The Hollywood Radio and Television Society (HRTS) on June 7 announced the launch of The HRTS Foundation, a new standalone charitable organization with a mission to launch and nurture careers of TV and entertainment professionals and creatives from underrepresented groups.
The foundation was developed by the HRTS board of directors, and its launch was timed to coincide with the networking, education and mentorship organization’s 75th anniversary.
Netflix, Lionsgate, the Universal Studio Group, and Weintraub Tobin are among the inaugural sponsors of The HRTS Foundation.
“We share a common passion across our leadership and membership for creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive industry,” said Odetta Watkins, HRTS board president and head of drama series for Amazon Studios. “Relationship-building, mentorship and education have always been at the heart of what HRTS stands for. With the launch of The HRTS Foundation, we are adding another way our community can work together to have a real impact on shaping the industry’s future.”
The foundation’s primary initiative in its first year will be The HRTS Fellowship Program, which matches HRTS Fellows with an HRTS executive “sponsor.” The sponsor will provide support, guidance and introductions to people, companies and inner workings of the TV and entertainment industry. Fellows will also receive a guaranteed spot in the highly reputable HRTS Mentorship Program; complimentary trade subscriptions; a one-year HRTS membership at their corresponding career level (HRTS Academic or Junior HRTS) and tickets to HRTS events, including the December Gala, among other benefits. The opening of applications for The HRTS Fellowship Program will be announced this summer.
The HRTS Foundation will be overseen by a board of directors and officers selected by the Foundation Committee formed by the HRTS board to launch The Foundation. Newly named officers and directors are President Philippe Maigret (president, ITV Studios America); Chairperson Melissa Grego (CEO, HRTS); Secretary Robin Schwartz (executive producer); and Treasurer David Acosta (SVP and team leader, entertainment, City National Bank). They also serve as directors, along with Scott Hervey (shareholder, Weintraub Tobin); Jordan Levin (GM, Rooster Teeth); Gary Marenzi (founder/CEO, Marenzi & Associates); Watkins; and HRTS Board Chairperson Dan Erlij (partner and co-head, Television Literary Department, United Talent Agency).
The HRTS is planning a key fundraising event for The HRTS Foundation, a 75th Anniversary Gala at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills,Calif., set for the evening of Dec. 7, 2022.