Will Rogers fund moves west

After six decades in New York, the Will Rogers Memorial Fund and Institute has relocated its headquarters to Los Angeles to be closer to the heart of the entertainment industry.

The fund, founded in 1936, also announced it had selected Paramount distrib prexy Wayne Lewellen as chairman of the showbiz-oriented charity. Erik Lomis, general sales manager of MGM’s distrib unit, becomes president. Todd Vradenburg, whose career has been dedicated to nonprofit groups, has been appointed the new exec director.

“We’re going to make sure that this historically important charity continues to provide services to the entertainment industry and the general public,” Vradenburg said. “Will Rogers’ best-known saying was, ‘I never met a man I didn’t like.’ His unabashed love for humanity remains the driving force behind our mission.”

Vradenburg replaces Martin Perlberg, who retired from the org after more than 20 years as an officer and volunteer. Other new appointments include Charles Goldwater, prexy of Mann Theatres, as secretary; Steve Rapaport, exec veep for sales at Paramount, becomes treasurer; Michael Pade, exec veep for film at United Artists Theatres, and Bruce Snyder, domestic distrib prez at 20th Century Fox, become exec officers.

The Rogers fund shows trailers in theaters across the country describing its many programs and collects money from audiences. In the last decade, more than $14 million has been raised for medical research and health education, Lewellen said. Historically, the fund’s primary mission has been battling pulmonary diseases. Every year, more than 2,500 entertainment industry workers have their cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels checked by Rogers fund volunteers.

The fund’s new offices are at 1640 Marengo Street in Los Angeles.

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