PAUL NEWMAN’S CHARITABLE LEGACY LIVES ON…
PAUL NEWMAN broached the subject of his philanthropic legacy several years ago while fishing with friends ROBERT FORRESTER and DAVID HORVITZ off the outer banks of North Carolina.
Even though he was a Hollywood icon – a 10 time ACADEMY AWARD nominee known for his sublime performances in THE COLOR OF MONEY, THE VERDICT and ROAD TO PERDITION – it was a rare reflection, in which the great actor thought seriously about how he would be remembered after his death, Mr. Horvitz recalled yesterday.
“Most of the time he didn’t think about legacy. He was pretty much in the moment.”
But PAUL NEWMAN told his companions that he wished to be remembered for THE HOLE IN THE WALL camps he created across the world for children with life threatening illnesses. He also wanted to insure that 100 per cent of the profits from his popular foods company, NEWMAN’S OWN, would continue to benefit the camps and thousands of other charities.
Mr. Horvitz is chair of the ASSOCIATION OF HOLE IN THE WALL CAMPS. There are 11 camps across the globe. PAUL told him that he had been lucky in life, born with piercing blue eyes and a gift for acting. He felt that it was horribly unfair that so many innocent children were burdened with devastating diseases such as AIDS or leukemia.
“He felt a need and an obligation to give back. He loved being there. He loved being with the kids. He loved their smiles and their laughter.”
In 1982, PAUL NEWMAN and writer A.E. HOTCHNER started NEWMAN’S OWN to market PAUL’S original oil and vinegar dressing. It began as a joke and evolved into a multimillion dollar business.
PAUL and the foundation funded by his food company have given more than 250 million dollars to charity over the years. In 2007, 28 million dollars from the sale of pasta sauces, salad dressings, popcorn and other products was distributed to a variety of social causes.
Until two years ago, PAUL NEWMAN had the task of personally distributing the company’s profile. But Mr. Forrester assisted him in setting up a private independent charity – known as NEWMAN’S OWN FOUNDATION – to carry on the work when PAUL was gone. He is now the vice chair of the foundation.
“Really, everything is in great shape. He said, ‘When I’m not here, this foundation is to continue the tradition of giving all of this money away.’ “
Mr. Forrester joked that foresight was never PAUL’S strong point. A sign famously hangs in PAUL’S offices in Westport that states plainly: “If I had a plan I’d be screwed.”
PAUL welcomed the opinions of others as he actively pursued his business and philanthropic efforts. Mr. Forrester explained how PAUL believed in the benefit of “creative chaos.” It’s a way of thinking that has to do with various viewpoints being allowed to flourish. On a movie set, for example, different people offer ideas as to how a scene should be handled.
“That was Paul’s philosophy and it worked. It sounds awful. But it was part of Paul saying that everybody had a voice.”
At Mr. Forrester’s request, PAUL came up with what he wanted the NEWMAN’S OWN company – he hated the word brand – to stand for. PAUL listed quality food, fair labour practices, a mission focused on philanthropy and not profit. He also thought that it was of major importance to have an open environment in the workplace. Not a bureaucratic one.
Mr. Forrester said that they will pursue all of PAUL’S requests.
PAUL’S face will continue to appear on bottles of marinade and boxes of frozen pizza. His wife JOANNE WOODWARD will also still sit on the NEWMAN’S OWN FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
Mr. Forrester remarked that PAUL’S friends at NEWMAN’S OWN plan to look for ways to expand the business in order to carry out PAUL’S wishes and give away even more money.
“We’re stewards of this legacy,” he stated.