We came together from the entertainment industries, philanthropy, tech and manufacturing industries with a common goal: TO FIGHT THE SWELL OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE, RACISM AND CULTURAL ISOLATIONISM THAT THREATENS US, OUR CHILDREN, AND OUR SOCIETY.
Known best for his 'vituperative blogs on The Wrap' - Vanity Fair, Richard was a major player in the campaign that returned long term care to the motion picture and television industry. His online group AGE: Activists for Geriatric Equality connected families to elder care resources while creating a viral community. The Los Angeles Press Club awarded Richard four First Place journalistic awards for his explosive pieces on the campaign, including one for Best Facebook Group. Recently Richard won two 2019 National Arts and Entertainment Journalism first place awards for his articles on popular culture.
Inspired by the story of Curt Lowens, a Holocaust survivor who escaped Germany on the night of Kristallnacht, Richard co-founded The Bestemming Project, a non-profit that fought anti-Semitism through music and the arts. Leveraging the relationships that he made in his fight for elder rights, Richard brought in the Screen Actors Guild to bestow a Humanitarian Award to Curt, and to help sponsor an awareness event that hammered home a message against religious intolerance to a packed house at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Recognized by Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, and the United Nations themselves, the fight against anti-Semitism continues.
Under the flag of The Bestemming Project, Richard mentored UCLA pre-med student David Chernobylsky who faced anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic bullying by pro-BDS forces. David later went on to publish The Zionist Narrative.
"The fight against anti-Semitism revealed to me that other cultures are suffering the same type of oppression. We are more similar than we are different when you talk about Islam, African Americans, and other races and cultures," remarked Richard.
The Man/Kind Team
A Los Angeles native and UCLA graduate, Anne-Marie continues to have a very busy career on television and in major motion pictures.
Anne-Marie represented the Screen Actors Guild as a national board member and 4 term first Vice President, from 1997-2013; the first African American to be elected to that position in the union's history. Anne-Marie was honored to be presented the 2016 Screen Actors Guild Ralph Morgan Award, the highest honor an actor can receive for service to her union and the first African American to receive the honor.
Anne-Marie currently sits as chairwoman and parliamentarian of her neighborhood council.
Since 2015, Anne-Marie has been working with the LAPD creating, co-producing and directing a series of public service announcements. She has also served as Mistress Of Ceremonies for the LAWPOA Symposium and will be mc’ing, once again, in 2017. Anne-Marie was awarded the 2017 Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Rosa Park’s Award and was named by Congressman Adam Schiff the 2017 Silver Lake Woman Of The Year.
Anne-Marie starred in several successful television series, including, In The Heat of the Night, What’s Happening Now, In Living Color, Melrose Place etc... For five seasons she portrayed Congresswoman “Bobbie Latham” on CBS’s hit military drama JAG, followed with appearing as “Sharon Upton Farley” on the hit WB comedy Girlfriends. Ms. Johnson starred as “Donna Cabonna” on the Disney Channels hit television series, That’s So Raven and had a recurring role on Tyler Perry’s TBS hit sitcom, House Of Payne. Anne-Marie has guest starred in multiple hit shows including Leverage, N.C.I.S, Bones, just to name a few. Her 2016 credits include guest starring roles on Major Crimes, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle,and recurring roles on NCIS.L.A. and Days Of Our Lives. She will soon be seen the limited Netflix comedy series, My Wet Hot American Summer, 10 Years Later.
Anne-Marie's feature credits include Hollywood Shuffle, Strictly Business, Imo Git U Sucka, Robotjox, True Identity, Down in the Delta, L.A. Riots Spectacular, and About Fifty.
Peter Samuelson has been described as a “serial pro-social entrepreneur”. In 1983, inspired by a little boy battling an inoperable brain tumor, Peter conceived of the Starlight Children’s Foundation—an international charity dedicated to granting wishes for seriously ill children. Starlight has grown to offer eight core psycho-social programs, each restoring some of the laughter, happiness and self-esteem that serious illness takes away from kids and those who love them.
As parents and healthcare providers confirmed the positive psychological and often medical impact of Starlight programming, in 1990 Peter brought together leaders including Steven Spielberg and General Norman Schwarzkopf to create Starbright World, an online social network to educate, encourage and empower children to cope with the medical, emotional and social challenges of their illness. In 2005, Starlight and Starbright World completed a formal merger and became the Starlight Children’s Foundation, with offices throughout Australia, Canada, The United Kingdom, Japan, Israel, and across the United States. Starlight now has a combined operating budget of $50 million and serves over 6 million children annually. Since inception, Starlight has raised and deployed internationally over $1 billion and served 60 million seriously ill children.
In 1999, Peter co-founded with Sherry Quirk, First Star, a separate national 501(c)(3) charity headquartered in Washington, D.C. that works to improve the public health, safety, and family life of America’s abused and neglected children.
With Peter as President, First Star provides “top-down” systemic leadership to provide quality and compassionate care for children within the child welfare system, basic civil and legal rights for every child and safe, stable and permanent homes for all children. First Star's program to create 4 year residential programs for high school age Foster Youth on university campuses nationwide began at UCLA in 2011, and has thus far replicated to the University of Rhode Island, University of Connecticut, Rowan University New Jersey, University of Central Florida, Loyola University Chicago, City University of New York, and at George Washington University in the District of Columbia. Negotiations are underway to expand to additional campuses in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Florida.
In 2008, Peter founded EDAR, “Everyone Deserves A Roof” to develop and widely distribute through established service agencies a mobile single-user homeless shelter on wheels. EDARs cost $500 each and so far 300 homeless clients use them nightly.
Peter is a graduate of Cambridge University with a Masters in English Literature and the fourth of five family generations employed in the film industry. After serving as production manager on films such as The Return of the Pink Panther, he emigrated from England to Los Angeles and produced Revenge of the Nerds, Tom & Viv, Wilde, Arlington Road and 20 other films. Peter served on the founding Board of Participant Media Inc., Jeff Skoll’s pro-social media company. Peter Samuelson is President of ASPIRE, the Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Education, whose undergraduate courses have been successfully piloted at UCLA
Wonde was inspired to pursue a career in International Development after experiencing extreme poverty as a young child in Ethiopia. After acquiring a Bachelor of Arts in International and Global Studies from Portland State University and a Masters in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, Wonde returned to Ethiopia with the Peace Corps. As an Agriculture and Nutrition Development Worker, Wonde was tasked with combating food insecurity in Tekea, a small rural town in Northern Ethiopia. Although his service was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wonde was able to cultivate relationships and establish areas of mutual interest for future projects with various stakeholders at his assigned community. The potential projects included the introduction of transitional and modern beekeeping practices, enhanced soil fertility through vermicomposting, increasing the number of individuals with farmers insurance and establishing English and sports clubs at the primary and secondary schools. Upon his return to the States, Wonde is committed to serving those who have been most impacted by the global pandemic.
As an actor, Elliott Gould is an iconic presence. Having starred in films such as Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H, The Long Goodbye and California Split - as well as being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the comedy Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Elliott has the uncanny ability to morph into his roles seamlessly. Mike Hale of The New York Times described Elliott’s performance as private eye Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye as ‘eccentric, loopy, intensely likable…’.
Elliott has taken on challenging roles in movies that have spanned every known genre. He became known to a new generation of viewers thanks to his portrayal of Jack Geller, the father of Courteney Cox and David Schwimmer on ‘Friends’, and his unforgettable role as Murray in American History X made audiences cringe during the dinner scene with Edward Norton, ending with his advice to Norton’s mother: “Doris, you don’t know the world your children are living in’.
As an activist, Elliott has championed causes and inspired social change in the world that our children are living in.
When the edict came down to end long term care services for the elderly residents of the Motion Picture Home’s fabled Long Term Care Unit, Elliott provided guidance and helped to legitimize the actions of those who fought to keep the doors open - resulting in a victory that insured long term care for motion picture and television industry elderly. Elliott’s work with Holocaust survivors and Jewish causes has positioned him as a real ‘macher*’ who gets it done. Having been bestowed with the Freedom of Expression Award, it is only one of the tributes and accolades that Elliott has received for his generous participation and leadership in social causes.
“I’m touched to be working with The Man/Kind Project, and look forward to helping to make a difference in the lives of impoverished Holocaust survivors”, remarked Elliott when asked about his appearance in PSA (Public Service Announcement) videos for Man/Kind’s campaign to raise attention and support for survivors. Richard Stellar, founder of Man/Kind added “I’ve seen Elliott in action - he has a huge heart and his guidance will be crucial to our growth and focus. We welcome him to our Advisory Board and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”
*macher - a person of importance and stature - a mover and shaker
Shani brings over a decade of public and private sector banking and business development experience. She began her career as a Personal Assistant to Prime Minister Netanyahu, where she dealt with high-pressure and high-stakes situations on a daily basis.
Thereafter, Shani built a strong foundation in risk management, working as a credit analyst at the Union Bank of Israel. She then moved to New York and served in the Israeli Defense Ministry as a Treasury Procurement Analyst and later as a Controller. In those roles, Shani oversaw financial transaction exceeding 3 billion dollars and participated in negotiations with top financial and technology firms, including J.P Morgan, Microsoft, HP, IBM.
Upon returning to Israel, Shani worked as a Business Development Associate at RM Global Investment Bank, strategizing and supporting the company’s operations.
Shani graduated from the Academic College of Tel-Aviv, Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Economics and Business Management.
"Shani is an amazing person who will be crucial to Man/Kind's outreach in Israel. Her compassion and huge heart is only matched by her impressive abilities. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Shani." remarked The Man/Kind Project founder, Richard Stellar.
Mordechai (Moti) Kahana is an Israeli-American businessman and philanthropist whose work on behalf of civil war refugees in Syria exemplifies the mission of The Man/Kind Project.
As a descendent of the famous 18th century rabbi, Aryeh Leib HaCohen Heller - Moti's history of service to Israel began with a stint in the IDF and continued to assistance in the rescue and extraction of the last remaining Jewish family in war-torn Syria.
Moti leveraged his success as an entrepreneur. In 1994, Moti established a leading automobile rental agency which led to his founding of Automoti - a company that was sold to Hertz. In 2005 Moti developed and patented the "Auto Eye" automatic camera that to this day is being implemented at airports and car rental agencies throughout the U.S.
With an invitation and financing of Senator John McCain's 2011 trip to war-torn Syria, Moti included a group of Israeli and American businessmen to provide humanitarian aid to Syrian Civil War refugees.
Moti interceded in saving the Jobar Synagogue in Damascus, through agreements with opposition elements.
In 2015, Moti aided the efforts to return Canadian-born Israeli citizen Gill Rosenberg, who had left for Syria in order to join the Kurdish rebels in their fight against ISIS. That same year, Moti assisted in the extraction of the last Jewish family in Aleppo, Syria.
Moti has been called the Jewish Raoul Wallenberg for providing passports to hundreds of Syrian opposition members and their families. Three years ago, Moti founded the organization Amaliah.org, which is now working in tandem with the Israeli Defense Force and Syrian local council, toward a goal of bringing over a million Syrians back home to a designated "Safe Zone,” territory in Southern Syria on the border with Israel.
The Man/Kind Project is proud to be affiliated with Moti, and look forward to being involved in his humanitarian projects that build bridges between cultures.
Matt comes to the Man/Kind Project with more than 18 years of experience helping build Silicon Valley based start up companies.
At the forefront of the digital identity expansion during the tech boom of the late nineties, Matt's work with forging strategic relationships in this space brought together firms like Casio, Virgin, Quallcom, Sprint and the emerging technologies of social media start-ups who were competing for a foothold during those explosive times.
His recent experience includes expanding cloud application sales into the Australian and Asia-Pacific markets, and he currently manages the Western U.S. region for an enterprise Big Data start up company.
"I am honored to be part of the Man/Kind Project. Recent political events have had a profound impact on me and my family. I am saddened to see that our unashamed political representatives are now publicly putting their personal agendas above what is right for the people and the Country they represent. We cannot let misguided political agendas continue to destroy the "We the People" constitutional fabric of our democracy and negatively impact the creative institutions and basic rights of the people.
With over 18 years in the high-tech industry, my focus with the Man/Kind Project will be to build relationships with the drivers of change in technology -- the people and organizations that leverage social media, internet-based applications, digital media, and digitized information to educate a broader support base and further the rights of everyone at an accelerated pace."
Matt lives in Southern California with his wife and young daughter.