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Like many MPTF supporters, Courtenay Valenti’s first exposure came in the form of a visit to The Wasserman Campus. Of course, Courtenay, an executive vice president of development and production at Warner Bros. Pictures, had heard about MPTF many times from Edi Wasserman, but it was Kevin McCormick, the principle at Langley Park Pictures, who first brought her to the campus.
In a similar fashion, Kevin also learned about MPTF through a visit. When his partner, Scott Berg, wrote a book about Sam Goldwyn, they visited the campus in Woodland Hills and, as Kevin says, “that got us involved and from there we became addicted to MPTF.”
Courtenay and Kevin have more in common than just being MPTF supporters, of course. It was during one of their visits to MPTF that they met with foundation CEO Ken Scherer and Karen Rosenfelt, the principle at Sunswept entertainment to hatch a new plan to engage the next generation of Hollywood in giving back through Reel Stories, Real Lives event. Courtenay and Kevin, who worked together at Warner Bros. for years sat down with us to share why they love giving back.
Every year, MPTF hosts its annual Reel Stories, Real Lives event in which well-known talent in entertainment tell the stories of MPTF residents and people MPTF has helped through the years. The event helps shine a light on the services MPTF offers to people who work in the entertainment industry, and Courtenay, Kevin, and Karen are some of the event’s key producers.
“Part of the idea was that we all go to too many sit-down chicken dinners,” says Courtenay. “We wanted to create a more entertaining and dynamic evening for the next generation. We wanted to enlist extraordinary writers and amazing actors to read the stories and really engage the audience.”
“We try to bring out the next generation of Hollywood’s leaders,” adds Kevin, “and we think of it as more of a friend raiser for MTPF than a fund raiser.”
The original Reel Stories, Real Lives event was created in part by Kevin Spacey, but now it has a new spin that looks to engage a younger generation of people in entertainment. Courtenay and Kevin support MPTF beyond Reel Stories, Real Lives as well and often visit the campus to help with such projects as painting The Ray and Fran Stark Villas.
“We got the Stark Villa painted in about three mornings, and a lot of those people came to RSRL and we were able to turn them out because it might be easier for them to give a few hours than write a check,” says Courtenay. “We really feel these opportunities help glue another generation to the fund,” says Kevin. “And that’s what we want to educate people about. A lot of people just think of The Wasserman Campus but don’t realize all the other services MPTF offers. It’s a safety net, supported by other entertainment industry people.”
Courtenay says the next step is to continue educating people—young and old—about the fund, which both do regularly through their enthusiasm for MPTF.
“We’re incredibly passionate about the fund. We want to imbue others with that same enthusiasm for the organization,” says Courtenay.
“It’s our mission to educate people,” says Kevin. “MPTF is a living legacy that helps more than 50,000 people each year. We have an obligation to be a family for one another and understand that if you have a bit more, you need to help those with a bit less. Not many industries provide in the same way we do for our own. At our stage, it’s time to give back.”
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