This newly established group represents the core volunteer leadership for the division - a world innovator in diagnosis, treatment, and research aimed at combating disorders affecting the gastrointestinal tract. The ambassadors will play a key role in enhancing the engagement of the community and broadening the awareness for the Division and its work.
Unified by their commitment to advancing medical science through philanthropy and community building, the ambassadors will serve as thought leaders, engaging others to envision what their understanding and involvement of the extraordinary work performed each day by the division's top physicians and scientists and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Eric Esrailian, MD, MPH
Co-Chief, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Founder, Andre Agassi Foundation for Education
Chris and Vicky Cornell
Founders, Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation
Chairman and CEO, XPRIZE Foundation
Gary Gitnick, MD
Founder & Chairman of the Board of Governors,
Co-Chief, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases,
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
James N. Gianopulos
Chairman and CEO, Twentieth Century Fox
Chairman, Andell, Inc.
Ray R. Irani, PhD
Chairman and CEO, Ray Investments, LLC
G. Bradford Jones
Founding Partner, Redpoint Ventures
CEO and Co-Founder, DreamWorks Animation SKG
Co-Founder, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Foundation
Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy
President and CEO, Payden & Rygel
President, Open Pictures
Co-Founder, Melvin and Bren Simon Charitable Foundation
Gregory Annenberg Weingarten
Vice President and Director, Annenberg Foundation
After turning pro at the age of 16, tennis prodigy Andre Agassi rose to international fame, earning 60 men's singles titles, including eight Grand Slam singles championships, over a 20-year career. A former World No. 1 player, Agassi is the only male player ever to win all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal. He was also a member of three winning Davis Cup teams (1990, 1992 and 1995). On July 9, 2011, Andre was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame for the Class of 2011.
While his tennis career took him all over the world, Agassi always stayed connected to his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1994, at the age of 24, he created the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. Early activities included building a shelter in Las Vegas for abused and neglected children, creating the Andre Agassi Boys and Girls Club, and developing Team Agassi, a tennis program that nurtures professional players and puts college within reach.
Over 17 years, the Foundation has honed its mission to focus on transforming public education. In 2001, in partnership with the Clark County School District, the Foundation opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy (Agassi Prep) in historical West Las Vegas. Recognized as a model charter school, Agassi Prep graduated its first senior class in June 2009 with a 100 percent college acceptance rate, as were the graduates in the class of 2010 and 2011.
Each year the Foundation's primary fundraising vehicle, the Grand Slam for Children, brings together international stars to raise awareness and money. Since the inception of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education in 1994, $177 million dollars has been raised to benefit the mission of the Foundation including $118 million from the Grand Slam for Children fundraising event.
Since retiring in 2006, Andre Agassi has increased his focus on his Foundation and on promoting education reform. He is also building a lifestyle business through endorsement relationships, joint venture investments and real estate development. In November 2009, he released his autobiography Open, which reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
In June 2011, as part of an effort to expand his impact on education, Andre partnered with Canyon Capital Realty Advisors on an innovative new real estate fund - the Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund - to promote the success and growth of best-in-class charter schools in urban communities across the United States.
Andre launched BILT by Agassi & Reyes in early 2012 to provide the public with the actual fitness machines hand-developed by him and his strength and conditioning trainer, Gil Reyes. Andre won eight Grand Slam titles and dominated the world of tennis throughout his long career by recognizing the importance of strength, conditioning and safety through the use of these innovative machines.
He is married to tennis superstar, philanthropist and businesswoman Stefanie Graf. The couple resides in Las Vegas with their children, Jaden Gil and Jaz Elle.
Dr. Peter Diamandis
Dr. Peter Diamandis is the chairman and CEO of XPRIZE, which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Best known for the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private spaceflight and the $10 million Progressive Automotive XPRIZE for 100 mile-per-gallon equivalent cars, XPRIZE is now launching prizes in Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy, and Education.
Diamandis is also an international leader in the commercial space arena, having founded and run many of the leading entrepreneurial companies in this sector including Zero Gravity Corporation, the Rocket Racing League and Space Adventures.
As co-founder and chairman of the Singularity University, a Silicon Valley based institution partnered with NASA, Google, Autodesk and Nokia, Diamandis counsels the world's top enterprises on how to utilize exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business objectives.
Dr. Diamandis attended the MIT where he received his degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D. Diamandis' personal motto is: "The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!"
James N. Gianopulos
James N. Gianopulos is the chairman and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox, overseeing the motion picture divisions Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Fox 2000, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox Animation Studios, Blue Sky Studios, Fox International Productions, and their related entities.
One of the longest-tenured studio chairmen in the film industry, Mr. Gianopulos oversees all feature film production and marketing for the studio and its related operations. During his time as chairman of Fox, the studio has had its most profitable years ever. He has been involved in the evolution of new entertainment media and technologies for more than 25 years, and is considered a leading strategist in the industry.
During his tenure at the studio, he oversaw the release of a broad range of successful films the release of a broad range of successful films, including Life of Pi, the X-Men series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Night At The Museum, Taken (and its sequel), The Simpsons Movie, Borat, The Day After Tomorrow, Walk the Line, the Star Wars Trilogy, Live Free or Die Hard, Minority Report, and Moulin Rouge. He also has the unique distinction of having championed two of the biggest gambles, and the two highest grossing films of all time: Avatar and Titanic.
Under his leadership the studio's animation division, Blue Sky Studios, has produced successful films such as the Ice Age series, and Fox Searchlight Pictures, the studio's specialized division, produces commercial and critical successes such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Descendants, Sideways, Black Swan, and the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, among many others.
Prior to his current post, Mr. Gianopulos was chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment and before that, he was president of Twentieth Century Fox International, a position he held since 1994. Among the many notable successes during Mr. Gianopulos' tenure at Fox International are the Oscar winners Titanic and Braveheart, in addition to at one point having four of the five top grossing pictures of all-time internationally: Titanic, Star Wars, Independence Day and Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace.
Prior to joining Twentieth Century Fox, Mr. Gianopulos held senior management positions at Paramount and Columbia Pictures following his career as an attorney specializing in entertainment.
Mr. Gianopulos is a governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and a member of the Board of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. He serves on the USC School of Cinematic Arts Board of Councilors and is a Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University, and is involved in a number of civic and philanthropic activities including serving on the National Entertainment Advisory Council for the Anti-Defamation League and the Board and Executive Committee of the X-Prize Foundation.
He resides in Los Angeles with his wife Ann and their three daughters.
Dr. Gary Gitnick
Dr. Gary Gitnick is the co-chief of the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. As co-chief, Dr. Gitnick heads one of the largest gastroenterology divisions in the world with 70 full-time faculty members, 38 researchers/project scientists/postdocs, 21 fellows, 85 employees and a multimillion-dollar budget. He received his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine degrees at the University of Chicago, after which he completed an internship at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. From there he completed Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology subspecialty training at the Mayo Clinic and also spent three years as a Research Associate at the National Institutes of Health. He joined the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1969. He was Chief of Staff of the UCLA Medical Center and was Medical Director of the UCLA Health Care Programs. Dr. Gitnick has produced over 300 publications and is the author or editor of 63 books.
Dr. Gitnick is former President of the Medical Board of California. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Health Professions Education Foundation, an organization established by the California Legislature for the development of health care delivery programs for indigent people. He has conceived and promoted the development of the voluntary California Physicians Corps and conceived and promoted AB 982 the California Physicians Educational Loan Repayment Program that provides loan repayment to young physicians who contractually agree to work in non-profit indigent care clinics for three years or more.
He is the founder and chair of the board of governors of the Fulfillment Fund, a nonprofit organization providing motivational and college access programs to over 3,000 disadvantaged students in Los Angeles and 1,200 in Las Vegas. The Fulfillment Fund motivates them to complete school, broaden their socio-economic horizons, and facilitate their higher education through motivational and tutoring programs and through guaranteed college scholarships.
Andrew Hauptman is the chairman of Andell Inc., a private investment firm and family office he controls with his wife, Ellen Bronfman Hauptman. Andell's activities are divided between direct holdings in public and private companies and partnerships with top-tier investment managers around the globe. Hauptman oversees the firm's investment, operating, sports, real estate and media businesses.
Hauptman is the owner and chairman of Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire Soccer Club and is active on the League's Board of Governors. He currently serves as a director of XIX Entertainment and on the advisory board of Altas Partners. Hauptman has served as a director of numerous public and private companies including BSN SPORTS, Dick Clark Productions, Koor Industries, Loews Cineplex Entertainment, Storage Mobility and Canyon Ranch Holdings, amongst others.
Earlier in his career, Hauptman worked as a senior executive with Universal Studios in London and played a key role in the oversight of its international operations, focusing primarily on the music and filmed entertainment groups. He also worked in restructuring and mergers and acquisitions with Alex Brown & Sons in New York.
Hauptman has previously produced feature films through his production company Andell Entertainment, with credits including "State of Play," starring Russell Crowe and "Millions," directed by Danny Boyle.
In addition to this work, he is deeply involved in several philanthropic and civic organizations. Hauptman serves as a national trustee of City Year and is co-founder and chairman of City Year Los Angeles. He is a director of The Hauptman Family Foundation, co-founder and trustee of The Charles Bronfman Prize and honorary chairman of the Chicago Fire Foundation. Hauptman is on the board of the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education and the Yale University Council, and on Leadership Councils of the Franklin Project at The Aspen Institute and the International Medical Corps. He also participates in several business organizations, including the Bel Air and Aspen chapters of Young Presidents' Organization (YPO).
Hauptman holds a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard University.
Dr. Ray R. Irani
Dr. Ray R. Irani is the Chairman and CEO of Ray Investments, LLC, a privately held investment company.
Prior to the formation of Ray Investments, LLC, Dr. Irani served as Executive Chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corporation from May 2011 to May 2013 after serving as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from 1990 to 2011. He had been a director of the company since 1984 and served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Occidental from 1984 to 1990. Dr. Irani joined the company in 1983 as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Occidental Chemical Corporation. He served as Chairman of the Board of Canadian Occidental Petroleum Ltd. (now Nexen Inc.) from 1987 to 1999. Prior to working for Occidental, Dr. Irani was President and Chief Operating Officer of Olin Corporation.
Dr. Irani serves on the Board of Directors of Wynn Resorts and is a member of The Conference Board and The Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Irani is a Trustee of the University of Southern California, a Trustee Emeritus of the American University of Beirut and a member of the Lebanese American University Board of Trustees. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, and serves on the Advisory Boards of RAND's Center for Middle East Public Policy and the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.
In 2012, he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, and in 2011 he was awarded the designation Chevalier of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor, the highest award bestowed by the French government on citizens and foreigners.
Dr. Irani was born in Beirut, Lebanon and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the American University of Beirut and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Southern California. He holds 50 U.S. patents and more than 100 foreign patents, is the author of the book Particle Size, and has published more than 50 technical papers.
Brad Jones is a partner of Redpoint Ventures. Prior to founding Redpoint, Brad was a general partner with Brentwood Venture Capital, a firm he joined in 1981. Brad currently focuses on technology opportunities located in Southern California. He has managed successful investments in biotechnology, communications, Internet commerce, internet infrastructure, medical devices, semiconductors, software, and wireless. He has served on the board of ten public companies funded by Brentwood and Redpoint, and currently is a board member of Stamps.com and a number of private companies. Brad received the Los Angeles Venture Association's first Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was honored with the Supporter of Entrepreneurship Award by the Ernst &Young Entrepreneur of the Year program.
Brad received an A.B. in Chemistry, summa cum laude, and an A.M. in Physics from Harvard University. Brad also holds an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was an Arjay Miller scholar, and a J.D. from the Stanford Law School, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif.
Jeffrey Katzenberg is the chief executive officer and a co-founder and director of DreamWorks Animation SKG. In 1994, along with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, he co-founded DreamWorks SKG, which produced a number of celebrated films including three Best Picture Academy Award® winners - American Beauty, Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind. In 2004, DreamWorks Animation became a publicly-traded company with Katzenberg at the helm.
Under Katzenberg's leadership, DreamWorks Animation has become the largest animation studio in the world and has released 26 animated feature films, which have enjoyed both critical and commercial successes, earning nine Academy Award® nominations and two wins for Best Animated Feature. In addition to critical success, DreamWorks Animation has been recognized as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" by FORTUNE® Magazine for five consecutive years. In 2013, DreamWorks Animation ranks #12 on the list.
Prior to co-founding DreamWorks, Katzenberg served as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. During his tenure, the studio produced such landmark animated films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast - the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar® - as well as live action hits including Good Morning, Vietnam; Three Men and a Baby; Dead Poets Society; Pretty Woman; Father of the Bride and Sister Act. Katzenberg previously served as president of Paramount Studios, where he was involved in now-classic films including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saturday Night Fever, Grease and Best Picture Academy Award® winners Ordinary People and Terms of Endearment.
In 2013, Katzenberg was awarded the prestigious Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his outstanding contributions to humanitarian causes.
Together with his wife Marilyn, Katzenberg provides support and leads fundraising efforts on behalf of dozens of local, national and international organizations focused on healthcare, education, the arts, Jewish causes, children, civic improvement and the environment. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Board for the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation and as a director of Zynga Inc., Katzenberg sits on the Boards or serves as a Trustee of the following organizations: AIDS Project Los Angeles, American Museum of the Moving Image, California Institute of the Arts, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Geffen Playhouse, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and The Simon Wiesenthal Center. He also supports the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Boston University. Together with DreamWorks Animation, Katzenberg founded the DreamWorks Animation Academy of Inner-City Arts in 2008.
Mr. Manoukian, (also known as Bob), is a well-known and respected member of the Armenian community and is a major supporter of numerous charities throughout the world.
Having finished his education in Cyprus and England, he entered the business world, which included involvement with property investment and construction, retailing, soft drink bottling, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, renewable energy, the leisure industry and banking. Together these businesses employ thousands of people worldwide.
He is married to Tamar, and they have four children. He has continued his family’s tradition of charitable work throughout the world with a particular emphasis on education, medicine, culture, the environment and Armenian causes, both secular and religious.
His scholarship funds have enabled several thousand academically able students who lack financial resources to further their education and his post-graduate programmes at universities in the United States, the United Kingdom and Lebanon have helped provide essential skills for tomorrow’s community leaders.
He supports many children’s charities throughout the world and has been a major donor to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Action Innocence, UNICEF (where he is a Board member), Prince Albert II Foundation, Mission Enfance and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. He continues to be a major benefactor of the Royal Opera House in London, and has funded the construction by them of both the Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop and the Bob and Tamar Manoukian Costume Centre.
He was the sole financial supporter of major cultural exhibitions, such as the “Treasures of the Ark Exhibition” held at the British Library to commemorate 1700 years of Armenian Christianity, and the highly acclaimed “Rome-Armenia” Cistine Chapel Exhibition at the Vatican, which was opened by their late Holinesses Pope John Paul II and Catholicos Karekin I. He has funded the construction and refurbishment of several schools, a church in London, the building of a large ecclesiastical library and several other buildings for the Armenian Church.
As a result of these generous charitable works, he has received recognition from the community, the Church and governmental bodies.
Kevin Mayer was appointed executive vice president of Corporate Strategy and Business Development in June 2005. Mayer leads the group as it finds profitable growth by targeting emerging businesses new to Disney's existing portfolio, managing cross-divisional issues and opportunities, and evaluating new technology and business models. The group is responsible for executing all merger, acquisition, and divestiture transactions as well.
During his tenure, Mr. Mayer has overseen Disney's strategic acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Club Penguin. He also managed Disney's investment in Hungama and UTV in India, enhancing Disney's growth outside of the United States. Further, Mr. Mayer and his team handled the divestitures of Miramax and ABC Radio. In 2009 and 2011, "The Deal" readers named Disney the Most Admired Corporate Dealmaker in the media sector.
Mayer rejoined Disney from L.E.K. Consulting LLC, where he was a partner and head of the Global Media and Entertainment practice. In that position his responsibilities included global oversight of all media-related consulting projects including due diligence efforts for mergers and acquisitions, development of business strategies for new technology ventures such as portable music devices, online music services, video on demand and broadband ISP services, and the creation of comprehensive anti-piracy strategies for motion picture studios and trade associations. He also devised plans for companies to offer electronic sell-through for movies, cable television networks, television programming and music.
Prior to L.E.K., Mayer held leading positions at interactive and Internet businesses. As chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Interactive he managed all aspects of new media business, including content, sales, business and technology development, and distribution. While at Clear Channel, Mayer successfully launched local subscription ticketing services. While at Disney, Mayer worked in both strategic planning and at Walt Disney Internet Group. At the Internet group, he served as executive vice president and as such was responsible for the operations, business plans, creative direction and distribution of Disney's popular Web sites, including ESPN.com and ABCNews.com. Mayer first joined Disney in 1993 as manager, Strategic Planning where he spearheaded strategy and business development for all of Disney's interactive/Internet and television businesses worldwide.
Mayer received his M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1990, and holds a M.S.E.E. from San Diego State University and a B.S.M.E. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Joan Payden, CFA, is the president and chief executive officer of Payden & Rygel, the global investment management firm that she founded in 1983. Payden has overseen the firm's international expansion and its growth to more than $90 billion in assets under management. In 1992, the firm launched Payden & Rygel Investment Group, a family of mutual funds, of which she is chairman. Subsequently many of these strategies were duplicated in offshore funds domiciled in Ireland. In 1998, Payden & Rygel Global Ltd. was founded in London. Prior to founding Payden & Rygel, Payden was the first national woman partner and managing director of west coast operations for Scudder, Stevens & Clark.
She is a member of the Board of Visitors of the UCLA Anderson School of Management, a trustee of the University of Southern California, Occidental College and Loyola Marymount University. She also serves on the board of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the California Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles Sports Council. Payden is a past member of the board of The Automobile Club of Southern California, the LA' 84 Foundation, AECOM Technology Corporation and The John Tracy Clinic. She is past chairman of the Investment Counsel Association of America. Payden holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. She is a graduate of Trinity College in Washington DC with a degree in mathematics and physics, and a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Chip Rosenbloom is an American filmmaker, businessman and philanthropist.
Rosenbloom's independent production companies have been instrumental in the development and production of over 25 feature films in the past two decades. Feature films include the Sundance Award-Winning Documentary Fuel, The Weinstein Company's release The Girl in the Park directed by Pulitzer Prize winner David Auburn starring Sigourney Weaver, Kate Bosworth and Keri Russell, Sony Pictures' The Call directed by Brad Anderson, starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin.
Current productions include the Ryan Ferguson documentary - the story surrounding Ferguson's murder conviction that was overturned after spending 10 years in prison. Rosenbloom additionally produced Brad Pitt's feature film debut Across the Tracks as well as the Broadway stage production of August Wilson's Radio Golf, honored with a 2007 Tony nomination as Best Play.
In addition to producing, Chip adapted and directed Shiloh, based on the Newberry Award-winning trilogy by best-selling author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, about a young boy's attempt to rescue an abused dog. Nominated for a Humanitas Award, the film led to two sequels becoming a significant franchise for Warner Bros., a critic's delight and a multi-million unit DVD both in the United States and in more than 27 countries around the world.
A rare hybrid of creative energy, Chip is an active songwriter with songs recorded by Sheena Easton and Rita Coolidge among others. He has ten songs featured on a new album by Dayna Lane, who was voted one of Voice of Country's rising new stars. He recently produced a documentary on the history of the electric guitar Turn It Up! starring Kevin Bacon.
Rosenbloom is a graduate of USC Film School. He began his career at Aaron Spelling Productions and later worked in development for Mace Neufeld Productions.
Rosenbloom serves on the boards of the Fulfillment Fund, a mentoring and scholarship charity, Clinton Foundation Health Access Initiative, President's Council for Feeding America and Earthjustice.
He is married to the former Kathleen Melville. The couple has two children, son Alexander and daughter Olivia.
As a tireless advocate for programs that transform lives, Mrs. Bren Simon honored her late husband Melvin Simon's generous spirit with a gift to create the Melvin and Bren Simon Digestive Diseases Center at UCLA. This multi-disciplinary Center will provide an infrastructure to develop cutting-edge treatment and support for generations of patients.
All clinical efforts and key centers for excellence of the Division of Digestive Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, will fall under the umbrella of the new Center. The transformational gift has already made a difference for countless patients. The Center has recruited key clinicians and physician-scientists, enhanced its translational research program and patient care enterprise as well as advanced diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to managing a variety of chronic disorders.
In addition to this healing gift, over the past three decades Mrs. Simon has been committed to supporting programs whose purpose is to forge strong bonds of international unity, which is why she is honored to be a patron of the United States Institute of Peace.
Along with various national projects, Mrs. Simon is dedicated to a variety of international welfare programs. Under her direction, The Melvin and Bren Simon Foundation has donated a substantial amount of resources to the National Democratic Institute, a large portion of which has been allocated to a number of groups that support women's political participation.
Each year, a percentage of that commitment is given to winners of the Madeleine K. Albright Grant. Most recently, this funding was presented to the Women's Discussion Club of Kyrgyzstan. Formed in 2006, this organization was one of the first groups in Kyrgyzstan to bring together women from diverse backgrounds and political parties to defend the rights and interests of women nationwide.
Other programs to which this support was distributed include the NDI Maghreb Youth of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow Program, The International Network of Women in Politics (iKNOW Politics), NDI Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Alliance of Women Leaders, NDI Guatemala and the Political Association of Mayan Women, and the NDI Guidebook to Women's Political Participation.
Another prolific example of Bren Simon's passion for international gender equality and political progress is the indelible impact she has made in La Romana, Dominican Republic. In 1998, Bren Simon joined the Mission International Rescue Foundation, dedicating a tremendous effort to the children and young women of La Romana, with such projects as Centro de Promocion Rural Max Simon and Bren Simon MIR Foundation Girls' Vocational School. Through these organizations, the MIR Foundation provides religious, social, education, and health services to those in this impoverished area.
In addition to directing both the Melvin and Bren Simon Charitable Foundation and the Joshua Max Simon Charitable Foundation, Mrs. Simon personally supports numerous local and national organizations, including The Children's Bureau, The Aspen Institute's Society of Fellows, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and numerous cultural and philanthropic programs and community wellness centers.
Also heavily engaged in domestic political programs and organizations, in 2001 Mrs. Simon founded Activote America, whose purpose is to empower individuals with the information and understanding necessary to voice concerns, address issues, and ultimately impact change through the voting process. It has been a long-term goal of Bren Simon to reach, educate, and encourage young voters to participate in the voting process.
Currently, Mrs. Simon has committed considerable resources to The Clinton School of Public Service to provide five scholarships for those individuals seeking a Master of Public Service degree, which serve to empower young individuals pursuing degrees in politics and public service.
The current CEO of MBS Associates, LLC and former owner of the design firm Corporate Design Associates, Inc., Bren Simon has attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Florida Atlantic University, having also earned honorary degrees from Northwood University in Florida and Indiana University. She and her late husband, Melvin, have two children and two grandchildren.
Gregory Annenberg Weingarten
Gregory Annenberg Weingarten is vice president and director of the Annenberg Foundation, a family foundation that supports the worldwide community through its grantmaking, technical assistance and direct charitable activities. Through Gregory’s own grantmaking initiative GRoW @ Annenberg, he supports humanitarian efforts across the globe as well as innovative projects in health, education, the arts and civic and cultural life. Some of Gregory’s recent successful efforts include repatriating sacred Native American objects, funding a much-needed hospital in Bangladesh, supporting families inflicted by violence in South Los Angeles, and helping low-income students from underserved Los Angeles high schools achieve their dreams of a college degree.
Gregory is a member of various boards and advisory committees including the National Park Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, The Getty Center, the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A graduate of Stanford University, Gregory has a degree in political science. He worked as a journalist at The Times of London before embarking on a career as an artist. Gregory’s work has been shown in galleries and private collections throughout Europe and the U.S. and he continues to paint in his studio in Los Angeles.
Having lived in Paris for many years, Gregory’s efforts to create a vibrant partnership between France and America have earned him several honors. In 2007, he earned the title of Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters). In 2009, Gregory received the distinction of Grand Mécène et de Grand Donateur de la Culture (Grand Patron and Grand Donor of Culture). In 2012, Gregory was appointed to France’s prestigious Legion of Honor (Légion d'Honneur), France’s highest honor for military and civil merits.
Along with his wife and philanthropic partner Regina, Gregory is active in the lives of his two children and, through them, is helping shape the next generation of philanthropy.