Bulthaup has always interacted with the community and charitable organizations.
In his younger days he would lecture at local schools and clubs about bats and bat conservation, and was a frequent media guest and public resource to promote the understanding of these misunderstood animals.
Bulthaup was influential in inducing ComEd to donate a 212 acre tract of land to the State of Illinois for protection as a bat preserve, as it was the location of a long abandoned limestone mine that sheltered approximately 30,000 hibernating bats of six species, two of which was endangered and one is the only surviving colony of this animal in Illinois. It is now the Pecumsaugan Creek Nature Preserve.
Later, when in the theater business, Bulthaup continued to be involved. Ted regularly lectured to local students about marketing and entrepreneurship.
Due to the cost of giving away tickets, which is not allowed by the studios and the theaters are charged the full cost of admission. National cinema circuits will not donate tickets. Bulthaup donated admissions and events to many causes for fund-raising rewards and perks, despite the large expense.
This included regular LifeSource blood drives at the cinemas, (get a free ticket when you give blood) held in regularly in the theaters lobby. Those two theaters were the largest private source of blood for DuPage County for many years and received a national award for the success of the program.
Tickets would often be given away from the box office as a perk for donations to food drives.
A pair of free tickets were awarded for every toy donated at one of the theaters during the Christmas holidays, which were in turn donated to the WGN toy drive. Karolyn Grimes who played ZuZu in “It’s a Wonderful Life” made 15 annual paid personal appearances hosting screenings of the iconic film at the theaters. Bulthaup would always have her lead the procession of full toy laden vehicles to the studios, hosting on air segments for the toy drives final day and filming ‘promo spots’ for the following year
Another example is when tickets are used by schools as an award for kid’s summer reading programs, often for a special movie oriented to that grade level.
Zach Gordon who portrayed “the Wimpy Kid” in the movies of the same name is a friend of Ted and we would tie his trips to the theater with reading programs using the book.
Ted has some friends and often the latest Potter would be released to the theaters a day early for charity screenings. The biggest of these were the Easter Seals events where the entire facility was donated for the use to hold private pre-release events for each of the Harry Potter series of films. Funds were used in the fight against childhood leukemia and eventually over $100,000 was raised.
Total admissions of over $50,000 for a weekend of “Back to the Future” screenings were donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation when four of the films actors, including Christopher Lloyd made an in-theater personal appearance.
When Terri Garr hosted screenings of “Young Frankenstein” approximately $30,000 was raised in one evening for the fight against MS (which she suffers from).
The annual Oscar Night big screen event raised money for the Variety Children’s Charity, exceeding the amounts raised from Richard Roeper’s downtown Oscar events.
The theaters received national awards for the efforts from Easter Seals, Variety Club Children’s Charities, National Association of Theater Owners, LifeSource and numerous local recognitions including from local schools, little leagues, scouts, suicide prevention, Alzheimer’s research, the scouts, wildlife rescue and various other causes.
Whenever the remaining Munchkins visited the theaters for the annual screenings of “The Wizard of Oz”; Bulthaup would take several to an area hospital and visit the children’s ward, or hold large “Meet a Munchkin” events in the hospital cafeterias.
When Bulthaup was able to get the Munchkins a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he rented out Grauman's Chinese Theater for a screening of the Wizard of Oz. Hosted by the remaining Munchkins, and screened in the same theater where the film premiered 68 years earlier, and where their Star was to be unveiled the next day, the proceeds were donated to Hollywood Heritage Society & the Hollywood Historic Preservation Trust dedicated to the preservation of Hollywood's historic landmarks.
Under Bulthaup, the Hollywood Palms hosted Gary Sinese and an event supporting US Veteran's and Sinese's well known efforts at nearby Cantigny.
Bulthaup was a resource for the US Justice Department for industry anti-trust issues. He testified before the US House Ways & Means Committee on historic preservation, tax credits and capital formation. He testified on behalf of the State of Illinois before a committee from the US Treasury Department and before several Illinois House and Senate Committees for IDCEO.
Bulthaup was the founding President of the Downtown Restaurant & Hospitality Association of Indianapolis and served terms on the Board of Directors of both that organization and the Theater Owners of Indiana.
While in Indianapolis, Bulthaup went after false claims by local government, the Capital Improvement Board that professional sports teams, most notibly the Indiana Pacers were a huge economic benefit to municipalities justifying taxpayer subsidies. The results were a savings to Indianapolis tax payers of approximately $55 MILLION DOLLARS. Bulthaup also blew the whistle and exposed a wasted $5.4 MILLION DOLLARS that the Executive Director of the CIB had slipped under the radar of the board.
Bulthaup has sponsored Tony Curtis’ horse rescue ranch ‘Shiloh’ in Nevada, sponsored a tiger at Tippi Hedren’s big cat wildlife
rescue, ‘Shambala’ and bats through Bat Conservation International.
Cast Members from "Back to the Future" reunite for screenings at the theaters with all admissions going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation (over $50,000 was raised).
More Wildlife Conservation
Zach Gordon, the 'Wimpy Kid' at the Palms
Gary Sinise Rockn' for the Troops
Operation Support our Troops America
Terri Garr signing autographs at our fundraising event
for the benefit of Multiple Sclerosis Society and screenings of her first film, "Young Frankenstein".
Sponsoring Tippi Hedren's (Star of Hitchcock's "The Birds") Big Cat Wildlife Rescue "Shambala" and her "Roar Foundation".
Helping Solve World Hunger
Sponsoring Bats with Bat Conservation International
Flying Foxes (Fruit Bats) populations are increasingly being impacted
to habit loss and extermination due to their diet on some commercially grown fruit crops. in the US, catastrophic losses continue to hibernation populations due to the rapid spread of White Nose Syndrome and public misunderstanding. There is still a protective bat house / safe roost Bulthaup attached to the exterior of the Hollywood Palms in Naperville.
Zach Gordon who portrayed the Wimpy Kid in the movie series of the same name and would come to Bulthaup's theaters for the opening weekend of those films. We used his celebrity and the popularity of those books and films with local school kids reading programs using his autographs, photos and posters. We also helped promote summer reading program's in the local libraries by providing movie tickets for attaining certain achievement levels.
Helping Kids Read
Gary Sinise Rockn' for the Troops
Operation Support our Troops America
A good example during his concert years was any concerts with singer Harry Chapin (Cat’s in the Cradle, Taxi) who would often speak of ‘participatory Democracy’ and had founded World Hunger Year (W.H.Y.) before his death to raise money for this cause, among other things donating the proceeds from concert programs, merchandising, book publishing, etc. Bulthaup specialized in concerts at colleges and would donate concert profits from Chapin’s shows to WHY. (Chapin was the inspiration for “Hands Across America” and “USA for Africa” and posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal for his campaign.)