The Motion Picture & Television Fund, which three years ago planned to shut its Woodland Hills nursing home, announced Feb, 23 it has raised $238 million toward a $350 million campaign to support the institution.
The announcement was made by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and Oscar Nominee George Clooney, who are spearheading the campaign. Katzenberg is the chairman of the MPTF Foundation Committee; Clooney joined the MPTF board about a year ago.
Katzenberg complemented MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher for his work in turning around the long term care facility.
“While others ran for the hills, Bob and his team did the opposite and said ‘No, we’ll pull off the impossible and make this work,’” Katzenberg told the audience at a media breakfast held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The money will be used to renovate the Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills, to support the ongoing work of the fund to take care of industry veterans in their golden years, and to build a cash reserve, which has been severely depleted in recent years. The MPTF incurred an annual deficit of $10 million in recent years.
Clooney said the timing of the campaign could not better. “There are 75,000 industry members…baby boomers getting close to their golden years.” Asked why it was personally important to him to contribute to the effort, Clooney quipped, “Because I’m close to retirement.”
On a more serious note he added,” I’m a big believer in this. I’m a big fan of this community…the beauty of what was created here 90 years ago is that sense of community and the understanding that we are most successful we when take care of people when they cannot take care of themselves.”
Asked how the money will be used, Clooney said, “Hopefully as time goes on, this will be a much different and better facility.”
Katzenberg and Clooney are among a long list of contributors. Others include Tom Cruise, Barry Diller, Steve Bing, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Michael Lewis and Casey Wasserman.
Beitcher said MPTF is still negotiating with a partner who would lease hospital beds from the fund to establish a long term acute care facility in the San Fernando Valley and this campaign does not effect those negotiations. Earlier this year the fund reversed its decision to close the long term care facility and decided to open 40 beds indefinitely. The fund also announced a partnership with UCLA Health System to operate a 12-bed geriatric psychiatric unit on the site.