What the Fund Does Best

October 25, 2011

A note from Bob Beitcher: To many of you who are already familiar with the Fund and its many good works, Ken Scherer needs no introduction. He has played an instrumental role in guiding the Fund’s philanthropic activities for 16 years and has led us into many new and exciting areas. For me, he is not only a dear personal friend, but also the guy who first reached out to me to say “can you do something to help the Fund?” At first, it was just providing some technical services through companies I was managing, but you know how it works…. Pretty soon it was much bigger, much more personal, AND much more rewarding.

Today, he stepping in to write a guest blog post about MPTF’s alignment with Rebuilding Together and a particularly special project we have coming up. Thanks Ken!

Sixteen years ago I was “in between” projects as a television producer when I got a call from a friend telling me about the fundraising position at MPTF. Having been Director of Development for AFI in the late 1980’s, I really didn’t want to leave producing, but since I had bills to pay I thought I would pursue this job, if nothing else until I could get a script sold on my next project. Sound familiar to anyone out there?

I knew very little about MPTF at the time, but that changed quickly. I had known the highs of success and the pain of the lows that are common in the entertainment industry. Little did I know that this was preparing me to understand and embrace the Fund’s mission of caring for our own.

I have had the privilege of serving this organization since 1995. As CEO of the MPTF Foundation I have been fortunate to see the very best of people who see their careers in film and television not as a job but a way of life.

Five years ago I was introduced to a national organization called Rebuilding Together and was immediately drawn to the charitable mission of “bringing volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of homeowners in need.” It was at a time that MPTF was looking to bring more services to “our own” living in their own communities with a focus on seniors. This was the perfect match – a national organization focused on activating volunteer energy with model programs to serve the elderly and other home bound people in need.

MPTF has a wonderful legacy of volunteer involvement and an industry built on crafts and trade skills and the spirit of brotherhood and “family” that is at the heart and soul of those working in film and television. And so, an alignment was formed between MPTF and Rebuilding Together to better serve our entertainment community, just as Rebuilding Together does in over 200 other communities nationwide. I am proud to serve on the National Board of Trustees of Rebuilding Together where, in 2010, over 10,000 unduplicated projects were completed across the country with over 200,000 volunteers.

For MPTF the emerging service is our home safety assessments – our team will conduct about 120 this year alone. Based on these assessments, volunteers and staff go to work repairing flooring or replacing carpeting to prevent falls, widening doorways to allow for the use of walkers, equipping bathrooms with grips and handle bars for safety, or even more extensive projects like building wheelchair ramps or providing other more major improvements. And, every now and then, a project comes along that is bigger in scope and even bigger in meaning.

Such will be the case on the weekend of November 12th and 13th. MPTF/Rebuilding Together will be painting the house of a member of Local 399. Rather than me tell you the story, please watch this video to hear the story of George Herthel.

We have been heartened by the response to this video with over 50 volunteers already signing up and others who can’t work offering donations for paint and equipment. This is what the Fund does best and has been doing since its inception in 1921. It marshals the resources of the industry workforce for the betterment of someone in need. Sometimes it is through cash donation, while other times it is the old fashion spirit of lending a neighbor a helping hand. In this case the neighbor is a member of the family – our entertainment family. Men and women from all parts of the industry will be volunteering their time and painting skills to brighten a home and fulfill a wish of one of our own at the time of his greatest need.

No more needs to be said – please join us if you can. I know from experience you will be the better for it. Click here to RSVP.

About Ken Scherer

During his nineteen years as CEO of the MPTF Foundation, Ken Scherer has worked closely with Foundation Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg in raising more than $500 Million for the charitable programs and services of the entertainment industry’s charity. This includes the creation of the Night Before, Evening Before, Michael Douglas & Friends Celebrity Golf, A Fine Romance and Reel Stories Real/Lives - events that raise millions of dollars annually for MPTF. Scherer is a Founding Board member of the NFL Player Care Foundation appointed by the NFL Commissioner and was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACSCAN). Scherer previously served as the COO of Lynch/Frost Productions (Twin Peaks).

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