30 November 2009
WASHINGTON (NNPA) - The NAACP, the country’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, has announced that acclaimed film director Tyler Perry has donated one million dollars, marking the largest gift ever given by an individual artist.
In addition, Perry purchased several NAACP commissioned Jacob Lawrence lithographs and additional lithographs by celebrated artists Jonathan Green, Elizabeth Catlett and Sam Gilliam. The gift was made to commemorate the organization’s Centennial anniversary, according to a release.
“Tyler Perry exemplifies an unyielding commitment to uplifting and bringing hope to the disenfranchised and those less fortunate,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, “Both in his films and in his life, he reflects an impressive ethos of caring and conscientiousness. We are deeply grateful for his support.”
NAACP Chairman Julian Bond also applauded the gift. “We are honored that Tyler Perry chose to support the NAACP,” said Bond. “Tyler is a courageous pioneer in bringing positive images of African-American culture and struggles to the screen. His remarkable journey from poverty and childhood abuse to become one of the world’s most successful filmmakers and entrepreneurs is an inspiration to us all.” Perry expressed that it was the least he could do.
“I feel so honored and blessed to be in a position where I can give to the NAACP.” Perry said. “Had it not been for the perseverance and vision of the thousands who came before me in the 100 years of this legendary organization, I would not be in the position I am in today. I continue to be thankful for the tireless work of the NAACP, and I am proud to be able to help in their mission to fight for the equality of all people, and to work towards the elimination of discrimination against race.”
NAACP stalwarts sees Perry as a standard bearer in giving.
“This is a paradigm shifting moment in Black philanthropy. Here is a civil rights organization that is receiving a donation that is usually targeted only at education or cultural institutions. Tyler Perry is setting a high standard for others to follow,” said Maxim Thorne, Senior Vice President of the NAACP.
Jealous says the money will be well-used toward the advancement of Black progress.
He said, “The generous gift by Tyler Perry will be used to support our Second Century Society advocacy programs on economic equality, education, health care and criminal justice."