Donors Who Helped Protect Cahuenga Peak Honored

The donors who donated money to help The Trust for Public Land protect Cahuenga Peak, home of the world-famous Hollywood Sign, were honored today in a ceremony atop the peak, with its stunning views of the Los Angeles basin.

Two years ago, The Trust for Public Land bought 138 acres behind and above the Hollywood Sign and added the land to Griffith Park. The property had been on the market, for sale as trophy homes.

“We were successful, but this success was only possible because people and companies stepped up and helped protect this amazing place,” said Sam Hodder, California Director of The Trust for Public Land. “This success would not have been possible without the support of the City of Los Angeles, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, Aileen Getty, Hugh M. Hefner, the State of California, and thousand of others worldwide. Now, this property is available for use by everyone who lives here, and will always provide the green, natural backdrop for the Hollywood sign.”

At the ceremony near Cahuenga Peak, a boulder was unveiled, highlighting the public and private donations which helped The Trust for Public Land meets the goal of raising $12.5 million for the project.

Two separate boulders were also dedicated, marking the donation of $1 million by Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, and the donation of $1.25 million by Aileen Getty of Los Angeles.

In addition, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation also donated $1.25 million, and was an early supporter of the project.

Hollywood leaders donated $3.2 million, including major donations from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, CBS Corporation, The Walt Disney Company Foundation, The Entertainment Industry Foundation, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, the Lucasfilm Foundation, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Steven Spielberg, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Time Warner Inc. Other Hollywood contributors include Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and Norman Lear.

The Carl W. Johnson Foundation was also a major donor to the effort. In addition, there was a groundswell of support for the project in Los Angeles, with local residents holding rallies, bake sales, and fund-raising concerts on the Sunset Strip. On Facebook, more than 27,000 supporters signed up. Viral videos have chronicled the partnership’s efforts.

In April, 2009, TPL signed an option to buy the 138 acres behind, and to the left, of the sign’s “H”, stretching west to Cahuenga Peak. The land was originally bought in 1940 by industrialist Howard Hughes who intended to build a home for his girlfriend, actress Ginger Rogers. But the relationship ended and after Hughes died, his estate sold the property in 2002 to a group of Chicago investors. They put the property on the market in 2008 for $22 million. It had been zoned to build four luxury homes.

The Trust for Public Land protects land for people to enjoy as parks, playgrounds and natural areas. It is the nation’s leader in creating local funds for conservation and building parks and playgrounds in cities across the country.