Reflecting on Our Core Values

October 13, 2014

Jean Hersholt, Mary Pickford, and William Pereira at the Motion Picture Relief Fund Wasserman Campus groundbreaking.

This time of year in the Jewish faith is a time of reflection.  The new year (in the Jewish calendar) is coming in and as Jews  are given a period of time to take a look at our lives, to assess whether the promises we made in the past year were kept, whether we are happy with our behavior toward others, and we are given the opportunity to forgive ourselves and others for past mistakes and to move on into the new year with a clean slate.  In the liturgy it says, “We turn behind to see where we have come from.  We turn within to see where we are now.  We turn ahead to see where we are going.  We turn and re-turn, ever dancing on the spiral of renewal.”

I think this whole process of reflection is universal, not just limited to the Jewish faith, and is amazingly healthy and beneficial for everyone.  It’s a part of the annual cycle that I find personally challenging and enriching.   As an organization, MPTF has been going through an extended period of reflection as we focus on charting our course for the future.  We can look back to very recent times, when we operated 5 health centers prior to the transition to UCLA Health, and even further back to our founding, when we were the “Motion Picture Relief Fund” and provided many small grants of financial assistance to individuals in the very early days of the motion picture industry in Hollywood.  Of course since then we have expanded the community we serve (including television) and the services and programs we provide (adding our campus in Woodland Hills in the early 1940s with independent and assisted living, long-term care and memory care and more recently a host of community-based programs) in an attempt to keep ahead of the needs of the workers and their families in our ever-changing and always challenging industry.

The struggle we all have (whether it’s an individual or an organization like MPTF) with reflecting on “where we are going” is that our world itself is constantly changing, forcing us to set and re-set our own course, adapt or face the possibility of getting left behind.  And predicting the future…. Well, you know how that goes!  So where does that leave us?  I think it leaves us with our core values and relationships, our life’s ballast, and with the constant need to self-monitor to confirm that these, among all things, are clear in our heads and in our actions.  The “spiral of renewal” and the turning and re-turning can make us dizzy – life as a roller coaster is the image that comes to mind – but our central stabilization system , the values and people that we hold onto with ferocity and tenderness, are what gets us through life.

MPTF volunteers help paint the Fran and Ray Stark Villa.

At MPTF we know what those are, starting with “taking care of our own” by striving to make certain that all industry members live safely and well and have the opportunity to age with dignity and purpose and by being there to catch them when this becomes difficult or impossible.   The manifestations of those values, how we programmatically address them on our campus and in the community, will undoubtedly change over time, as they have in the past, as will who we consider to be part of the industry we serve.  But the underlying purpose and commitment of MPTF won’t.   Not with your continued support and participation, your generosity in giving both your time and financial gifts, your advocacy and sustaining spirit.  We hope these are part of your core values and together we can continue to make a difference in this wonderful industry of ours.

About Bob Beitcher

Bob Beitcher is the President and CEO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. He has been a senior executive in the entertainment industry for 30 years, having held leadership roles at Jim Henson Productions, Paramount Pictures, Panavision and MacAndrews & Forbes Media Group. Bob has been an MPTF board member since 2007. He became interim CEO in 2010 and was named permanent CEO in 2011.

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