Closing the Equity Gap Through Education, Entrepreneurship and Employment

Peter Samuelson

President & CEO, First Star, Inc.



Peter Samuelson, producer of 25 films including Arlington Road, Wilde, Tom & Viv and Revenge of the Nerds is also a founder of The Starlight Children's Foundation, Starbright World, First Star and EDAR, charities operating around the world. He is President of ASPIRE, the Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment, which teaches story-telling for social change through media to undergraduates of many disciplines, piloted at UCLA.


Peter Samuelson has been described as a “serial pro-social entrepreneur”. In 1982, inspired by a little boy battling an inoperable brain tumor, Peter conceived of the Starlight Children’s Foundation WWW.STARLIGHT.ORG -- an international charity dedicated to granting wishes for seriously ill children. Starlight has grown to offer eight core psycho-social programs, each restoring some of the laughter, happiness and self-esteem that serious illness takes away from kids and those who love them. As parents and healthcare providers confirmed the positive psychological and often medical impact of Starlight programming, in 1990 Peter brought together leaders including Steven Spielberg and General Norman Schwarzkopf to create the STARBRIGHT Foundation -- a charity dedicated to developing media and technology-based programs to educate and empower children to cope with the medical, emotional and social challenges of their illness. In 2004, Starlight and STARBRIGHT completed a formal merger and became the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation, with offices throughout Australia, Canada, The United Kingdom, Japan and across the United States. Starlight Starbright has a combined operating budget of $45 million and serves over 2.4 million children annually. Peter Samuelson serves as its International Chairman. He is currently focused on the parallel establishment of collaborative Starlight Affiliates in Amman, Jordan, Tel Aviv, Israel and Ramallah in the Palestinian Territory.

In 1999, Peter founded First Star WWW.FIRSTSTAR.ORG, a separate national 501(c)(3) charity headquartered in Washington, D.C. that works to improve the public health, safety, and family life of America’s abused and neglected children. With Peter as President, First Star provides “top-down” systemic leadership to provide quality and compassionate care for children within the child welfare system, basic civil and legal rights for every child and safe, stable and permanent homes for all children.

In 2005, Peter founded EDAR, “Everyone Deserves A Roof” WWW.EDAR.ORG to develop and widely distribute a mobile single-user structure which in the daytime serves as a purpose-built recycling vehicle while at night time transforming into a comfortable tented bed enclosure. The anticipated sponsorship price point is $600 per EDAR.

Peter is a graduate of Cambridge University with a Masters in English Literature and the fourth of five family generations employed in the film industry. After serving as production manager on films such as The Return of the Pink Panther, he emigrated from England to Los Angeles and produced Revenge of the Nerds, Tom & Viv, Wilde, Arlington Road and many other films. Peter served on the three person founding Board of Participant Media, Jeff Skoll’s pro-social media company, and he was the first Managing Director of the Media Institute for Social Change at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

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