Motion Picture & Television Fund
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (August 2013)|
The Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) is a charitable organization that offers assistance and care to those in the motion picture and television industries with limited or no resources. Its mission is to enrich the lives of people in the Southern California entertainment community by continuously evolving to meet their health and human services needs.
The need for a fund to benefit colleagues who fell on hard times was seen by many in the early days of motion pictures. It began with coin boxes at studios, where industry workers would drop their spare change for their colleagues. The MPTF was created by such industry luminaries as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Conrad Nagel, Milton Sills, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., and D. W. Griffith. In 1921, the Motion Picture Relief Fund (MPRF) was incorporated with Joseph M. Schenck as first president, Pickford was vice president and the Reverend Neal Dodd (who portrayed ministers in more than 300 films) as administrator, each with a benevolent spirit intent on providing assistance to those in the motion picture industry who were in need. The original Board of Trustees included prominent names in Hollywood such as Charles Christie, Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., William S. Hart, Jesse L. Lasky, Harold Lloyd, Mae Murray, Hal Roach, Donald Crisp and Irving Thalberg.
The advent of talkies in the late twenties brought many changes to the film industry. While talkies launched many new careers, hundreds of actors, directors, and writers who had not foreseen the change to the industry or their livelihood, became unemployed. MPRF came to their aid. As more requests for assistance were made, celebrity-packed benefits were held. Celebrity balls, benefit movie premieres, polo matches, fashion shows, and card parties were all means of raising funds for MPRF with talent provided by the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Will Rogers. These events raised thousands of dollars in aid, but it was not enough to keep up with the demand for assistance. Other methods of fundraising were needed.
In 1932, Pickford began the Payroll Pledge Program, a deduction plan for those earning over $200 a week. Studio workers were asked to pledge one-half of one percent of their earnings to the Fund. In 1938, participation in the program was increased by including talent groups, unions and producer representatives. The Screen Actors Guild improved this effort by ruling for compulsory contributions by its Class A members.
The president Jean Hersholt was seeking an opportunity to supplement the income produced through Payroll Pledge. Dr. Jules C. Stein came up with the idea to have major movie stars appear on a new radio program The Screen Guild Show, whereby they would donate their normal salaries to MPRF. Members of the Directors and Writers Guilds also contributed their services to the show, which premiered on over 61 CBS stations in 1939.
The first program starred such greats as Jack Benny, Judy Garland, and Joan Crawford, and quickly became one of the most popular programs on network radio, raising $5.3 million for MPRF during its 13-year run. Every major star participated at least once: Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby, Natalie Wood, Bob Hope, Betty Grable, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, and Tyrone Power.
In 1940, Jean Hersholt found the property for the future Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital. It was 48 acres (190,000 m2) of walnut and orange groves, selling for 850 dollars per acre. The Board was able to purchase the land from the money raised from The Screen Guild Show. They immediately sold 7 acres (28,000 m2) to offset the costs for the first buildings of the Country House, designed by architect William Pereira. On September 27, 1942, three thousand members of the film community gathered in Woodland Hills for its dedication. In 1948, the Motion Picture & Television Hospital was dedicated. Eventually, the Fund offered services to those working in television, and in 1971 the Motion Picture Relief Fund became Motion Picture & Television Fund.
In 1993, the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation was established with Jeffrey Katzenberg as Founding Chairman. The Foundation continues to exist as the conduit to marshal the vision of its donors and their philanthropy to the growing human needs of the entertainment community it serves. The MPTF Foundation puts on annual events that help raise millions of dollars in funds to continue to assist those entertainment industry members in need. These events include Michael Douglas and Friends Golf Tournament, The Night Before and The Evening Before.
On September 13, 1996, the MPTF Corporation was created within the State of California and its corporate number is C1989085. Dr. David Tillman, MPTF President and CEO is listed as "Agent for Service of Process" with the California Secretary of State. Frank Mancuso, Sr. is Chairman of the MPTF Corporate Board. In 1998, the Woodland Hills campus was renamed The Wasserman Campus of the Motion Picture & Television Fund in honor of the long-time commitment and support of Mr. & Mrs. Lew Wasserman. In February 2000, William Haug resigned as MPTF CEO, and succeeded by Dr. David Tillman on May 16, 2000.
In 2006, the groundbreaking for the Saban Center for Health and Wellness featuring the Jodie Foster Aquatic Pavilion was held on The Wasserman Campus. The center was named after donors Haim Saban and his wife Dr. Cheryl Saban. It opened its doors on July 18, 2007 and features aquatic and land-based therapies as well as MPTF’s Center on Aging, a best practice model which provides a variety of programs that are geared toward improving the lives of the entertainment industry seniors throughout Southern California. A new and emerging need to address quality of life issues for older adults in their own homes was identified and led to the creation of such MPTF programs and initiatives as Palliative Care, Elder Connection, Rebuilding Together and the MPTF Age Well Program.
On November 20, 2006, the Motion Picture & Television Fund registered the MPTF Endowment Corporation with California's Secretary of State. Its California corporate number is C2934691. Dr. Tillman is listed as "Agent for Service of Process" with the California Secretary of State. Besides offering temporary financial assistance and operating the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, MPTF's comprehensive services operate six outpatient health centers throughout the greater Los Angeles area as well as the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation Children’s Center.