Mississippi native Sam Haskell is the former head of worldwide television at the William Morris Agency, and is chairman of the Mary Kirkpatrick Haskell Scholarship Foundation, which was founded in memory of his mother, and provides deserving children the opportunity to attend colleges in his home state. The Bi-Annual Stars Over Mississippi Benefit Concerts, which are the primary fund-raising arm of the foundation, have helped raise more than $3 million.

He’s also involved with many other charities, and after Hurricane Katrina, his benefit concert Mississippi Rising became an important fund-raiser for the citizens of the state.

“Celebrities and Hollywood have supported a great number of the charitable work that I’ve done in California and Mississippi to help raise money for the hurricane recovery efforts,” says Haskell. “There were over 41 celebrities who participated in Mississippi Rising, which helped us raise initially $15 million for Hurricane Katrina recovery, and since the air date, of Oct. 1, 2005, we raised another $15 million (for) the Mississippi Rising Project, which benefits the Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund.

“My education foundation in Mississippi was named for my mother, who died of cancer 19 years ago. … And since 1992, we’ve taken all my star clients and friends back to my hometown in Mississippi to put on concerts. In the last 14 years, we’ve raised over $4 million. We have over 450 kids in college. It’s been a wonderful outpouring of support from Hollywood.

“I think that everyone at some point in their lives wants an opportunity to stand up and do something good for humanity. No one has ever turned me down when I’ve asked them to come to Mississippi or help me with different projects that I’ve been involved with. They all step up and they do something good.”