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ABOUT US

The Wayfarer Foundation has been serving people on the streets of Los Angeles for over five years — bringing love, dignity and compassion to people experiencing homelessness.

Angelenos want to be part of the solution and they’re seeking meaningful and powerful ways to take action. Our programs engage thousands of volunteers who, working side-by-side with their unhoused neighbors, will help bring an end to homelessness.

We believe homelessness can be solved.

We believe it’s up to all of us to make it happen.

THE TEAM

JUSTIN BALDONI

Founder & Chairman, Board of Directors

Justin Baldoni is an actor, director, producer, speaker, and entrepreneur who is focused on being of service through his work in creating impactful media and entertainment.

After creating and directing the award-winning documentary series, My Last Days, Baldoni made his feature film directorial debut this year with FIVE FEET APART. He also produced on the film and it went on to crush box office predictions and is on track to gross over $80 million worldwide. Baldoni will next direct CLOUDS for Warner Bros.

On the acting front, Baldoni is best known for playing “Rafael” on The CW’s award-winning phenomenon, Jane the Virgin. The fifth and final season is currently airing.

As an entrepreneur, Baldoni co-founded Wayfarer Entertainment—a cause-driven media studio focused on creating content that highlights inspiration, unity, and the power of human connection. Through this platform, he created the dinner conversation series, Man Enough, which dives into traditional masculinity while focusing on topics like body image, relationships, and fatherhood. He has spoken about his own journey with masculinity in a viral TED talk as well as across college campuses in America.

Baldoni founded and is a chairman of The Wayfarer Foundation, a non-profit organization that puts on one of Los Angeles’ largest volunteer events, The Carnival of Love, which provides connection, services, and resources to people who are experiencing homelessness in LA’s Skid Row community and will expand nationally in 2020.

Baldoni currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

SARAH POLITIS

Vice Chair, Board of Directors

“Always love each other.” These are the four words Sarah’s mother told her and her brothers every morning before they left the house for school as chlidren. They are also the four words that have sparked her desire to have a positive impact and bring the world closer together.

Growing up in a small town outside Detroit, Sarah’s parents taught her to dream big and to help others to do the same. When she was in high school, she created an online talk show centered on interviews with positive role models to share their stories of triumphs and failures in hopes of encouraging listeners to follow their own dreams and to pursue their own passions.

This interest in communication led her to the University of Southern California, where she earned a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Cinema Production before moving to New York to work at SMAC Entertainment, a talent management and production company.

Prior to joining Wayfarer Entertainment, Sarah also worked in Global Marketing Solutions at a “small” tech start-up called Facebook.

She believes the key to success is kindness, hard work, and dry shampoo.

AHMED MUSIOL

Secretary, Board of Directors

As President of Wayfarer Entertainment, Ahmed is tasked with providing strong leadership for the organization by working with the board and executive team to establish short-term goals, long-term goals and strategies.

Ahmed finds joy in the crafting of compelling narratives that address social issues and causes, his commitment is to offer a unique perspective for clients by drawing from his diverse background.

Mostly recently, Ahmed directed and executive produced several episodes of Wayfarer’s flagship series, My Last Days. He received a Television Academy Honors Award, Webby and Clio for his work on the series. Ahmed also directed and executive produced season one of Man Enough, for which he received a Telly and Adweek Arc Award.

Ahmed is a board member of the Wayfarer Foundation and actively supports a number of nonprofit organizations across the country.

SAM BALDONI

Board Member

Sam Baldoni is the Vice President, Brand Partnerships and Executive Producer at Wayfarer Entertainment.

A marketing visionary, Baldoni has enjoyed a long and successful career in the entertainment industry. He is widely known as one of the founding fathers of the multi-billion dollar product placement business in the film and television industry. Baldoni launched Baldoni Entertainment while lending his advertising and product marketing expertise on Steven Spielberg’s Gremlins. The company quickly became the most profitable product placement company in the entertainment industry, and worked on nearly every major feature film with every major studio. Baldoni also successfully incorporated product placement into television and worked with all of the major networks, along with leading production companies such as Spelling Entertainment where he and Aaron Spelling ultimately founded AsSeenIn.com, a premiere digital platform that introduced consumers to click and buy technology enabling them to take a virtual tour of their favorite shows where they could click and instantly buy the products they desired directly from the website. Baldoni’s innovation and expertise also led him to invest in and build SJS Hippo Animation, the premiere and leading animation studio in China.

Baldoni began his professional career in government, serving as a legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator from Indiana. Always active in his community, he has served as chairman and board director for the Medford Schools Foundation in Medford, Oregon, member of the Medford School Board’s Budget Committee, and as a committee member of the Young President’s Group at City of Hope, one of the nation’s leading institutions for the treatment of cancer, AIDS, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

STEVE SAROWITZ

Board Member

Steve Sarowitz is Founder and Chairman of Paylocity (Nasdaq: PCTY), a leading U.S. provider of payroll and HR solutions. In addition, Steve also serves as CEO of Blue Marble, an international payroll provider, Director of Payescape, a UK payroll provide, and partner in Wayfarer Entertainment. He is also an international philanthropist with an interest in promoting unity by and promoting universal education and advocating for the elimination of racism, sexism, nationalism and religious prejudice. He also serves on the board of NCAT, an organization that builds state-of-the art training centers in urban areas. Steve was active in promoting the documentaries He Named Me Malala and Rosenwald. He serves as Executive Producer for the award-winning documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise and The Gate: Dawn of the Bahai Faith, a groundbreaking documentary about the founding of the Baha’i Faith. Steve is an avid runner who has been inducted into the Chicago Area Runners Association Hall of Fame and is a 3-time winner of the MSE Division in the Chicago Chase Corporate Challenge. Steve is married with 2 children and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Illinois.

TAMI KUPETZ STAPF

Board Member

Tami Kupetz Stapf has been active in the health and wellness field for nearly 30 years, encouraging people of all ages to find their love of fitness. A dedicated philanthropist, she and husband, David Stapf, President of CBS Television Studios, actively support awareness and fundraising for Jewish Family Services’ Adopt A Family program and Family Violence Project. JFS honored Mr. and Mrs. Stapf for their extraordinary activism and efforts in 2012. In her role as Board Director for The Wayfarer Foundation, Ms. Stapf will guide the organization’s fundraising efforts and help to create awareness and support from senior executive leadership in the entertainment industry.

FARHOUD MEYBODI

Board Member

As EVP of Wayfarer Foundation’s Creative, Farhoud sets and executes Wayfarer’s overall creative vision across feature film, documentary, series, and commercial content, further strengthening the company’s mission to create entertainment that compels social change.

At his core, Farhoud is passionate about storytelling that entertains, educates, and inspires. He also believes in the transformational power of empathy and shared human experience to heal the political-social divide of the present day.

Mostly recently, Farhoud directed and executive produced several episodes of Wayfarer’s flagship series, My Last Days. He received a Television Academy Honors Award, Muse and Clio for his work on the series. Farhoud also executive produced and wrote Man Enough, for which he received a Telly and Adweek Arc award, and created Project Upgrade, an unscripted series featuring YouTube stars, The Merrell Twins, as they set out to design and build a new consumer product with the help of successful female mentors.

Farhoud serves as a board member of the Wayfarer Foundation, The Muslim Public Affairs Council, as well as Loyola Marymount University’s Business School A-LIST Marketing Pathway, where he teaches a course on Branded Content for Social Impact.

STEFAN SONNENFELD

Board Member

Stefan Sonnenfeld, Founder and President of Company 3, is a trusted collaborator of some of the world’s best filmmakers. He is an artist of rare talent and a major contributor to the momentous creative, technical, and business-oriented changes that are sweeping the post-production industry today.

Sonnenfeld is among a handful of artists who has championed the power of color grading to tell stories and communicate emotion. Described by NPR as a “da Vinci of the movies,” Sonnenfeld has applied his skills as a colorist to many of the most acclaimed and popular projects being done, including: A Star is Boar, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Wonder Woman, the Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers series, to name just a few.

Sonnenfeld grew up in Los Angeles and studied business at Boston University. a summer job delivering dailies for the TV series Miami Vice sparked his interest in post production. He began his career with Image Transform and became a colorist at The Post Group. At Pacific Ocean Post in the 1990s, he was among the most sought after colorists of commercials and music videos, forging close relationships with the industry’s top directors and cinematographers.

Sonnenfeld founded Company 3 in 1997. As many commercial directors made the transition to long-form work, he became increasingly involved in grading feature films, helping to pioneer the digital intermediate process. At the same time, he built Company 3 into a national powerhouse, with an unrivaled reputation for excellence in color grading and other post production services. In 2007, Entertainment Weekly named Sonnenfeld to its list of “50 Smartest People in Hollywood.” Creativity Magazine also included him on its list of “Most Interesting People.”

JEFFREY ZUROFSKY

Board Member

Jeffrey Zurofsky is the founder and CEO of No Small Plans, LLC, a multi-disciplinary creative and entrepreneurial firm dedicated to the creating, advising and investing in projects that make large scale social impact in food, health & wellness and social justice. He is also the co-founder and former president and CEO of ’wichcraft, Riverpark, and Riverpark Farm, a partnership with chef Tom Colicchio. Jeffrey is an inaugural Council Member of the Tuft’s School of Nutrition, the Executive Culinary Director at Newport Academy, served on the board of NYC’s GrowNYC, an advisor to Summit Series, and recently a co-host on BravoTV’s Best New Restaurant. Early in his career, Jeffrey was trained at the French Culinary Institute and worked in some of Manhattan’s most prestigious kitchens, including Lespinasse, Savoy, and Union Square Cafe.

Most recently, Jeffrey can be found writing about his experiences on Clean Plates, Huffington Post or his blog, jeffreyzurofsky.com or creating the nourishment programs for The Future of Storytelling, Summit Series, Summit Powder Mountain, Newport Academy or directing the brand experience for ollie coliving. Additionally, Jeffrey advises multiple companies in his quest to help entrepreneurs build their dreams into realities.

Jeffrey has also been a key advisor and contributor to Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Chef and the newly released The Kefir Cookbook: An Ancient Healing Superfood for Modern Life, Recipes from My Family Table and Around the World by Julie Smolyansky.

Jeffrey’s passion as an entrepreneur and love for food started at the age of eight, attempting to replicate in his family’s New Jersey kitchen what he saw master chefs create on classic PBS cooking shows. His mother, a small business owner, encouraged his budding interest in everything culinary and Jeffrey put his self-taught skills to work in professional kitchens while studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He paid his way through school in the area’s best restaurants, and eventually became sous chef at the Mobil 4-star La Residence. Upon graduation, he moved to New York City and where he has been able to feed his desire to develop new and innovative ideas in a fast paced environment.

Jeffrey’s Civic and Philanthropic Engagements include:

  • Board Member, GrowNYC
  • Council Member, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition
  • Instructor of Culinary Entrepreneurship at the International Culinary Center
  • Food Truck Nation Board Advisor, Expo Milan
  • Entrepreneur Board Member, Venture for America
  • The Wayfarer Foundation

Jeffrey’s Business Advisory Engagements include:

  • Mahzedahr Bakery
  • Reserve.com sold to Resy.com
  • Sourcery.com – exited
  • Summit Series
  • Exo Protein – exited
  • Impossible Foods
  • Sol A Mer Sunhats
  • Change Food
  • Newport Academy Center for the Holistic Treatment of Adolescent Mental Health Issues
  • Thrive Market
  • Habitas
  • We are Amma
  • Ollie.co

Jeffrey’s Honors, Awards and Titles:

  • 2010 French Culinary Institute’sI Outstanding Alumni
  • Municipal Arts Society Livable City Award
  • Yorkville Common Pantry 30 Year Anniversary Honoree
  • GrowNYC 40th Year Anniversary Honoree

MITRA AHOURAIAN

Counsel

Los Angeles-based entertainment attorney Mitra Ahouraian launched her legal career working with globally-renouned firms, developing a foundation in Business Litigation, Intellectual Property, and Corporate Law before branching off into Entertainment. With degrees from both UCLA and Loyola Law School, and a specialty from UCLA in Entertainment Studies with an emphasis in Business and Legal Affairs, Ahouraian has worked in legal affairs at MTV, has worked on the merger of 2 major record labels, and has been of-counsel to several high-profile breach of contract and copyright cases involving artists, major studios, and record companies. Her entertainment practice specializes in film and entertainment financing, negotiating and structuring artist and production deals, and all intellectual property and corporate matters, including rights clearance, licensing, copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Ahouraian has extensive experience in film, music, and books, and served as General Counsel to independent book and audio book publisher Phoenix Books, for whom she negotiated and drafted hundreds of book and audio book publishing agreements and other agreements pertaining to titles which include Larry King’s My Remarkable Journey, Carl Reiner’s most recent books, Robert Evan’s The Kid Stays in the Picture, Bill Maher’s audio books, and books by Governor Rod Blagojevich, CNN host Jim Moret, and Gene Simmons, to name just a few.

Ahouraian’s film experience includes finance and production legal for the film Girl Soldier, starring Uma Thurman, and production deals for Battlefield America. Her film practice specializes in intellectual property, film finance, corporate law, and production advising on all aspects of motion picture and television development, financing, production and distribution. She represents actors, writers, directors, producers, financiers and lenders. Ahouraian firm Goodloe Law, whose principal clients have included Paramount Pictures, New Line Cinema, Universal Pictures, Miramax Films, Warner Bros. Pictures, Endemol Group B.V., Fallbrook Credit Finance and an array of independent producers for whom they have advised the structuring and allocation of over 1 billion USD.

Ahouraian is also a founding member and general counsel to Crimson World, LLC, an independent artist development company co-founded by a recording artist in partnership with Universal Music Group, and backed by Grammy award-winning producers and songwriters. In this capacity, she established the corporate structure, put together investment packages, and negotiated and drafted investment agreements, along with recording and production agreements with artists and producers, such as complex360° artist agreements. With an in-depth understanding of the music industry, and foresight, creativity and keen business sense, Ahouraian helped Crimson World develop a comprehensive business model to monetize music within a changing landscape, using recording artists as the platform for developing assets in all media.

ADDITIONAL TEAM MEMBERS

ROCHEL LEAH BERNSTEIN
Board Member

MICHAEL BROWN
Treasurer, Board of Directors

AMARA ONONIWU
Board Member

RON J. SMITH
Board Member

 

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