Filmmaker Tyler Perry has donated $1 million to the NAACP to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the civil rights organization.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People says the gift announced last Monday is the largest donation from an individual in the organization’s history.
“I feel so honored and blessed to be in a position where I can give,” Perry said in a statement. “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.”
NAACP leaders say the gift marks a major shift in black philanthropy. They say donations of this size have not typically gone to civil rights groups.
The millionaire and creative force behind the “Madea” film franchise and plays, as well as executive producer of this season’s likely Oscar contender, “Precious,” represents the mission of the NAACP at work, said Chairman Julian Bond.
“We are honored that Tyler Perry chose to support the NAACP,” said Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP. “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.”
The gift, which will be distributed over the next four years, will support advocacy programs on economic equality education, health care and criminal justice.
Maxim Thorne, senior vice president of the NAACP, added, “Tyler Perry is setting a high standard for others to follow.”