Ariadne Getty Gives $1 Million to Glaad
The LGBTQ community is close to the philanthropist's heart.
Ariadne Getty knows intimately the power of storytelling to shape perception. Plenty of stories have been told about her famous family, including the new Ridley Scott film All the Money in the World, which centers around her brother John Paul Getty III's kidnapping and her grandfather's very public standoff over the ransom.
As Getty herself noted during a recent interview with T&C, this particular story has "painted our family as only obsessed with wealth." And that's not the complete picture: "That’s not the way that I raised my children," she says. "And we weren’t raised that way."
Now Getty is putting her considerable financial resources to work to change a narrative—though this one has nothing to do with her family name. In 2018, she will make a $1 million donation to help fund the Glaad Media Institute, which works with newsmakers, journalists, and members of the Hollywood community to make sure that LGBQT stories are being told, as well as providing training to LGBTQ individuals and advocates on how to tell their stories, and putting out an annual report to evaluate the current state of LGBTQ acceptance in America.
While Getty has long been aware of the issues involving acceptance in the LGBTQ community, she felt compelled to get involved when her two children, Natalia and August, came out. "When you have two gay children, you live in fear," she says.
Too many young people still feel isolated and stigmatized—even frightened—if they don't identify as heterosexual and cisgender, says Getty. "How many young kids come out and within days are left with nothing and have nowhere to go? If you see enough of that, it leaves a lasting impression," she says. "The goal is to educate as many people as we can, to really get the message of acceptance out there."
Getty hopes her gift will help to change hearts and minds, so that kids won't end up on the streets in the first place.
"It’s a very generous gift, and we’re very grateful for it," Glaad president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said of the Ariadne Getty Foundation's donation. "We want to be able to tell as many LGBTQ stories as possible because we know that when people hear these personal stories, it changes hearts and minds. We’re in the not-for-profit business of changing culture, so this gift enables to really scale that operation up in a meaningful and impactful way."
Getty, who is now in her 50s, really started to focus on philanthropy when she was in her 20s, when she discovered how personally fulfilling the work could be. "It’s kind of like a catching disease. You help one person and you realize you’re changing a life," she says.
Initially, Getty spread her money and her time widely, before realizing that sizable donations of both money and time can be more effective. She eventually narrowed her focus, primarily supporting two causes that are close to her heart: LGBTQ-related organizations such as Glaad and the United Nations foundation, which helps the UN to solve global problems like climate change and women's health issues.
"I would encourage anyone who is in the philanthropic world to really invest their time, not just money, because it helps you define where you want to go, how you want to help," Getty says. "I used to always do restricted donations, now I make unrestricted donations because I believe that whether it’s Glaad or the United Nations foundation, they know better what to do with the funds than I do. But I really only understood that from going in the field and in the boardroom. It's been a road of growth."
She also changed the name of her foundation from the Fuserna Foundation to the Ariadne Getty Foundation. "I didn’t want it to be lost that this is my family, which I love more than anything in the world," she said. "I’m not hiding in the shadows under a name that doesn’t really mean anything. I'm front and center with the LGBTQ community to say this community needs help now."
For more information on Glaad, including how you can get involved, visit glaad.org.