The Motion Picture and Television Fund’s (MPTF) Giving Day — a 24-hour fundraiser — will take place on Sept. 26, followed by an open house with Emmy-winning television host Tom Bergeron as master of ceremonies on Sept. 28.
Giving Day aims to raise at least $100,000 for the more than 50 services the MPTF provides for the entertainment community, including crisis intervention, child care and financial assistance. Donations can be made online for 24 hours on Sept. 26. Additionally, Warner Bros. will be matching their employee gifts for the day.
“This Giving Day will be a kickoff of fundraising activities and interest-building activities and awareness activities over the next 18 months. We really are focused on galvanizing the support of unions, guilds and the studios,” says organization CEO Bob Beitcher.
Those activities will lead into the organization’s 100th anniversary in 2021, when a fundraising campaign commemorating the centennial will be launched. Beitcher intends to formally announce the campaign later this year.
Bergeron, who has committed to a $25,000 match for all gifts coming on on Giving Day, will host an open house at the Country House campus in Woodland Hills. Bergeron called the location “serendipitous,” as his first foray into show business was an interview with Larry Fine of the Three Stooges, who was living on the campus at the time. Bergeron says he visited Fine’s old room while shooting promos on the campus.
“When experts talk about investing they usually say invest in what you know. Writers are told write what you know. For me, MPTF is what I know; it’s the people in the industry which has been so great to me,” says Bergeron, who’s got 11 Emmy nominations and one win (in 2012) for hosting “Dancing With the Stars.”
Attendees can take a tour of the campus and can visit information tables to learn more about MPTF at the open house.
“Tom reflects everything good about the industry. He not only sustained a very successful career for a long time but has impacted the industry and is very focused on programs and services we have here. He was an ideal person to do it. He was all in on the campaign,” says Beitcher.
The September date of Giving Day holds significance for MPTF. The organization was founded in the month of September. As it was known then, the Motion Picture Relief Fund was incorporated with Hollywood studio pioneer Joseph M. Schenck as president, superstar Mary Pickford as vice president and the Reverend Neal Dodd, who also appeared in more than 300 films, as administrator, according to the MPTF’s account, and made its first disbursement later that month. On Sept. 27, 1942, thousands gathered for the dedication of the Motion Picture Country House.
Beitcher explained why the fundraiser is so important. “The entertainment industry and Hollywood is the only industry that has supported this kind of charity for nearly 100 years,” he says. “To me it speaks not only to the incredible ambition and vision of the founders in 1921 but also to the amazing generosity of our community that has provided the funding to support literally hundreds of thousands of our workforce over this 100-year period. As we turn the corner on our hundred years there are so many important social and economic forces at work that are going to put MPTF under great strain in the future.”
Beitcher says the MPTF will need to step up their fundraising in the wake of industry consolidation, layoffs and retiring baby boomers. Preparing for the 100th anniversary fundraising campaign “takes a lot of building brick by brick. Giving Day will be laying the first brick on that big structure,” he adds.