First Star’s Celebration for Children’s Rights Event Honors Humanitarians and Visionaries for Their Devotion to Helping Children
First Star to Honor Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, LLC; Peter Levinsohn, President, Fox Interactive Media; and Stephanie Sperber, Executive Vice President, Universal Studios Partnerships
First Star Youth Ambassador Dakota Fanning to Attend; Fox 11 News’ Christine Devine to Host
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--First Star, a leading national advocacy group dedicated to improving life for child victims of abuse and neglect, will hold its fifth annual Celebration for Children’s Rights event on June 7 at the Wilshire Ebell. Families from the Los Angeles business, entertainment, medical and legal communities, along with many celebrities, will join First Star in honoring this year’s award recipients—Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, LLC; Peter Levinsohn, President, Fox Interactive Media; and Stephanie Sperber, Executive Vice President, Universal Studios Partnerships—for their humanitarian efforts on behalf of children.
“State Secrecy and Child Deaths in the U.S.”
The evening’s theme, “Come Be a Kid Again,” brings us back to the place of joy and wonderment that is childhood. The unique, casual event includes live entertainment, carnival games for people of all ages and catering by Los Angeles’ finest, plus a special performance by members of the Los Angeles cast of the musical Wicked.
Award-winning actress and First Star Youth Ambassador Dakota Fanning is scheduled to attend the event. Fanning made her film debut as Lucy in “I Am Sam,” for which she received a Critics Choice Award for Best Young Actor and became the youngest person ever nominated for a SAG Award. Since then, she has appeared in such films as “Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat,” “Uptown Girls,” “Man on Fire,” “Hide and Seek,” “War of the Worlds” (which earned her a second Critics Choice Award), “Charlotte’s Web” and “Hounddog” and can next be seen this fall in “The Secret Life of Bees.” Additionally, Fanning does work for charity at the Mattel Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles and recently appeared in the “RED” Gap ads to benefit AIDS in Africa.
Christine Devine, anchor of the No. 1-ranked Fox 11 Ten O’clock News, will host the event. Devine is an eight-time Emmy winner, including for Best Newscast for the last three years, and has profiled foster children seeking adoptive homes on her “Wednesday’s Child” segment.
Established in 1999, First Star is dedicated to strengthening the rights and improving the lives of America’s abused and neglected children through education, public policy, legislative reform and litigation. Its nonpartisan, multidisciplinary approach fosters collaborative action among organizations, advocates, practitioners and policy makers working to benefit children.
“If abused and neglected children had money or voted, there would be grownups constantly putting their interests in first position on our nation’s agenda,” states Peter Samuelson, President and Co-Founder of First Star. “While they may be poor, can’t vote, and the horrors done to them are mostly shrouded in secrecy, several million of these children each year are entitled to be helped. First Star puts them in first position.”
First Star recently launched two groundbreaking advocacy movements nationwide following the presentations of findings in Congress: “State Secrecy and Child Deaths in the U.S.” and “First Star National Report Card on Legal Representation for Children.” The goal of both reports is to serve as an objective, performance-evaluating tool in which all 50 states and the District of Columbia received A through F letter grades based on statutes, court rules and practice and to raise national public awareness of these alarming issues and ignite legislative reform efforts in poorly performing states.
About the 2008 Honorees:
Ryan Kavanaugh - Ryan Kavanaugh is the CEO of Relativity Media, LLC, a media company involved in feature film and television financing, production, sales and marketing, and other related media ventures with numerous long-term deals with studios, including Sony and Universal.
Kavanaugh has been involved in the financing and producing of over 100 films including “3:10 To Yuma,” “300,” “Atonement,” “American Gangster,” “21,” “The Other Boleyn Girl,” “The Fast and the Furious,” “The Bank Job,” “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “The Forbidden Kingdom,” “Made of Honor” and the upcoming “Hancock,” “Brothers,” “Changeling” and “The Low Dweller.”
Kavanaugh’s philanthropic arm extends to such worthy causes as Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Art of Elysium, Habitat for Humanity, The Jewish Television Network, The Sheriff’s Youth Foundation and First Star. Kavanaugh has recently become co-chair of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles’ “Building a Greater L.A.” campaign and is also working diligently with Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters and every year hosts “Magic of the Match” carnival held at Camp Max Straus.
“I am delighted to join my colleagues, Peter Levinsohn and Stephanie Sperber, in being honored by First Star,” said Kavanaugh. “The organization’s commitment to advocacy for the safety and security of children around the country drew me to participate in this important event.”
Peter Levinsohn - Peter Levinsohn is President of News Corporation’s Fox Interactive Media, a role in which he is responsible for driving the vision and strategy for a company that includes such category-leading sites as MySpace, IGN, Photobucket, FOXSports.com and RottenTomatoes. Together, these sites comprise a network that reaches one of the largest and most-engaged audiences on the Internet.
Under Levinsohn’s guidance, Fox Interactive Media is dedicated to Internet safety, especially for the youngest users of sites like MySpace and Photobucket. As the world’s most popular social network, MySpace has pioneered Internet safety through a combination of technology, education, legislation initiatives and work with law enforcement. In the past year, the company has implemented hundreds of new safety features; launched “Don’t Stop the Dialogue” PSA campaign with iKeepsafe.org; joined forces with 50 Attorneys General to adopt a Joint Statement on Key Principles of Social Networking Sites Safety; partnered with Senators Schumer and McCain as well as Congressmen Pomeroy, Gillmor, Weiner and Chabot when they introduced the KIDS Act of 2007; and supported email registration legislation that has passed in 12 states.
Levinsohn is a 19-year veteran of News Corporation, having served in a number of executive roles prior to taking the helm at Fox Interactive Media in November 2006. Most recently, he served a dual role as President of Fox Digital Media – a FOX Entertainment Group company – and President of Worldwide Pay Television and Video-on-Demand for Fox Filmed Entertainment.
“I am incredibly proud to be among the honorees recognized by this phenomenal organization,” said Levinsohn. “The effort to protect children is dear to my heart as a father, and I feel a deep responsibility to the users of our sites and their families. I’m proud of what MySpace and Photobucket have done to be leaders in their field and thank all of the amazing partners we have in technology, policy, education and law enforcement who support in that effort.”
Stephanie Sperber - Stephanie Sperber is Executive Vice President, Universal Studios Partnerships, overseeing all strategic corporate alliances as well as theatrical and home entertainment promotions for Universal Studios. In this role, she has negotiated some of the industry’s most ground-breaking and lucrative strategic alliances. Sperber started at Universal Studios in 1996 in the Corporate Marketing Group where she worked on cross-divisional brand development.
Sperber is a member of the board of trustees at The Country School in Los Angeles, the Salk International Council at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and is an active supporter of the Lollipop Theater Network.
“First Star’s commitment and passion for children’s rights is extraordinary, and we look forward to celebrating the promise and protection of kids everywhere at this special event,” said Sperber. “Peter Samuelson’s work on behalf of children everywhere is inspiring, and it is a true honor to advocate for First Star.”
About First Star
First Star is a leading national 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to strengthening the rights and improving the lives of America’s abused and neglected children through education, public policy, legislative reform, and litigation. Our nonpartisan, multidisciplinary approach fosters collaborative action among organizations, advocates, practitioners and policy makers working to benefit children. For event tickets, please visit www.firststar.org.