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On April 29, Jeffrey Katzenberg joined George Clooney, Yvette Nicole Brown, Paramount’s Jim Gianopulos and Motion Picture & Television Fund president and CEO Bob Beitcher on Zoom to announce an ambitious fundraising campaign to raise $300 million for the MPTF.
The push comes during a milestone 100th anniversary year for MPTF, and saluting the past while preparing for the future remained top of mind for Katzenberg, a longtime steward of the organization who serves on both the board of directors and governors. “The success of the MPTF for the next generation is something that all of us on the board of directors and the board of governors are deeply focused and concerned and excited for,” Katzenberg said during the press briefing. “Our job is to make sure we pass the baton to the MPTF, to the next generation, in even better shape than we received it from our predecessors.
Katzenberg is ready to pass the baton.
The MPTF confirmed today that Katzenberg is stepping down from MPTF, exiting both boards and bringing an end to one of Hollywood’s highest-profile philanthropic partnerships. The news was first reported by Matt Belloni, former editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, oi his upstart newsletter.
Katzenberg, 70, has been an indefatigable champion of MPTF, serving for more than three decades while donating some of his personal fortune and helping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of the organization for its services and facilities. Though it’s easy to point to what he’s done in donating time and millions while helping mount glitzy red carpet fundraisers like the Night Before parties, his work behind the scenes has been just as monumental with strategy and recruiting as he’s worked to bring industry insiders, both famous faces and working pros alike, into the MPTF fold.
Beitcher tells THR that the entire MPTF organization — from “residents, our entire staff, volunteers, boards” — feels blessed to have had Katzenberg’s support for the past 30 years.
“His passion for all things MPTF, his commitment to seeing that our mission was understood and embraced by the entire entertainment industry, his willingness to share his enthusiasm with the philanthropic community that runs so deep in our business, and the incredible generosity he and Marilyn have exhibited in their own support of MPTF are inestimable,” Beitcher says. “We appreciate Jeffrey’s decision to pass on this work to the next generation, just as Lew Wasserman did with him 30 years ago, and we look forward to continuing to benefit by his support.”
News of Katzenberg’s departure comes as the MPTF is not only preparing to raise $300 million but as the org mounts a series of celebrations for its 100th anniversary. Also announced at the April press conferences was an upcoming two-night celebration and a historic “Auction of the Century.” It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Katzenberg honored at one of those gala events.
Katzenberg, who was presented with a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award during the Academy’s Governors Awards in 2012 for his philanthropic efforts, has long made charity an integral part of his life’s work. Guided by a conversation he had with fellow philanthropist and MPTF supporter Kirk Douglas (who told him, “You haven’t learned to live until you’ve learned to give”), Katzenberg and wife, Marilyn Katzenberg, have supported higher education, the arts, political and social causes, health and human services and environmental conservation. In addition to the MPTF, they have supported countless organizations, among them the USC Shoah Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Academy Museum, the American Museum of the Moving Image, GLSEN, the ACLU, COVID-19 relief and others.
A rep for Katzenberg referred requests for comment to the MPTF.
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