He may have portrayed everyone from Batman to race car driver Ken Miles, but a lesser-known role of Christian Bale’s is arguably one of his most important: philanthropist. The Academy Award–winning actor just broke ground on a passion project 16 years in the making, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Bale is a cofounder of an organization called Together California, which just kicked off an initiative to construct a dozen homes and a community center for children in the foster care system. The project is geared toward keeping siblings in foster care under one roof.
“With our Together California model, [the village] is something absolutely new, totally transformative, and something completely needed,” Bale told the crowd at the groundbreaking yesterday. “Imagine the absolute pain and the trauma of losing your parents or being torn from your parents, and then losing your brothers and sisters on top of that. That’s no way to treat kids.”
Located outside Los Angeles in the city of Palmdale, California, the development is set to consist of two studio apartments for transitional housing and a 7,000-square-foot community center, in addition to the 12 homes. The project is estimated to cost $22 million and is expected to be complete by 2025.
Bale said that the hardest part of the journey was finding the right team with which to align himself. While he tapped many of his Hollywood connections (fellow Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio is also listed as a donor on the project), he started out with “unrealistic” expectations.
“Within one year, I’d have created a miniature Sound of Music with kids singing on hills in an endlessly joyful environment,” Bale recalled fantasizing. Of course, the project proved to be a bit more complicated, but ultimately found its footing.