Tag Archives: Interface Foundation

Follow Interface on Twitter

20 May

With social media being all the rage you can now follow our work at www.twitter.com/scottlazerson & www.twitter.com/interfaceorg.  From dinner with 14 of the First Ladies of Africa to talking global philanthropy with Paris Hilton at her house to trekking up mountains in Guatemala to deliver meals & toothbrushes into school lunch feeding programs you can now know exactly what we are doing by adding us on your Twitter!

Actor Simon Rex teaching chilldren in Guatemala how to brush their teeth

Actor Simon Rex teaching children in Guatemala how to brush their teeth

Delivering Meals to Tzununá, Guatemala

11 May

In Guatemala, the face of poverty and hunger is young, indigenous and rural. Guatemala, with the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world and the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean, faces a serious challenge to reduce chronic undernutrition, currently at 49.3% among children under 5.

The Interface Foundation took two of our supporters Ami Manning & actor Simon Rex to visit the village of  Tzununá during the week of May 3.  Thanks to Stop Hunger Now we delivered 800 meals into mother/child care programs. 

The women of the village even helped us carry the meals to the center where we distributed them.

The Women of Tzununá Carrying Meals to Distribute

The Women of Tzununá Carrying Meals to Distribute

Philanthropy at Paris Hilton's Birthday Party

16 Feb

Eradicating hunger is a global priority and the Interface Foundation partner organization Stop Hunger Now is leading the way.

This past week my dear friend Paris Hilton called & invited me to her birthday party.  I found this to be the perfect opportunity to share with her close friends the mission of the Interface Foundation–to leverage the power of business & celebrity for the benefit of high impact public charities achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

At her party, I carried around a bag of food that I had the opportunity to package with others at the Stop Hunger Now Million Meal Event at UNC Chapel Hill.  With a house  full of beautiful & famous people like Hayden Panettiere, Nicky Hilton, Kevin Connolly, Simon Rex, Russell Simmons, the guys from Three 6 Mafia, Joy Enriquez, the new pop duo group Main Street, music producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, J Ambrozic, businessman Robert Earl who owns Planet Hollywood, publicist Elliot Mintz, Laura Harring, comedian Andy Milonakis to name a few it couldn’t be more fun or a better opportunity to talk about our philanthropic work.    Everyone was interested to the point that email addresses & mobile phone numbers were given because they all want to help the process.  Kevin Connolly of Entourage volunteered, as Simon Rex talked up Interface, to go on a trip to Guatemala or Africa.  Who said global philanthropic work cannot be fun???

We at Interface continute to support relief organizations such as Stop Hunger Now which have the means to deliver meals into school feeding programs that sustain lifelong change.. 

In the midst of  cotton candy, sliders, sweet potato fries, and a huge birthday cake,  we hit a home run in sharing the vision of Interface.   

Happy Birthday Paris & thanks for letting your party be a chance to share our philanthropic vision of ending hunger in our lifetime with all your friends.  The cake was amazing…

The Girl Effect

30 Dec

Several months ago I saw this great You Tube clip that addresses Millennium Develpoment Goal 3 of promoting gender equality and empowering women. 

As the Interface Foundation looks to help high impact foundations eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2009 and in all levels of education no later than 2015 this video shows the powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate in their society.

Food Distribution Day

22 Oct

I spend most of my days doing everything in my power to engage business leaders, celebrities, students, friends and family in the Interface philanthropic crusade.  Today I reached out to a few people (Sheila E, Eric Mabius of Ugly Betty, Evan Walker, Harriet Giles of Auburn Univerisity, Mary Fanaro of Omnipeace, Andrew Keegan, Jeff Sheets, Cynthia Garrett, Chris Stamos) whom I thought could influence our work for the better.  I sent an email to Mia Farrow.  Most know her as the American actress who has appeared in over 40 films.  However Ms.Farrow is also notable for her extensive humanitarian work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Her latest effort is www.miafarrow.org containing a guide on how to get involved with Darfur activism, along with her photos and blog entries from Darfur, Chad, and the Central African Republic. In 2008, she was selected by TIME Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world. I was pleasantly surprised to get a kind email back from Ms. Farrow saying, “great work, Scott” & now I am looking forward to speaking with her to gain her insight into making Interface THE philanthropic movement to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  We are on the right path!!

I thought you might enjoy an entry Mia shared with us regarding a Food Distribution Day at a camp for Darfuri refugees.  Please share this with everyone you know…

Thank you Mia for being a voice for the millions who do not have one.

Voices from the refugee camps
Today was ‘Food Distribution Day at Oure Cassoni camp for Darfuri refugees.
Food rations have been cut. What used to feed a family of four now must be stretched to sustain 6 people.
Listed below are  the rations given out today at Oure Casssoni — to each person. They must make their supply last for one month. They will also share their rations with newly arrived, unregistered  refugees.  The camp quota cannot exceed 27,000 people. The aid agencies do not have the capacity to sustain more.   
Each person receives;  
2.65 oz of cooking oil
1.59 oz  of sugar
0.55 oz’s of salt (for the first time in months salt has been available)
3.3 pounds of lentils
22 lbs cereal
3.3 lbs sorghum
 soap—but none has been available for months
 
The goal is to give each refugee 2100 calories.   But for months they have been receiving 1800 calories-less than the minimum requirement. Suggested calorie consumption in the US is about 2500 calories a day. Conservatively.
I have heard that Chadians, the 250,000 also displaced by Janjaweed attacks, receive 40% of what the Darfuri refugees are given, but I have not yet been able to  confirm this.
The World Food Programme representative here told me that “US dollars cannot buy what they could before. “ The WFP is running out of money. As you know, food rations to the more than 2. 5 million people in the camps of Darfur have been halved (as of last May) Insecurity on the ground has forced food to be delivered by air. This is unsustainably expensive yet we cannot let people starve. It is the children under five who die first. Anyone wishing to help should donate to the WFP.
The cost of grain has risen dramatically. And the cost of transportation is, as we all know, sky high.  The people here have been asking for new jerry-cans, the plastic containers they need to carry water from the water-point to their dwellings.  But the cost of getting  the containers to the camp now exceeds the cost of manufacturing and purchasing them. All supplies come here by road through Libya and Cameroon. When the roads are impassible-which is OFTEN in the rainy reason,  supplies cannot get through. It is a precarious situation.  

Mia Farrow at the Djabai Refugee Camp

Mia Farrow at the Djabai Refugee Camp

The Power of Philanthropic Boldness

10 Oct

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! / Boldness has genius, power and magic in it,:” is one of Goethe’s couplets for which I have deep respect.  I have the strongest desire to connect humanity with humanity on all levels & often times I have no idea quite how to do it, but I just “begin it” with crazy amounts of “boldness“!!

Here is the perfect example:

The Interface Foundation supports global philanthropic leaders changing the world, my heroes if you will.  Several months ago I had the great opportunity to meet Rod Brooks, CEO & Chessney Barrick, Director of Development of Stop Hunger Now (SHN).  Stop Hunger Now (www.stophungernow.org) provides food & lifesaving aid to the world’s most destitute and hungry in the most efficient, effective and sustainable manner!!  The work of SHN is AMAZING!!!!  I was inspired to see how I could, in some way, support their lifesaving work.

I started to help immediately.  After text messaging several of my friends in Hollywood to tell them 850 million people suffer from the tragedy of hunger and that 25,000 people die EVERYDAY from hunger-related causes over 28 friends showed up on 2 days to shoot a series of 6 Public Service Announcements for Stop Hunger Now.  I didn’t know how I would do this, but I took the first step by talking to SHN then contacting my friends.  The outcome was impactful!! 

Take a look:

I made the decision to use my network for good, I moved forward and the world is seeing the magic!! 

Thanks to Felisha Terrell, Jeremy Piven, MIchael Moloney, Christian Audigier, VIctoria Recano of Entertainment Tonight, SImon Rex, the band Atreyu, Lance Bass, Laura Harring, Rachel Smith, Jesse Metcalfe, Cindy Landon, Dee Murthy, Mary Mary, Tom Higginson, Jeremy Petty, Andrew Keegan, Cynthia Garrett, Lucia Micarelli, Jennifer Landon, Vanessa Williams, Andrea Donsky, Cassandra Hepburn, Harvey Mason Jr., Tamera Mowry, and Meredith Brunsman.

W.H. Murray says, “Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too.  All sorts of thing occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  A whole stream of events from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”

This is the magic of Interface…

The Interface Foundation — My Life's Work

8 Oct

As a child I always saw myself helping countless people.  Serving is truly the essence of who I am & for most of my life this has been a double-edged sword.  The words of Henry Van Dyke in his short story The Mansion resonate in my soul daily, ” What could I have done better?  What is it that counts?  ‘Only that which is truly given,” answered the voice.  Only that good which is done for the love of doing it.  Only those plans in which the welfare of others is the master thought.  Only those labors in which the sacrifice is greater than the reward.  Only those gifts in which the giver forgets himself.”  So this double-edged sword of my souls ultimate desire to serve has finally become my ultimate blessing & my life’s work.  For years I would bang my head against the wall as I was not born with a trust fund, I was not educated at an Ivy league school, I was not blessed with “fame” however these supposed “hurdles” in my life are my actual blessings.  My unquenchable desire to be a force for good is a flame that will never be extinguished because I don’t have a trust fund, I didn’t go to an Ivy League school & because I can’t carry a tune & didn’t win American Idol & end up touring the world.  It is that simple!  What I do have is the ultimate desire to serve humanity and after 12 years of working professionally in the non-profit world the Interface Foundation was born.

As most of you know last year Interface came to life.  The Interface Foundation is a 501(c)3 private foundation whose mission is to leverage the power of business and celebrity to bring attention to high impact organizations working to accomplish one of the eight Millennium Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2000.

There is no greater peace than knowing your life’s mission!  With Interface I work 24/7 in doing all in my power to get humanity to help humanity!  Each and everyone of us can contribute in some way & I am here to guide the philanthropic ship of Interface to the ultimate destinations where high impact philanthropic initiatives will change countless lives.  Eradicating extreme poverty & hunger (850 million people suffer fromt the tragedy of hunger).  Allowing every child in the world to receive primary education (presently 125 million children don’t go to primary school).  Promoting gender equality & empowering women.  Reducing child mortality.  Improving maternal health.  Combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases.  Ensuring environmental sustainability.

In a very short time we have seen hundreds, thousands of people come together to learn about Interface partner organizations, we have seen donations of time, money & products, and equally as big we have seen people spread the Interface mission!  It is a testament to the power of Interface.  Choose your goal & we will help you support it!!!

I have to give huge thanks to the business community and it’s true philanthropic leaders like Steve Luczo from Seagate, Brent Bishop, Josh James of Omniture, the famed music video director Hype Williams, Randy Blosil of Xango, Alex Hoffmann of Nu Skin, Brandon Fugal of Coldwell Utah, Bernadette Turner of QVC, Darren Dixon, Charlie Walk President of Epic Records, Brent Bolthouse of SBE, Bryan Ferre of Cultivate Ideas, Andrea Donsky, Jim Evans of Xactware,  Jason Deere, Maggie Biggar of Fortis Films, Lisa Spackman, Joel Sybrowski, Jeron Paul of V Spring, Bernadette Hill, Lisette Sand-Freedman of Shadow PR, Jessica Weitz, Dee Murthy of Five Four Clothing, famed music producer Harvey Mason JR, Lisa Nelson of ICAP, Joe “3H” Weinberger, Cynthia Garrett, Kirk Lee of Intuit. 

And I have to set the record straight here after being asked a million times if celebrities are truly engaged in causes because of their own heart or is it a PR move?  Well after being involved with some of the biggest names in the world, I have to say regardless of the celebrity’s initial reason for getting involved I have text message, emails, voice messages, & hand-written thank you notes that show they can’t wait for the next opportunity to serve humanity.  With that I want to thank a few now by giving them a “shout out” — Jeremy Piven of Entourage, Vanessa Williams, Eric Mabius of Ugly Betty, Jesse Metcalfe, Lance Bass,  Sheila E,  Sandra Bullock, Shannon Elizabeth, Tom Higginson of the Plain White T’s, Terri Seymour of Extra, Edison Chen, Paul Wall, Paris Hilton, Marla Maples, Patrick Muldoon, Blake Lewis from American Idol, Michael Moloney from Extreme Makeover:Home Edition, Laura Harring, artist Paul Rusconi, Miss USA Rachel Smith, and Billy Bush from Access Hollywood to name a few.

Paris Hilton Using Her Voice For Philanthropic Good

Paris Hilton Using Her Voice For Philanthropic Good

Let’s continue to come together to change the world.  The goals are simple.  The mission is pure.  Remember what the poet June Jordan taught us: We are the ones we have been waiting for.

 

Staying the Course : Philanthropy, A Way of Life — The Beginning

7 Oct
The Lazerson Family in Mallorca

The Lazerson Family in Mallorca

I am overcome with emotion as my Rwandian guide leads me to the grave sight of some 42,000 people, slaughtered only years before.  Every where I look, death abounds–and there doesn’t seem to be much hope for those still clinging to life in the villages around this desolate place.  I visit a so-called hospital, more of a makeshift dog kennel, where the conditions are only the best that can be, and yet so inhumane.  I feel myself about to lose it, lose all hope, when suddenly my eyes come to rest on a mother, in a bed with three children, and two of the children are dying.  Her eyes flicker to life and she makes contact with me.  I stand there in a pool of hopelessness as we connect, but then I almost involuntarily allow myself to smile.  The smile grows across my face and becomes real and genuine, and she breaks into a grin, and I see the whiteness of her teeth against the background of her beautiful dark skin.  It seems like that smile lasts an eternity and knows no boundaries–no boundaries of language, of skin color, of economic standing–just a simple smile, and yet, we both felt it radiate warmth into our souls.  And there was that hope, returned to me anew!  This is why I came to Rwanda, to connect to their humanity, to find the hope in all of this destruction.  That smile filled my soul and I carry it with me to this day, and it fuels me on to serve humanity in whatever way that I can.

I became awakened to the idea of serving humanity as a young boy of twelve, who was admonished by his father to follow him to Martha’s Table, a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C.  At first I may have only gone there to please my father, but the act of service I was rendering made an imprint on my mind and I knew that someday I would make a difference to the less fortunate.  I came to realize that this was my calling in life.

After spending several years as a young entrepreneur, I felt my heart strings tugging at me to go in another direction.  The philanthropic spirit was newly awakened in me when I was asked by a friend to join the Board of Directors of the American Indian Services, where I worked to assist Native Americans in their education endeavors.  As my career was in a state of flux, I was then able to take on a position with the Larry King Cardiac Foundation as Executive Director.  This enabled me to make use of the celebrity contacts that I had, and also gave me experience in organizing inspiring charity events and celebrity galas.

Following my service with that organization, I joined forces with the Rose Foundation, which builds schools in developing countries for disadvantaged children.  I have never forgotten the day I visited the Guatemala City Dump.  Piles and miles of trash had been carved out into homes, and children and adults alike were rifling through the stinking waste, searching for survival.  I saw a young girl, the same age as my little girl, sitting in an old tire.  I was horrified as she lifted a bottle of completely curdled milk to her lips and gulped it as vultures circled overhead!  This is where my vow to make a difference was set in stone.  Through my years of service in Central America, I came to love the people and to love philanthropy.

James M. Barrie has said, “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.”  I can attest to the truthfulness of this statement.  As I spent a year battling cancer, my family and I were served and loved by so many charitable souls, and we felt the sunshine of their love.  I have also felt the sun on my face as I watched the ecstatic children of Guatemala emerge from their life circumstances, and put on clean uniforms and come to school–they will change the world they come from and make their world a sunnier place, a safer place, a more productive place.

Today my platform is the Interface Foundation.  Our mission is to leverage the power of business and celebrity for the benefit of high impact charities trying to achieve one of the Millennium Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2000. My admonition to the world is:  Let’s spread our heart’s desire to do some good in this world.  Humanity can serve humanity.  Our voices can lend life to the voices that go unheard!  We are that voice, we are the heart, we are the hands, and we can change this world through generating awareness, through love, and through service.

Feel the Smile of Rwanda.  It is there to teach us how to love.  It starts simple and then it grows, and it will expand if we all come together.