GRoW @ Annenberg is the philanthropic initiative led by Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, Vice President and Director of the Annenberg Foundation. It is dedicated to supporting humanitarian efforts across the globe as well as innovative projects in health, education, the arts and civic & cultural life.
Native American Artifacts Returned to Rightful Owners
In December 2013, Gregory directed the Annenberg Foundation’s purchase of 24 sacred Hopi and Apache objects that, against the will of their rightful owners, were being auctioned to the public in France. Among the items were headdresses of great religious significance that the Hopi call katsinam, living spiritual messengers and friends to the Hopi people. After the purchase Gregory promptly returned the objects to Hopi and Apache leaders. The story received global news coverage, including a piece by The New York Times and a segment on The Rachel Maddow Show. In 2014 Gregory used similar means to repatriate a sacred Chugach mask and return it to a representative of Chugach Nation.
As an artist, I was struck by the awesome power and beauty of these objects. But these are not trophies to have on one’s mantel; they are truly sacred works for the Native Americans. They do not belong in auction houses or private collections. It gives me immense satisfaction to know that they will be returned home to their rightful owners, the Native Americans.
Educational Opportunities for Students and Assistance to Families
Recognizing how education can lift families out of poverty and facilitate cultural diplomacy, GRoW @ Annenberg supports programs focused on scholarships for promising students and assistance for families in need.
Over the years Gregory has backed the Scholars Program at One Voice, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit helping low-income students from underserved high schools achieve their dreams of a college degree. GRoW @ Annenberg also supports the efforts of One Voice to provide immediate intervention and relief services to low-income families in crisis situations. Previously, Gregory contributed funds to the Los Angeles Trade Technical College, directing his support to scholarship programs that help students pay their tuition and textbook expenses. Scholarships for Peace By Tourism give Israeli and Palestinian student trainees the opportunity to study together at the Institute Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, where they receive multicultural training to prepare them for careers in the hospitality industry.
Global Humanitarian Efforts and Environmental Concerns
Through an innovative floating hospital launched by the nonprofit Friendship, Gregory funded programs that provide essential primary healthcare services to people living on the riverbanks and “chars” (river islands) of northern Bangladesh. He is also a supporter of the National Parks Foundation, which raises private funds for America’s protected areas and nurtures the connection between national parks and the next generation. Additionally, GRoW @ Annenberg partnered with the Institut Curie on a multi-year grant to establish a laboratory for pediatric oncology research. The lab tests new drugs to combat neuroblastoma, one of the most common forms of childhood cancer.
Arts Patronage and Arts Education
Believing that access to the arts is critical to a healthy society, Gregory has funded a number of arts education programs and special exhibitions. GRoW @ THE WALLIS: A Space for Arts Education is a dedicated wing of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. Through a range of programs and partnerships, it introduces children and their families to the arts and responds to critical needs in the community. GRoW @ Annenberg also gave backing to The Royal Opera House Welcome Performances in London, which invites families to attend their first ballet or opera. GRoW @ Annenberg is an active supporter of many national institutions, as well, including the LA Opera, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the LA Phil and the Getty Center. Additionally, Gregory has supported special exhibitions at venues such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Centre Pompidou and the Grand Palais.