Every year, on the occasion of the installation of the new president and officers, the HFPA awards grants to a variety of entertainment-related charities. In August of 2015 the HFPA gave away more than $2 million in donations during a gala dinner packed with stars and surprises at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
The amount tops last year's contributions of more than $1.9 million and brings the total amount given away by the HFPA to $21.6 million over the last 25 years. Among those who had benefited in the past from the donations were 1,329 students who received scholarships which had allowed them to pursue their dreams; 92 films had been restored, including the original King Kong and A Fistful of Dollars; and youngsters from East L.A to East Africa had all had their lives changed for the better. "We are proud to say we have made a difference in many lives," says HFPA president Lorenzo Soria. "The Golden Globes may be the most high-profile of the HFPA's activities, but our support for cultural non-profits has engaged the passionate commitment of every one of our members." Contributions made by the HFPA aid a wide range of projects, including the preservation of films, higher education, training and mentoring and the promotion of cultural exchange through cinema.
Among the organizations and individuals who have benefited from the HFPA's donations and grants including Outfest, the L.A Conservancy, L.A. City College and the Motion Picture and Television Fund.
This past August a host of stars, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Lady Gaga, Andrew Garfield, Halle Berry, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Benicio del Toro, Ice Cube, Elizabeth Banks and Jane Fonda were on hand to accept the checks on behalf of the charities. The glittering evening began with a surprise performance from Nick Jonas who, accompanied by five musicians, sang Wonderful World. He then introduced Jamie Lee Curtis, who co-stars with him in the TV series Scream Queens and who accepted the first checks on behalf of Children's Hospital ($25,000), St. Jude's and the Lollipop Theater ($20,000). She said the HFPA was a little older than she is but it had been fun to see it develop alongside her.
She was followed by Halle Berry who announced she was 49 the next day and accepted checks for Globalgirl Media ($10,000) and Film Aid ($60,000). Lady Gaga received a big round of applause and raised laughter when she confessed she had just snorted a piece of olive up her nose. She accepted checks for the Music Center ($5,000) and Young Musicians Foundation ($10,000). "Let's make young people feel good about themselves," she said. Jane Fonda, who appeared in Barefoot in the Park and The Electric Horseman with Robert Redford, paid tribute to the actor's commitment to the art of film and accepted a check for the Sundance Institute and for Women Make Films.
Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro, who star together in Sicario, teamed up on stage for American Cinematheque, AFI and the UCLA and NY film schools, although both had trouble reading the Teleprompter, drawing laughter from the audience and applause when they finished. Other stars who had earlier walked the red carpet for the benefit of the phalanx of photographers and TV crews and who teamed up on stage to accept donations included Ice Cube and O'Shea Jackson; Sarah Silverman and John Kraskinski; Topher Grace and Dakota Johnson; Allison Janney and Ty Burrell; Elizabeth Banks and Jon Hamm ; Saoirse Ronan and Andrew Garfield; America Ferrera and Jason Isaacs; Sophia Bush and Zachary Levi; Joe Manganiello and Brie Larson; Jack Huston and John Boyega.
A total of 55 organizations received amounts ranging from $5,000 to $350,000 during the evening. In May the HFPA announced its largest donation ever, pledging $2 million to the Los Angeles City College Foundation for the college's cinema and television department, something Bryan Cranston paid tribute to during the evening as he accepted the check. Historically the Film Foundation has received the largest single donation and this year received $350,000 which was accepted by Jake Gyllenhaal on behalf of Martin Scorsese who created the foundation 25 years ago. Among other donations, the UCLA film school received $125,00, the L.A. County Museum of Art $125,000 and Film Aid International and Cal State Long Beach, Los Angeles and Northridge $60,000 each. In the Special Projects category, the Children's Hospital received $25,000; the Lollipop Theater Network, which provides screenings for children in hospital, $20,000; the Young Storytellers Foundation and Young Musicians Foundation, $10,000 each. Streetlights, which works to bring ethnic diversity to the behind-the-camera world of feature films, television and commercial production through job training, job placement and networking opportunities, received $10,000.
Over the years, the grants event has evolved into almost a mini-Globes with its own red carpet arrivals and a roster of high profile stars showing up to accept not statuettes but sizable checks from the HFPA on behalf of the wide range of charities.