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Meet Peter Samuelson of First Star in West Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Peter Samuelson.

Peter, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I immigrated to the United States in 1975 and have been paying back on my American Dream ever since. I am an entrepreneur in two fields: As founder of five major 501(c)(3) charities and as producer of 27 motion pictures. And now, the two aspects of my life combine in the production of double-bottom-line films that are not only commercial but move the needle in society in important ways: www.philmcomedia.com.

Amond my charities are www.starlight.org, where we have raised and spent over one Billion dollars providing psychosocial services to seriously ill children. www.firststar.org propels 87% of our teenage foster kids into colleges and universities out of high school. www.edar.org houses the homeless. www.ASPIRElabs.org creates pathways to the creation of socially relevant and powerful media.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Entrepreneurs are rare birds… we apply new solutions to old problems. It turns out those same skills work equally well in the nonprofit and for-profit worlds: Is this idea sound? What is the business plan? How well does it pitch? What’s the goal? Who is the customer or client? .How do we crew this? Who are our partners. Part of being a repetitive entrepreneur is pattern recognition and finding a window that is open when a door is closed. That is what leaders do. And servant leadership means you respect your team, ensure it is diverse and help keep it enthusiastically collegiate and can-do.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with First Star – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
First Star, a national nonprofit, improves the lives of foster youth by partnering with child welfare agencies, universities, and school districts to ensure foster youth have the academic, life skills, and adult supports needed to transition to higher education and adulthood successfully. We pursue our mission through innovative, university-based college-preparatory programs, providing technical assistance to stakeholders, and advocating for policy change.

At Starlight Children’s Foundation, we deliver happiness to thousands of hospitalized kids at more than 800 children’s hospitals and health care facilities in the U.S., with our fun, state-of-the-art programs like Starlight Virtual Reality, Starlight Hospital Wear, and Starlight Gaming. Starlight has brought smiles to more than 16 million seriously ill children and their families in the U.S. — at no cost to the kids or our hospital partners.

EDAR (Everyone Deserves A Roof) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides unique mobile shelters to homeless men, women and children. An EDAR is a four-wheeled unit based on a cart design that provides security for belongings, privacy and protection from the elements. During the day, the EDAR is a compact portable unit with sturdy wheels and waterproof protection. The steering is maneuverable and there is a brake and locking mechanism which ensures the unit will not move on its own.

ASPIRE, The Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment is a national 501(c)(3) organization that I founded in 2014, with the vision of empowering rising generations to harness the power of storytelling through media to make the world a better place, by inspiring global community awareness through its online distribution, driving civic activism and societal change. ASPIRE advocates for sustainability and social justice through media-focused teaching and research. We provide educational opportunities for students globally to leverage media to enhance their lifelong capacities to undertake social issue advocacy.

Finally, PhilmCo Media LLC At, we drive meaningful social change by uniting philanthropy, filmmaking and advocacy in a way that is not only purposefully transformative but also financially sustainable. At PhilmCo, we believe that truly purposeful content is only possible when a fundamental shift in the mindset of content creators is coupled with the active engagement of a broad and powerful alliance of nonprofit, pro-social and philanthropic partners.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m increasingly consulting to high net worth families, our new Medici, to help them build legacy, motivate and focus their children by deploying some of their wealth to making the world a better place. It is very exciting.

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