None Greater Than An Effort Toward Change
Oct 12, 2017 - 8:45:24 AM

( - “I’m just doing what I can. If you have an opportunity to help others, then I feel you have an obligation to take action for them, in whatever capacity available to you. Sometimes you need to be the man that walks toward making a change rather then waiting for it to come to you” says Avi Fogel, whom I’ve had the pleasure of catching up with via Skype. Between traveling and maintaining a work schedule that requires him to be available on multiple time zones, he’s visibly exhausted behind our shoddy connection, yet his enthusiasm for philanthropy is none the less contagious.

We’re all too familiar with the bureaucracy that can get in the way of humanitarian efforts, especially on an international level. However, given the right mindset and strategy, much can be accomplished. “It’s been a mutually meaningful visit, not just in the amount of progress, but in the relationships we’ve developed with the people. Spoken language aside, there are universal beliefs that transcends those immediate barriers. I think that core feeling really helps get to the source of the problem” says Fogel. His understanding of strategy and the human condition are certainly at play in his facilitating of efforts on his current visit to Nepal, but his mindfulness of a return to his closer communities, as he notes his imminent travel preparation after our conversation.

“Connecting with my counterparts in El Salvador and Venezuela is urgent. Worldwide, we’re seeing what’s happening in Venezuela. The people are suffering, and when you’re in that particular mindset, it’s not easy to think strategy. You’re just thinking about how to eat today. The last thing on your mind is paperwork and bureaucracy, even though that’s part of the system that will enable progress to be made.” says Fogel. “In El Salvador, we have similar efforts, and since Latin America is one of our close neighbors, we’re working with the State of California regarding paperwork for families- facilitating citizenship papers, securing proper documents for immigrants, and so on.” He adds.

With a tight schedule that sees Mr. Fogel return to the States in the next week, he has no intention of letting up the efforts on his home soil, despite my mention of taking a rest. “Coordinating everything does take some time, but the key is to be persistent, with a clear line of action.” says Fogel, regarding The Dream Act, DACA, and immigrant students. “So much of what we do today will resonate in how our future unfolds, and I have a strong belief in enabling those students who will shape our world of tomorrow.” he continues.

His hopefulness may sound like an ideal, though he’s not just a dreamer, but a doer. It should come as no surprise that he is a motion picture industry veteran- an industry that’s long hailed by young and old alike, as a source of inspiration for future inventors, scientist, artists, and world changers. “Everyone can do something. It doesn’t matter how larger or how small. We just have to believe that our efforts will make a difference, and we are part of something greater than what we can see at present.” comments Fogel. Our conversation cuts out due to low signal in his area, but as we exchange final emails, I wish him well, safe travels, and am left wondering what I can do in my own community and beyond.

And like all sources of inspiration, from fiction toward reality and back, it seems only natural that his story comes full circle, as Sony is in talks regarding the life rights to Mr. Fogels efforts, with the studio eyeing James Franco for the project.



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