NET WORTH: $600 million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Director, Writer, Producer
FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Human Services & Economic Empowerment, Religious
OVERVIEW: The Tyler Perry Foundation seeks to transform "tragedy into triumph by empowering economically disadvantaged youth, seniors, and families to overcome adversity by achieving a better quality of life." The foundation has a website, though it is limited. The organization does accept unsolicited proposals, however. Grantmaking involves a handful of organizations annually, with grantees located through the country, though Atlanta and Los Angeles are important locations.
BACKGROUND: Born in 1969 in Louisiana, Tyler Perry suffered a difficult childhood. He dropped out of high school but later received his GED. Perry started a series of letters to himself, which became the basis for the musical I Know I've Been Changed which debuted in Atlanta in 1992. His 2000 play, I Can Do Bad All by Myself brought to life the character Madea. Perry has also developed several television shows, including House of Payne, and acted in films as well.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: Tyler Perry via his foundation has supported organizations like Bridge Da Gap Movement, which uses music to enhance the social and emotional development of youth; Sheltering Arms, which provides early child care and education; Creative Experience Education Center in Los Angeles; and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which is dedicated to "providing inner city youth across New York City with significant exposure to the arts, as well as to supporting emerging artists with exhibition opportunities."
HUMAN SERVICES: Past grantees include New Image Emergency Shelter in Long Beach, California; Cascade Community Services, Atlanta Community Food Bank, and Hosea Feed the Hungry Foundation in Atlanta, which has received especially strong support.
RELIGIOUS: Perry's Christian faith is well-known and reflected in his media. Perry also supports religious institutions through his foundation. Grantees include Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Missouri, New Commandment Christian Church, Fort Street United Methodist Church, and St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in the Los Angeles area.
LOOKING FORWARD: Only in his 40s, Perry is still very much engaged in business. But the fact that he is already making modest grants bodes well for the future. The foundation's new website also lists interests in clean water, agriculture, girls and women's rights, technology, and globally-sustainable economic development. Apart from the Tyler Perry Foundation, Perry may have other more direct avenues of grantmaking, and important grants may be missing from this rundown.
The foundation provides minimal guidelines, though does state that requests for funding should be sent in written form to this address:
Tyler Perry Foundation, Inc
541 10th St., Ste. 140
Atlanta, GA 30318