Golden Globes Reveal New $7.5 Million Charity War Chest

Aaron Fallon
Theo Kingma

Ahead of the HFPA's charity awards banquet, president Theo Kingma tells THR about the organization's philanthropic priorities and plans to expand

This story first appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

On June 3, Dutch photojournalist Theo Kingma was re-elected to a second one-year term as president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the 82-member nonprofit group that puts on the Golden Globes and has doled out more than $20 million in grants to various industry charities. Six weeks later, Kingma, 47, played a central role in resolving a four-year legal dispute with Dick Clark Productions over rights to produce the show, which was watched by 21 million viewers in January (third only to the Oscars and Grammys among awards shows) and generates about $10 million annually for the HFPA.

As part of the deal, DCP will handle licensing of the Globes to international broadcasters, and its parent company, Guggenheim Partners (which also owns THR), will donate $7.5 million over six years to match HFPA charity efforts beginning in 2015. "We really would like to make a big impact somehow, probably in education," says Kingma of the new funds. Adds Guggenheim president Todd Boehly, "We're excited about being aligned on the charitable side because we think that just brings us closer." For THR's philanthropy issue, Kingma, who came to the U.S. in 1988 and joined the HFPA in 1992, spoke about the group's star-studded Aug. 14 charity awards banquet at The Beverly Hilton, being held in the evening for the first time.

Soccer fan Kingma received a replica World Cup trophy that sits on his desk.

What are your philanthropy priorities?

We like to make our choices as diverse as possible, so it's not just the Film Foundation but also, let's say, the Echo Park Film School. Or for the past 10 years, we've given to Film Aid, which has screenings in refugee camps in Africa. And, of course, a lot of scholarships. And last year, we added endowments [for educational institutions].

The HFPA also donates to charities supported by big stars, as you did in 2013 for the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation. Why?

In addition to these funds, grants and scholarships, there is a presidential discretionary fund, which allows me in increments of $5,000 each to make an allocation when things pop up. We had a press conference with Mark where he told us a wonderful story. He said his kids complained, "Why do you tell us we have to finish school when you never did?" So he finished school, I believe online, and graduated. … So we gave Mark from the presidential fund $5,000 to be spent on scholarships through his organization, as a gift for him graduating.

Kingma was given this vintage photo of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas as a gift.

Does giving to star charities provide you leverage in booking presenters for the Globes?

Well, we certainly don't use it. It doesn't work like that. When we invite people for, in this case, our grants banquet, they will ask, "Which charities are you giving money to? May I pick the charity that I accept for?" Yes, that's fine. But there is no leverage.

Part of the legal settlement with Dick Clark Productions is a deal to expand the Golden Globes internationally. Do you plan to have Globes shows in other countries?

Not really, but there are plans to build up the Globes even bigger. We may do some other programming, but it would probably be in the U.S. We have many ideas.

He received this inscribed pen as a gift when he was elected HFPA president.

So no Globes in France or India?

We have barely enough time to see all the U.S. product, so no. We will not have a Turkish version of the Golden Globes.

You have said that a priority is to add members, up to five a year, under the HFPA rules. How many did you add last year?

One, from Belgium. I started trying to change the process in July, but that has been a difficult process. One issue has been the pool of people. According to our bylaws, you need to have lived in Southern California for at least two years and have MPAA [press accreditation]. Now with the Internet, the pool of L.A.-based international journalists is shrinking. People are working from home. There used to be four people from the Netherlands, and now three of them live in Amsterdam.

He keeps a collection of books in his office, including photography book Weegee.

Last year, you issued a stern warning to studios who were claiming in ads they had "won" a Golden Globe nomination. Has your warning made a difference?

Yes, literally in an hour I got three phone calls from three of the most active independent producers all thanking me, saying, "Yes, we pledge we will change our advertising campaigns." And they immediately did.

Read more from THR's Philanthropy Issue here.

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