Brinkley32nd Annual Footwear News Achievement

    Christie Brinkley at 64: 'Women My Age Cannot Allow the Numbers to Define Them'

    Christie Brinkley may be turning 65 next year, but don’t you dare try to tell her what she should — or shouldn’t — wear. “I think women my age cannot allow the numbers to define them. We need to constantly redefine the number,” Brinkley told Variety on Tuesday at the Footwear News Achievement Awards in New [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content