Los Angeles Entertainment Industry joins Institute Board Members David Zaslav and Andy Friendly for An Evening to Benefit USC Shoah Foundation

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 12:00am

“Silence is not an option” was the message and personal motto that Holocaust survivor Paula Lebovics shared at a recent USC Shoah Foundation fundraising event — almost 71 years to the day since she was liberated from Auschwitz. That night, it also became the motto of over 100 guests who learned about USC Shoah Foundation’s mission to fight against hatred and intolerance through genocide survivor and witness testimony.

The special evening was hosted by Institute Board Members David Zaslav and Andy Friendly, along with Andy’s wife Pat Crowley, at the Friendlys’ home in Bel-Air on February 1, 2016.

Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications, who traveled from New York City for the occasion, has helped the organization focus on its global outreach. USC Shoah Foundation has reached more than half a billion people through its partnership with Discovery Education on programs including The Past is Present, a multifaceted program in Poland for educators, survivors and supporters to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in January 2015, and the 2016 IWitness Video Challenge.

Friendly, a successful news and entertainment television producer and executive, is a graduate of USC School of Cinematic Arts and has taught at USC as an Adjunct Professor. He shared a letter written by his father, legendary news journalist Fred Friendly, about his experiences at Mauthausen concentration camp during the liberation. The family reads the letter every year on Yom Kippur. Andy said his father’s experience inspired him to play an active role at the Institute. He also thanked Zaslav, his good friend, for introducing him to the Institute.

“I can’t imagine any cause or issue that’s more important than keeping alive the memory and the history of the survivors of the Holocaust, and past and current genocides around the world,” Friendly said. “As a member of the Institute’s Board of Councilors, I look forward to playing a role and doing whatever I can to further the mission of the foundation.”

The evening’s host committee included Sandra and Vin Scully, Heather and Skip Brittenham, Harriet and Ken Ehrlich, Laurie and Jon Feltheimer, Dana and Matt Walden, Julia Franz and Chris Silbermann, Shari and Rob Friedman, Jeff Ross, Rick Rosen, David Nochimson, and Eugenie Ross-Leming and Robert Singer. USC Shoah Foundation Board of Councilors member Mickey Shapiro and Next Generation Council member Cecilia Chan were also in attendance.

Special guests included USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen D. Smith, Holocaust survivor Paula Lebovics, and USC Shoah Foundation Master Teacher Michelle Clark. Each of them shared the personal impact of USC Shoah Foundation on their own lives and the lives of students, who learn powerful, lifelong lessons from testimony about the causes and consequences of genocide, hate and intolerance.

The event generated many new supporters. Funds raised will support USC Shoah Foundation’s education programs and latest initiatives.

"I think people were moved and inspired by all who spoke and I hope everyone will stay involved and get others involved with the foundation,” Friendly said. “I've already heard from so many who are."

For more information about USC Shoah Foundation or to make a donation, please visit http://sfi.usc.edu/.