From the dawn of history, idealists have tried to improve the world. Despite all their best efforts, war, crime and corruption persist.
It doesn’t have to be that way, says Anthony Melikhov, founder of Unite4:Good, a new organization dedicated to promoting positive change on a global scale.
“The world needs to shift from a negative society of violence and war to a more positive society,” Melikhov says. “We need to make people realize that their efforts should not be directed at obtaining material wealth or power, but rather at finding a way to do something good and give back.”
A Russian emigre, Melikhov moved to the U.S. in 1989 and started a pharmaceutical company that he sold to Bayer in 2008. According to his official bio, he spent a year in the jungles of Panama then “returned to the U.S. with a new focus on positivity as a source of overall well-being.”
He says he felt a personal calling not only to re-evaluate his own path in life, but also to enlist the help of others in pursuing the ideals of philanthropy and world peace.
In September Melikhov founded Unite4:Good, an organization dedicated to creating social programs and bringing together individuals and groups to promote positive change through acts of kindness and service.
On Feb. 27, at a star-studded event at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif., in association with Variety, Unite4:Good kicks off its first-ever Unite4:Humanity initiative. Showbiz stars and leaders from the worlds of media, fashion, politics, business and philanthropy will attend. Honorees include:
› Creative Conscience Award: Martin Scorsese, director, founder of the Film Foundation
› Creative Commitment in Television Award: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, board member, Heal the Bay
› Music Visionary Award: Alicia Keys, co-founder, Keep a Child Alive
› Young Humanitarian Award: Selena Gomez, ambassador, Unicef
› Young Luminary Award: Demi Lovato, for her work with many charities
› Media Social Visionary Award: John Sykes, Clear Channel Enterprises, for his work with many charities
› Unity Recognition: Former President Clinton, Clinton Foundation
Keys and Lovato will perform. Clinton will give opening remarks. Event sponsors include, Gillette, Moroccanoil, Crystal Light and Johnnie Walker.
In addition, the Unite4:Good Inspiration Award will go to five “everyday heroes” active in local communities.
Finalists are: Cherie Jamason, nominated by Feeding America, in the health and human services/public benefit category; Kathy Eldon, nominated by Points of Light, in the Arts category; David Schwartz, nommed by DoSomething.org, in Environment; Flint Fowler, nommed by Boys & Girls Clubs of America, in Youth Development/Education; and Jane Hoffman, nominated by ASPCA, in Animal Welfare.
Finalists were selected from among 15 nominees proposed by Unite4:Good’s founding affiliates. Honorees will be awarded $25,000 grants to further their community work. The winner, chosen by the public, will get an additional grant of $50,000.
Feb. 27 also marks the official launch of the Unite4:Good social media platform. Melikhov says Web- and mobile technology now in development will be able to measure acts of kindness and reward those who perform them — which will inspire even more people to join the cause.
“Our goal for 2014 is to bring at least 2 million to 4 million people aboard,” Melikhov says.
What: Unite4:Humanity event
When: Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m. (cocktails), 7:30 p.m. (show)
Where: Sony Pictures Studios