The Trusteeship
International Women's Foundation

LA84 – June 12

Trusteeship members and Founding LA84 Foundation Board Members Yvonne Burke and Maureen Kindel and Trusteeship member and President & CEO LA84, Renata Simril, invited their Trusteeship sisters to a great panel conversation at LA84 in Los Angeles.  Much was discussed but specifically the legacy of the Olympics in Los Angeles and the future 2028 Olympics.

We began our evening enjoying a summer cocktail in the courtyard of the historic Brett House with lovely music playing in the background. After cocktails we then dined in the Olympic Lounge (formerly known as the library) and took a peek at their vast Olympic collection. 

After dinner we met Olympians, Gary Hall, Jr. and Trusteeship member Anita L. DeFrantz, who were interviewed by noted Olympic journalist, Alan Abrahamson, about their ties to LA84, their Olympic lives and their involvement in bringing the Olympics back to Los Angeles in 2028.  This was a fascinating summer conversation program and all there enjoyed it immensely.

Topics discussed by the panel:

Play equity gap — The playing field is not currently equal for young people to play sports. The immense costs to parents and families to facilitate their child to play sport is extraordinary and way beyond a normal household’s income. That is where LA84 steps in for the youth of Los Angeles, they help fund youth sport where it is needed.

Anita touched on the Olympics boycott in 1980 that was held in Russia and she’s still mad that she couldn’t go.

1984 Olympics were a huge inspiration to Gary in laying the foundation of his Olympic goals.

Anita: What did you remember the most: Opening ceremony. Equestrian. Soccer. Spending the whole day with Tom Bradly and walking around the entire Olympic Village. Torch relay.

5 rings are the most recognizable on earth.

Gary: When did you know you’d be good at swimming: The summer after his 16th year. Had to do it by himself and his father was a big deal but he had to do it himself.

Anita: Shared about living in the Olympic Village and respecting one another and Everyone there is special and not everyone is going to win. The dining room was more of an equal playing field. North and South Korea dinned together in the dining room everyday in the Village and no one saw that. It is very very special in the Village.

Gary: In 2000 he was in a tie with Anthony (Tony) Irvin in the 50 freestyle. 16 years later Tony comes back as the oldest man on the swim team and won a gold medal in Rio. Amazing.

Alan, who co-authored a book with Michael Phelps: Michael didn’t think he’d beat Mark Spitz record in Beijing.

Anita:  1 of 4 women on the 15 person executive committee.

47 % women in Rio.

LA84 started with $93 million.

88% of LA wanted the Olympics. 15,000 Olympians live in SoCal.

‘32 and ‘84 were LA Olympics. Peter Ueberroth changed how Olympics we’re produced as far as obtaining funding.

What should the legacy of 2028 games be?  Olympic Blvd was named after the 1932 Olympics. Currently, LA doesn’t have to build anything here for the 2028 Olympics because our infrastructure is already built. Legacy will be human and not just the buildings.


Bordertown Now – Pasadena Playhouse – June 1

The Trusteeship enjoyed a special dinner and talk at The Valley Hunt Club followed by a performance of “Bordertown Now” at the beautiful Pasadena Playhouse!

Danny Feldman, the Pasadena Playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director joined The Trusteeship at the lovely Valley Hunt Club where we were hosted by Trusteeship member The Hon. Lee Edmon and her husband, The Hon. Dick Burdge who are members of this special club. Danny shared his history with us, his background is quit extensive and how he is putting his stamp on Pasadena and the Playhouse there. He was a breath of fresh air with an affable disposition that I’m sure no one could object to. He really walked us through the process of producing the show we were about to see and sprinkled it with insider info that made us all feel very special and included in the making of the production.

The show itself was a fun expression on a very tough topic and warmed the audience to it’s point….that the border issue with Mexico and the United States is very dimensional and the answers are tough to figure out. It was fun, compassionate, telling and inspirational!

Bordertown Now: An Interview With Culture Clash

About Bordertown Now: Twenty years after their searing hit Bordertown premiered, LA’s very own Culture Clash returns to the southern border to investigate the state of affairs once again. Re-imagined, remixed and fully reloaded, Bordertown Now is an irreverent look at the people at the center of one of America’s most hot-button controversial issues, and the walls that divide us all. Infused with their trademark comedic approach, the nation’s premier Chicano/Latino performance trio joins Obie Award-winning director Diane Rodriguez to redefine the boundaries of theater and break down the divisions between cultures.


Paula Holt – Dine-Around – May 20

Trusteeship sisters joined Paula Holt for a lovely Midday Dine-Around on Sunday, May 20th.

Paula reports, “It was a fabulous get together and rich discussion about the importance of Los Angeles as a cultural center, and how the fine and performing arts survive in the current times. Great ideas and input from really smart and savvy women.”


The Sisters Rosensweig at SCR – May 17

The Trusteeship enjoyed a delightful talk and dinner at the Center Club in Costa Mesa with Literary Associate, Kat Zukaitis, a member of South Coast Repertory’s Literary Staff as well as with Managing Director, Paula Tomei. Our fun dinner was followed by a Performance of “The Sisters Rosensweig” at the beautiful South Coast Repertory – Segerstrom Stage.

During our engaging dinner we learned that SCR produces their own shows from soup to nuts and that Kat, as the dramaturg, has a very integral hand in how a performance finally makes it to the stage.  We had no idea about the complexities it takes to create a show from the group up and were quite impressed by not only their enthusiasm, but their tremendous knowledge of theater.

About the Sisters Rosensweig:
They’re each extraordinary in their own way. Sara, the successful banker. Pfeni, the globe-trotting journalist. And Gorgeous, the irrepressible radio host. Not bad for three sisters from Brooklyn in the early 1990s. When they gather in London for Sara’s 54th birthday, along with some of the men in their lives, the result is a witty, enthralling look at the quest for love, acceptance and self-fulfillment.

Special thanks to Sheila Sonenshine and Michelle Jordan for help in putting this fun event together.


LEF Awardee Luncheon – May 12

The Meredith MacRae Empowerment Award recognizes prominent women humanitarian leaders who are changing lives around the globe through innovative and results-driven work.

CRITERIA FOR AN AWARDEE:

  • Unique visionary 
  • Impact on the lives of others, especially women or girls
  • Major international influence

This year the LEF Board of Directors selected two prominent women leaders for this award. Both are indeed making a global difference: Neema Namadamu & Razia Jan. Neema Namadamu was honored on February 3rd.

On May 12 we shined the spotlight on Razia Jan.

A bit about Razia Jan:

  • Razia is an Afghan woman who came to the U.S. for her college education and was unable to return to her homeland following the Soviet invasion. Following 9/11, she felt she must do something to help.
  • Her initial act was to organize people to make blankets for the first responders. She then organized an effort to collect and refurbish shoes and, with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers, delivered 30,000 pairs to the people of Afghanistan.
  • But most importantly, Razia is dedicated to the proposition that educating Afghan girls and, thus, empowering young women, is the best hope for bringing peace to this afflicted region. And so, in 2008, she opened the Zabuli Education Center in the district of Deh’Subz.
  • First, Razia had to gain permission from the village elders, who wanted her to build a school – but for their sons. Through her persistence and strength, she succeeded in building a school for girls, which is beloved and supported by the community and declared “perfect” by an official of the Ministry of Education.
  • She began with one class of 4th graders, but the school today brings a high quality free education, plus uniforms, shoes, warm coats and meals, to 625 girls between the ages of 4 and 22, drawn from 7 villages in the area. The earliest students received their high school diplomas last year.
  • Though some went on to university, Razia recognized the need to provide others with continuing education to prepare them for careers. And thus was born the Razia Jan Institute. She raised the money to acquire land adjacent to the Zabuli school and to build new facilities to provide graduates and other community members with “a clear path to empowered employment in midwifery while bringing medical services to a desperately under-served area.” The Institute also provides classes in English and computer literacy.
  • A book by American author Elizabeth Suneby, entitled “Razia’s Ray of Hope,” is used in the U.S. to engage young readers in global issues. It is based on the true story of a girl in Afghanistan who desperately wants an education and convinces the men in her family to allow her to attend school. It is written for children ages 8-12, aligned with common core state standards, and is ideal for school, library and personal use when discussing the fundamental human right of education for all children. A portion of the proceeds goes to help pay for girls to attend the Zabuli Education Center.

Today, in order to continue her humanitarian work, school administration, fundraising efforts, and spending time with family, Razia travels between Afghanistan and the United States.

To learn more about Razia, please click here.


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“A dynamic group of intelligent, notable, exciting, giving, caring, fun, and gifted women of different careers, background, education and ethnicity. They stand united as one voice for the betterment of all women everywhere throughout the world. It is such an honor to be a member of The Trusteeship.”

– Martha