Sally and George Hauptfuhrer at the 2014 Awards Gala
Why We Give:
A Family Affair: Continuing a Legacy of Giving
Behind the scenes with Sally & George Hauptfuhrer
PGF-USA:How long have you supported the Princess Grace Foundation-USA?
George:Sally and I hosted an event before the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, which Prince Albert attended, and close to $50,000 was raised. But the real origin of our family’s relationship with the princely family goes back to my father, who was friends with Grace Kelly growing up in Philadelphia in the 1940s. I became friends with Prince Albert at a summer camp in 1970 and the next summer I spent time with his family in Monaco.
PGF-USA: What inspired you both to endow the Awards winner luncheon and dinner?
Sally: We have attended the Awards Gala for since 1996, and it’s always a glamorous evening. But when Toby invited us to host a dinner with Award winners before the Gala, it gave us a new perspective, a more intimate relationship. It gave us a close look at how much the awards meant to these artists. A lot of them wouldn’t be able to pursue their career aspirations without this support. You really realize the important work the Foundation is doing by nurturing these young artists. It’s given us joy to be involved in this way.
PGF-USA: Have our Awards winner’s work had an impact on you?
George: In the last few years we have seen several remarkable plays that involved Award winners, including the Trip to Bountiful that was directed by recipient Michael Wilson and starred Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams, and Cuba Gooding. We also enjoyed Of Mice and Men directed by recipient Anna Shapiro, who also directed another one I saw in Chicago called Up, which was written by Award winner Bridget Carpenter and, Leap of Faith starred recipient Leslie Odom. At the 2014 Awards Gala we met Statue Winner Oscar Isaac, who is starring in two upcoming films: A Most Violent Year, with Jessica Chastain, and Star Wars: Episode VII. So yes, bringing it to that personal level is very cool.
PGF-USA: Why is it important to give to the Princess Grace Foundation-USA?
George: We believe a strong performing arts program is part of a healthy society. The arts enhance our culture by touching our emotions and making us think about a wide variety of topics. It’s more challenging today for these young artists to get the financial support they need to further their careers. So, in our case, we appreciate not only the opportunity to attend the Gala and make an annual contribution, but also to leave a legacy of support through the endowment.
Sally: I look at these Award winners like they could be our children. They are so impressive, and we are so happy for them. It’s very rewarding to play a small part in their career development, fulfilling Princess Grace’s vision.
PGF-USA: Do you think there’s a personal satisfaction in seeing these artists grow over time?
George: Definitely. The introduction of the Statue Award, that was introduced a few years ago, was a great addition to the overall awards because it recognizes those artists that have really done well in their careers. Actor Oscar Isaac is the latest example of someone that is doing really well that we as a Foundation help launch and who is hitting his full stride.
Sally: I love the fact that it’s not just dance, it’s not just drama. But it’s costume design, it’s puppetry, lighting—these disciplines wouldn’t get funding unless you were there. I just think it’s a real spectrum of artists who can get help and it’s wonderful.
George: I guess there’s an analogy in that in the same number of people that takes behind the scenes to produce a successful play or film or ballet. It takes that many supporters for the Princess Grace Foundation-USA to continue to make grants that total approximately $1 million per year to support all of these emerging artists that need financial support.
PGF-USA: The Princess Grace Foundation-USA really strives to create a family for our Awards winners. How do you think that sets us apart from other arts foundations?
George: It’s great that the Foundation keeps in close touch with all of the previous Awards winners. Previous winners help encourage new candidates to apply for awards. It snowballs in a very favorable direction in that we can get more and more applicants, which means the caliber remains extremely high. It becomes a large family where these recipients get to know each other in the year that they get the award, but then in most cases stay in touch over years and some actually work together.
Sally: It’s support system of artists supporting artists.
George: It’s also a family with respect to attendees who attend the Gala. You see the same faces at least when the Awards Gala is in New York. Taking the event to Beverly Hills this year was great because we saw a lot of newer faces and a lot energy there. I think we will return to the LA area before long. I know everyone is looking forward to the Foundation to having its 2015 Awards Gala in Monaco!