Perry ranked third among the world’s highest-paid entertainers by Forbes and will pay the back property taxes for 300 low-income seniors in Atlanta.
Tyler Perry is donating $2.75 million to older homeowners in Atlanta to help them continue living in their homes. A few weeks ago, he reached out to Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens about assisting residents on fixed incomes who could lose a roof over their heads due to rising real estate taxes, as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Perry, 53, has ranked third among the world's highest-paid entertainers by Forbes and will pay the back property taxes for 300 low-income seniors in Atlanta, the newspaper said. This assistance will cover not just city taxes but also country and school taxes. Perry will also cover any increase in taxation over the next 20 years for 100 low-income older residents.
This recurring donation intends to pay the difference between present-day property taxes and potential increases to those taxes over the next two decades, a source told PEOPLE. As of now, Perry has already donated $750,000 for the first year to cover the back taxes and any increase in property taxes and has pledged $500,000 each year over the next four years to ensure the residents do not have to pay any more in such taxes. The funds will be administered by Invest Atlanta Partnership, the nonprofit wing of Atlanta's economic development authority.
It is a timely intervention, as the rising property taxes in the area have significantly contributed to the displacement of longtime Atlanta residents. Extending a helping hand is not new to Perry, as in 2021, when he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscars, Perry said in his speech, "When I set out to help someone, I intend to do just that. I'm not trying to do anything but meet somebody at their humanity."
He also described an experience from years ago when he met a woman who was homeless. Perry recalled how instead of wanting money she wanted a pair of shoes. "It stopped me cold because I remember being homeless and having one pair of shoes and they were bent over at the heel," he said at the time. Then he brought the woman to his studio and guided her to the wardrobe department.
"I'm waiting for her to look up and all this time she's looking down, she finally looks up, she's got tears in her eyes, [and] she said, 'Thank you, Jesus, my feet are off the ground,'" he recounted. "At the moment I just recall her saying to me, 'I thought you would hate me for asking.' I'm like, 'How can I hate you when I used to be you? How can I hate you?'"
He also compared her situation with his own. Perry continued, "My mother taught me to refuse hate. She taught me to refuse blanket judgment." Perry added, "And in this time, with all of the internet and social media and algorithms and everything that wants us to think a certain way, the 24-hour news cycle, it is my hope that all of us would teach our kids and I want to remember just refuse hate, don't hate anybody. Don't hate anybody."