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Donor Story

"Films are history. Our motivation to preserve and restore them is because society's future is always going to be based on elements of its past, good and bad."
~ Barbara Roisman Cooper and Marty Cooper

Preserving the Past for the Future

The year was 1960, and it all started at the Daily Bruin. Barbara Roisman, an English and History major, was the women's editor. Marty Cooper, an English and Journalism major, was the editor. One day, Barbara spotted an announcement for a Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearsal, and she invited Marty.

Just like in a romantic movie, there were many more dates, graduation, and a happy ending. Marty recalls, "On a Saturday morning, I took my last final, Econ 113, and on Monday morning, I went to work at Disneyland as an editorial supervisor." With equal pace, Barbara promptly started a career in television commercials with advertising agencies.

This high-energy pair soon got married and moved to Santa Ana, closer to Marty's job, while Barbara made a career switch, obtained teaching credentials to teach high school English. She went on to become the first film history teacher in the Los Angeles School District.

A lifelong passion - Movies had already become a passion for Barbara and Marty, amplified by Marty's public relations work on behalf of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "A movie is a learning experience, whether it is about the fashion of the time, or women's lives, or the economics of a certain period," Barbara explains.

Building a legacy - "When it came time to review estate plans, the question was not 'should we leave something to UCLA,' It was, 'where and how much.' UCLA has been in our lives for a long time. My involvement stretches from being a student to teaching at UCLA Extension for the past 30 years," Marty explains. Their common passion for film preservation drove their choice: They would leave a transformative gift through their trust to the UCLA Film & Television Archive, a renowned treasure trove of over 350,000 motion pictures, 160,000 television programs, and 27 million feet of newsreel footage, second only to the Library of Congress.

In concert with their bequest, each year they fund the restoration or preservation of one film. "Marty chooses a film one year, and I choose the next year," Barbara explains. "The first year, I picked a newsreel about the foundation of Israel," Marty continues, "Barbara likes silent film, so the Archive staff showed her what they have from the 20s and 30s, and she picked." While Barbara agrees that when preparing a will or trust, one thinks about protecting loved ones, she says, "I really feel that if we don't take care of these films, that history will be gone. So this is a loved one, too!"


Read the latest news from campus: How campus units are collaborating to provide PPE for medical staff • UCLA researchers and global effort to test therapies • A summary of the "CARES Act" Congress signed into law and Gift Planning news. read more

New Tax Law Changes with the CARES Act

Congress recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that includes several charitable tax provisions to encourage giving. These include:

  • A new deduction for donors who do not itemize when filing their tax returns. If you do not itemize but make a cash gift to charity, you will be allowed to take a special tax deduction, up to $300, to reduce your tax liability.
  • An increase in the deduction limit up to 100% of a donor's annual income for cash gifts (previously the deduction was capped at 60% of annual income). If you make a gift, you will be able to deduct more this year.

If you are interested in learning more about these opportunities, please contact UCLA's Gift Planning team at 800-737-8252 or at giftplanning@support.ucla.edu. Please also let us know how we can help you during this time.