How the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Gives Back

Most of us who follow entertainment topics know the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as the organization that gives out the Golden Globe awards (for television and film performances, writing and direction) every January. The Golden Globes have become, over the years, one of the most-watched television shows for several reasons.

First, they serve dinner and alcohol during the event so, as the evening wears on, celebrities tend to become – how shall I say this? – more relaxed and spontaneous, which can make for some very entertaining moments. Next is that they invariably choose hosts for the event (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler last year and Ricky Gervais for a few years prior to that) that are far more fun and daring and entertaining than the host choices we’ve seen for the Academy Awards. And finally, even though the Hollywood Foreign Press is composed of only 85 or so members who vote on the Golden Globe Awards, they have proven themselves to be an excellent prognosticator of who are going to win Oscars in February of every year.

But giving out prizes and hosting the most fun awards show every year is not all the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) does as a non-profit organization. They pride themselves on their charitable work and philanthropy.

Their mission statement explains that they contribute to other non-profits connected with the entertainment industry and support educational, cultural and humanitarian activities.

On August 13, the HFPA held its annual  ceremony to give out grants totaling $1.6 million to a number of arts-related philanthropic organizations.

A $350,000 grant was accepted by Oscar and Golden Globe winning actress Nicole Kidman on behalf of The Film Foundation, a non-profit established in 1990 by award-winning director Martin Scorcese which is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history by, among other things, digitally restoring films. They also have established a middle school initiative that aims to expose young people to some of the film classics while teaching them the social and cultural significance of movies.

Another grant in the amount of $100,000 was given to the Sundance Institute. Sundance was founded by Oscar-winning actor and director Robert Redford (and named after his iconic character, the Sundance Kid, from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) in 1981. The mission of the non-profit institute is to discover and help in the development of independent artists. As one of the premier film festivals in the world, the Sundance Film Festival – held every January in Sundance, Utah – has premiered such films as sex, lies and videotape (the first film that Steven Soderbergh directed), An Inconvenient Truth (the Oscar-winning documentary about Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about global warming) and Precious (which won an Best Supporting Actress Oscar for one of its actresses, Mo’Nique).

In addition, this year for the first time HFPA provided over $100,000 in scholarships and fellowship endowments to a dozen institutions, including UCLA, New York University and Los Angeles City College.

The HFPA event was hosted by actress and philanthropist Eva Longoria (whose charitable work we told you about in July). Longoria gave an interview after the event that said in effect that while everyone thinks of the HFPA as only the Golden Globes, it was an honor for her to see their activity in raising funds for so many artistic-related worthy causes. Good job, HFPA. See you in January at the 2014 Golden Globes.