Academy pledges $5 million for Hollywood’s seniors

Nov 22, 2004 by Ian Evans

If you thought the Academy was just about tuxes, gowns, and parties, you’d be very wrong.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made a pldege of $5 million to develop and implement programs that will help keep the entertainment industry’s retirees healthy and safe in their own homes for as long as possible. A check for $500,000, the first of ten annual payments on the Academy pledge, has been presented by Academy President Frank Pierson to Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, Foundation Board Member Annette Bening and Frank Mancuso, chairman of the MPTF Corporate Board.

“This is a highly unusual commitment for the Academy to make,” Pierson said, “and the largest contribution the organization has ever made. We’ve never made a donation on this scale before, but who better to support than those who have spent their lives working in our industry?”

Katzenberg thanked the Academy for this “incredibly generous contribution,” and said the gift reinforces the entertainment community’s commitment to “taking care of our own.” Katzenberg explained that “the contribution will be earmarked for the development of new programs and services for the industry’s expanding aging population.”

Joining Katzenberg in his praise for the Academy’s support, Mancuso stressed the growing needs placed on MPTF to do more for seniors as they live longer and healthier lives. “We know that within the next five or six years, over 77 million baby boomers will begin to retire,” Mancuso said. “Their life expectancy will be at least an additional 10 to15 years. MPTF could never build enough retirement and elder care facilities at our Wasserman campus to accommodate the tide of industry retirees who will need our help in the coming years.”

The goal, Mancuso said, is “to find creative solutions for our colleagues to remain in their homes in a safe and healthy environment regardless of their financial ability. This goal is truly in the spirit of caring that inspired Jean Hersholt and his industry colleagues to build the Country House & Hospital in Woodland Hills. We can now begin to plan for the future with this extremely generous gift from the Academy.”

According to Katzenberg, the Academy gift will specifically enable MPTF to:

  • Create a volunteer corps of industry members to provide a range of services to seniors including home modifications;
  • Provide financial support to enable seniors to maintain their independence, assist with transitional living expenses and other services; and
  • Offer counseling and support to family members and caregivers.