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Tyler Perry makes history with $1M gift to the NAACP

DAA'IYA L. SANUSI | 4/12/2011, 4:40 p.m.

Tyler Perry, arguably the most successful Black filmmaker of the 20th century, has coupled his incredible success with philanthropy and has a long history of supporting programs that help the hungry and the homeless. Now, Perry has made the largest gift by an individual in the history of the organization to the NAACP.

In addition to his donation of $1 million to celebrate the centennial of the NAACP, Perry has purchased several NAACP commissioned Jacob Lawrence lithographs and additional lithographs by internationally acclaimed African-American artists Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam and Jonathan Green.

"I feel so honored and blessed to be in a position where I can give to the NAACP." Perry went on to say, "Had it not been for the perseverance and vision of the thousands who have gone before me in 100 years of this legendary organization, I would not be in the position I am today. I continue to be thankful for the tireless work of the NAACP."

During the NAACP's announcement, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous stated, "Both in his films and in his life, he reflects an impressive ethos of caring and conscientiousness. Tyler Perry exemplifies an unyielding commitment to uplifting and bringing hope to the disenfranchised and those less fortunate. We are deeply grateful for his support."

Jealous noted that Perry's gift will be used to support the Second Century Society advocacy programs for economic equality, education, health care and criminal justice.

"We are honored that Tyler Perry chose to support the NAACP. Tyler is a courageous pioneer bringing positive images of African-American culture and struggles to the screen. His remarkable journey from poverty and childhood abuse to becoming one of the world's most successful filmmakers and entrepreneurs is an inspiration to us all," exclaimed Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP.

The plan is for the gift to be distributed over the next four years. The NAACP is this country's oldest and largest civil rights organization.

Perry added, "I am proud to be able to help in their mission to fight for equality for all people and to work toward the elimination of discrimination."