A $35 million care center to be named after screen legend Kirk Douglas will be built at the Motion Picture Television Fund campus in Woodland Hills to help Hollywood industry members struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.
Construction on the two story Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion will begin next year and will include a garden for 80 industry members struggling with Alzheimer’s as well as those with long-term skilled nursing care needs.
Douglas, who turned 99 on Wednesday, and his wife have donated $15 million toward the project.
“We are grateful to Kirk and Anne for making this leadership gift of $15 million,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chairman of the MPTF Foundation in a statement. “It will kick the design and planning of this incredible new facility into high gear.”
Douglas wanted to formally donate the funds on his birthday, Katzenberg said.
“With their recent commitment to MPTF, Kirk and Anne Douglas are some of the largest donors in the history of MPTF giving, with over $40 million of lifetime philanthropy,” Katzenberg said. “We will never be able to thank them enough for all that they have done.”
The pavilion will allow the Motion Picture Television Fund to expand its services and will house Harry’s Haven, an Alzheimer’s unit that was created by the Douglas family in 1992.
“Kirk was visionary when in 1992 he recognized the implications of dealing with Alzheimer’s not only for those directly impacted but for their family members as well,” Bob Beitcher, MPTF President and CEO, said in a statement. “MPTF is honored to be a part of the legacy of caring for our own that Kirk Douglas embodies by his words and his actions.”
The nonprofit Motion Picture & Television Fund was founded in 1921 by movie pioneers Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith. The intention was to provide services to members and family within the film industry. The group has operated several outpatient health centers throughout greater Los Angeles, a children’s center, a retirement community and health plans.
In a statement, Douglas said he and his wife Anne created Harry’s Haven because they wanted to help families in the entertainment community struggling to care for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
“What MPTF has done at Harry’s Haven over the past 25 years never ceases to amaze me,” Douglas said in the statement. “We wanted visitors as well as patients to experience a warm and loving environment, and MPTF has fulfilled our wishes admirably.
“When Jeffrey Katzenberg explained the urgency of enlarging the current facility to accommodate more patients, we had to say yes! Jeffrey knows it is our philosophy to provide funding where it is needed most. The Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion is going to help a lot of families in our community.”