The Academy Foundation was established with the purpose of organizing and overseeing the educational and cultural activities of the motion picture industry, including the preservation of its history and the promotion of its future.
The concept of the Academy Foundation was first discussed at a meeting in September, 1942, by Charles Coburn, George Stevens, Farciot Edouart, Walter Wanger and Darryl Zanuck. However, it was not until January 31, 1944, that articles of incorporation were filed. The Foundation's first trustees, under the leadership of Walter Wanger, included Jean Hersholt, Mary C. McCall Jr., Howard Hawks and Cary Grant.
One of the first projects of the Academy Foundation was the sponsorship of the Paper Print Project. Between 1896 and 1912 more than 3,000 films in the form of paper prints were deposited with the Library of Congress for copyright purposes. In 1953, at the request of the Library, the Academy Foundation undertook the funding of the transfer of these prints to safety film, and thus ensured that the earliest work of the motion picture industry was available for study by students and scholars.
More recent years have seen the extraordinary growth of the Center for Motion Picture Study, home of the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library and the Academy Film Archive, as well as a broad expansion of the Foundation's public film programs and the Academy Foundation Lecture Series.
As the cultural and preservational arm of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Foundation is partially supported by its parent institution. It is a Non-private Foundation, designated by the I.R.S. as a Public Charity under section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the I.R.S. Code.
Most of the personal papers, films, scripts, documents and other film industry artifacts in the Foundation's collections have been donated by individuals and institutions concerned about the preservation of motion picture history. Monetary and other gifts are normally deductible by the donor for tax purposes.
第一次讨论学院奖基金会的概念是在1942年的9月，当时参与的有查尔斯-科本、乔治-史蒂文斯、法科特-艾多特、沃尔特-温哲和达瑞尔-赞努克（Charles Coburn, George Stevens, Farciot Edouart, Walter Wanger and Darryl Zanuck）。然而，直到1944年1月31日，该组织的文件才正式归档。基金的首批受托人包括以沃尔特-温哲Walter Wanger为首的简-荷舍特（Jean Hersholt）、玛丽-C-小麦考（Mary C. McCall Jr）、霍华德-霍克斯（Howard Hawks）、和加里-格兰特（Cary Grant）。
学院奖基金会成立之初的首项提案之一就是发起"电影入册工程"（Paper Print Project）。在1896年至1912年间，出于对版权的考虑，有3000多部电影打印成册，保存在国会图书馆中。1953年，在图书馆的要求下，学院奖基金会拨出款项，承担了将这些印刷品转成安全的电影胶片的工作，这就保证了以后的学生和学者们能看到并研究电影工业最早期的作品。