Stars of COME FROM AWAY Set for 2017 StoryCorps Gala

Stars of COME FROM AWAY Set for 2017 StoryCorps Gala

StoryCorps, the non-profit that collects, shares, and preserves the stories of people of all backgrounds, will celebrate the lives it has documented, and people and partners that have helped the organization to do so, in its annual gala, Wednesday, October 25, at Capitale in New York City.

Hosted by Scott Simon of NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday," the event will include a special performance by cast members of Broadway's Come from Away, and will showcase the stories and individuals featured in some of StoryCorps' most beloved and timely recordings.

This year's gala honors longtime Storycorps supporter The Rockefeller Foundation and its President, Dr. Rajiv Shah. Several StoryCorps participants will share stories from-and reflections on-their interviews, as well as their personal take on the importance of their StoryCorps experience.

The evening will also feature the introduction of the YouTube Creators for Change Courage Award, a special recognition of a participant (chosen by StoryCorps) who has overcome a great obstacle or extraordinary circumstances, and/or has achieved something extraordinary. This award is part of StoryCorps' recent, and now ongoing, collaboration with YouTube, which focuses on amplifying personal stories of belonging and identity across the world, and includes the first-ever video-based StoryCorps interviews. This year's recipient is YouTube Creator for Change fellow Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, a rising voice in social, religious, and political issues, the founder and editor-in-chief of Muslim Girl, a platform for Muslim women's voices in the West, and the author of Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age, published by Simon & Schuster in October 2016.

The theme of this year's gala is "Stories of Courage," a topic with broad potential within a political climate wrought from fear. Come from Away, the acclaimed Tony-winning, based-on-real-events musical about unlikely connections in the aftermath of a tragedy-set in a small Newfoundland town, where 38 international flights are forced to land when U.S. airspace is closed following 9/11-is a celebration of courage and openness. Proceeds from this evening of performance, storytelling, cocktails, dinner, and sheer inspiration will provide vital support for StoryCorps' work to preserve and share humanity's stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just, compassionate society for all.

This is StoryCorps' fifth annual gala. During the stirring event, hosted in previous years by Stephen Colbert, Mo Rocca, and Michael Cerveris, StoryCorps plays select audio recordings and animated short films, then brings to the stage the people featured in them, for conversations about their stories and lives.



Who: Host: Scott Simon of NPR's "Weekend Edition"
Honoring: The Rockefeller Foundation and its President, Dr. Rajiv Shah
Special Performance from Broadway's Come From Away
Gala Co-Chairs: Lisa Mueller & Gara LaMarche and Alexandra & Michael Shuman

When: Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 6:30PM

Where: Capitale, 130 Bowery, between Broome and Grand Streets, New York, NY


Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters, having reported from all over the world and many wars. He is the award-winning host of "Weekend Edition Saturday." With over 4 million listeners it is the most-listened to news program on NPR. Simon has written eight books and has one of the largest personal media followings on Twitter. He also hosts public television specials and does stories for "CBS Sunday Morning." Scott received the Order of Lincoln from the State of Illinois in 2016, the state's highest honor.


The Rockefeller Foundation's mission-unchanged since 1913-is to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, we pursue this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economiesthat expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, we work at the intersection of four focus areas-advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities-to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot.

Dr. Rajiv Shah brings over 20 years of experience in business, government, and philanthropy to The Rockefeller Foundation. Raised outside of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Shah is a graduate of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the Wharton School of Business. Appointed as USAID Administrator by President Obama in 2009, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Shah was charged with reshaping the $20 billion agency's operations to provide greater assistance to pressing development challenges around the globe. By elevating the importance of innovation, promoting public-private partnerships, rethinking internal practices, and shifting how dollars were spent to deliver stronger results, Shah secured bipartisan support that enabled USAID to dramatically accelerate its work to end extreme poverty. Despite partisan gridlock on many issues, two significant Presidential priorities-Feed the Future and Power Africa-passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support and were signed into law by President Obama, and the Global Food Security Act is the second largest global development legislation after PEPFAR. Shah's work delivered results for countries facing democratic transitions, post-conflict situations, and humanitarian crises, and is widely credited with providing life-saving access to food, health, and water for millions of children across the planet.

Prior to his appointment at USAID, Shah served as Chief Scientist and Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics at the United States Department of Agriculture. He also served in a number of leadership roles at the Bill & MeLinda Gates Foundation, where he helped launch the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (a joint venture by the Gates and Rockefeller foundations) and the International Financing Facility for Immunization (credited with raising more than $5 billion for childhood immunizations worldwide) and where he supported the creation of the Global Development Program

When Dr. Shah left USAID in 2015, he continued to follow his passion for creating opportunities for communities to thrive in the developing world by founding Latitude Capital, a private equity firm focused on power and infrastructure projects in Africa and Asia. He was also appointed a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at Georgetown University. He and his wife, Shivam Mallick Shah have three children.


Founded in 2003 by Dave Isay, StoryCorps has given more than 400,000 people-Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs, in towns and cities in all 50 states-the chance to record interviews about their lives. The organization preserves the recordings in its special StoryCorps archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered, and shares select stories with the public through StoryCorps' weekly podcast, NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms, and best-selling books. These powerful human stories reflect the vast range of American experiences, wisdom and values; engender empathy and connection; and remind us how much more we have in common than divides us.

StoryCorps is especially committed to capturing and amplifying voices least heard in the media. The StoryCorps MobileBooth, an Airstream trailer the organization has transformed into a traveling recording booth, crisscrosses the country year-round in order to gather the stories of people nationwide. With the 2015 TED Prize awarded to Dave Isay, StoryCorps launched a free mobile app that puts the StoryCorps experience entirely in the hands of users and enables anyone, anywhere to record meaningful conversations with another person and upload the audio to the Library of Congress. StoryCorps also records interviews in its permanent StoryBooths, in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta.

Recording an interview in a StoryCorps booth couldn't be easier: You invite a loved one, or anyone else you choose, to a StoryCorps recording site. There you're met by a trained facilitator who explains the interview process, brings you into a quiet recording room and seats you across from your interview partner, each of you in front of a microphone. The facilitator hits "record," and you share a 40-minute conversation. At the end of the session, you walk away with a copy of the interview, and a digital file goes to the Library of Congress, where it will be preserved for generations to come.

StoryCorps is working to grow into an enduring national institution that fosters a culture of listening in the United States; celebrates the dignity, power and grace that can be heard in the stories we find all around us; and helps us recognize that every life and every story matter equally. In the coming years StoryCorps hopes to touch the lives of every American family.

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