HFPA and Participant Media Support Refugees at Cannes

May 20, 2019
HFPA charity event at Cannes 2019

(L to R) Lorenzo Soria, HFPA President Meher Tatna, Dame Helen Mirren, Help Refugees founder Josie Naughton, Participant Media CEO David Linde and Robert Pattinson at Nikki Beach for the HFPA + Participant Media event honoring Help Refugees at Cannes 2019.

Dave Benett/Getty Images for Nikki Beach Cannes

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) awarded Help Refugees, a nonprofit organization which provides humanitarian aid to, and advocacy for, refugees around the world, a $500,000 grant at the 2019 Festival de Cannes at their annual philanthropic celebration at Nikki Beach, held in association with Participant Media, located at the center of the Croisette.

Helen Mirren presented the grant to Help Refugees on behalf of the HFPA, which will go toward the organization’s pioneering mission of providing humanitarian aid with minimal overhead and maximum impact.

“This is a group of people who are unafraid of rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty,” Mirren said of Help Refugees. “Since 2015, they have responded to urgent needs and acted where large NGOs can’t or won’t go.”

For more than 25 years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group most well-known for producing the Golden Globe Awards®, has donated over $33 million to entertainment-related charities, scholarship programs, and humanitarian efforts.  Licensing fees obtained from the Awards show has allowed the HFPA to support over 80 nonprofits focused on education in film and television, film preservation, journalistic organizations committed to freedom of speech, as well as organizations that support natural disaster relief and other international crises.  More recently, the HFPA made a commitment to award one international organization with a grant of $500,000 annually at the Festival de Cannes, with FilmAid, International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) receiving the donation in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“The HFPA’s annual Cannes event has become a platform for us to raise awareness of humanitarian organizations that are working to make our world a better place,” said Meher Tatna, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. “We are thrilled to recognize the work of Help Refugees, an organization working tirelessly on the frontlines to provide aid and support to a crisis that is at an all-time high.”

When accepting the grant, Help Refugees co-founder and CEO Josie Naughton stated, "This is real, real, life saving and changing stuff… there are currently 68.5 million displaced people in the world and half of them are children. This is the biggest refugee crisis since WW11.”

Accepting the grant alongside Naughton, were former refugees, Aloyisus Ssali and Taban Shoresh, who now head organizations funded by Help Refugees. Ssali added, “The funds from HFPA will increase Help Refugees' capacity to reach out to more LGBTQ refugees who are faced with many challenges in their pursuit of freedom. We are very proud to be partners with Help Refugees – this partnership has led to the improved well-being, social change, and integration of LGBTQ refugees.”

“We are extremely proud to continue this partnership with the HFPA in honoring — and helping sustain — worthy organizations like Help Refugees and the vital work they do,” said Participant CEO David Linde, who was in attendance at the event. “Participant was founded 15 years ago by Jeff Skoll, based on his belief that everyday citizens can create extraordinary change — and with Help Refugees, an organization established on the same principle, we are excited to continue to help bring support to the people who need it most.”

Additional attendees included Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, Andie MacDowell, Eva Longoria, Quentin Tarantino, Rose McGowan, and Camila Morrone.