Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Launches Friends of the Walk of Fame Program to Raise...
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Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Launches Friends of the Walk of Fame Program to Raise Funds for Preservation of the Hollywood Walk of Fame ABSOLUT(R) VODKA is first contributor and receives Friend of the Walk of Fame honorary star As the creator and guardian of the historic Walk, Chamber is leading the restoration program in preparation for the 50th anniversary in 2010 HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--(Business Wire)-- To ensure the legacy of one of Hollywood's most recognizable icons, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has created the Friends of the Walk of Fame initiative to secure contributions for the restoration of the historic Walk of Fame before its 50th anniversary in two years. The goal of the Friends of the Walk of Fame is to fund the private sector portion of the more than $4 million restoration program and complete the work prior to the celebration in 2010. "The founders of the Walk of Fame could not have imagined that the creation of a sidewalk of stars would become a top attraction that draws millions of visitors from around the world each year. It is a treasured piece of Hollywood and it is our deeply felt responsibility to provide for its preservation into the future," said Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Sizable donations from corporate supporters will be acknowledged with a Friend of the Walk of Fame honorary star, a new terrazzo piece that will be placed in the sidewalk, on private property, adjacent to the Walk of Fame. The Chamber today presented ABSOLUT(R) VODKA with the first honorary star which will be located near the entrance to the Kodak Theatre, part of Hollywood & Highland Center on Hollywood Boulevard. Future honorary stars may be located in the same area or the Chamber may work with other private property owners with frontage along the Walk of Fame for additional installations. "Absolut Vodka stepped up to show support for Hollywood and the Walk of Fame and we are grateful for its contribution. As with any major fundraising effort, we want to publicly acknowledge and highlight the generosity of our donors. The Friend of the Walk of Fame honorary star is a fitting tribute. It is complementary to, and aligned with, the Walk of Fame, but is clearly separate and distinctly different from the entertainment industry stars," noted Gubler. The city and county of Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are evaluating sources of potential funds that each may be able to offer to the restoration work. "Financial support from public agencies for the Walk's preservation would be greatly appreciated but it is clear that no one group or entity can provide all the money that is needed. Private contributions are vital to filling the funding gap," Gubler added. "There is interest from other organizations in being a 'Friend' and we look forward to adding to our Friends of the Walk of Fame." The Hollywood Walk of Fame began with the installation of a few demonstration stars in August 1958, the first of which was dedicated to actor Preston Foster. It was officially launched in November 1960. Today the Walk features 2,365 stars in the categories of television, radio, live theatre, motion pictures and recording. The Walk of Fame ceremonies draw international media attention and throngs of people to catch a glimpse of a favorite celebrity or Hollywood industry leader. It is one of the top tourist draws in Los Angeles and most recognizable images of Hollywood, along with the Hollywood sign that also is entrusted to the care and management of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Hollywood Sign Trust. In the mid-1970s the Chamber led an effort to repair the Hollywood sign that was then tattered and falling down. This successful program also relied on private donations. "The Chamber has the staff and the resources to manage this important program. The Hollywood Historic Trust oversees the care of the Walk. Under the leadership of the late Johnny Grant, individual star repairs have been made over the years but there is a lot of work to be done. The Trust has set aside money from the Walk of Fame star ceremonies for the larger restoration needed, but these funds fall short of the $4 - 5 million needed. We value the Chamber's leadership in meeting the fundraising challenges through initiatives such as the Friends of the Walk of Fame," said Christi Van Cleve, vice president, Hollywood Historic Trust. The Chamber is developing plans for the 50th anniversary celebration of the historic Walk of Fame for November 2010. No announcements are expected with regard to specific events until late 2009. Casey Sayre & Williams Karen Diehl, 310-396-2400 or Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Ana Martinez-Holler, 323-468-1376 Copyright Business Wire 2008
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