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Using the Spotlight to Advance Social Change

It happened on the golf course. Joy Young Stephenson, a healthcare litigator for more than 25 years, and Ed Moses, Olympic champion swimmer and professional golfer, were playing at a charity tournament when they met and decided to join forces to advance their socially conscious agendas. The result was Mojo Marketing and Media. Six months after its inception, the Burbank-based entertainment company, whose mission is to “encourage people to develop their personal social conscience, take action and get involved in making a positive difference in the lives of others,” has sold its first television show, which will air this fall. ‘The Moses Project’ will feature Moses as host and competitor in the TV show that pits him against athletes and celebrities in unique competitions each week, with all the money raised going directly to charity. “[In light of the economic recession], I think it somewhat behooved us to do something different than what we’ve normally been doing,” said Stephenson, founder of Stephenson, Acquisito and Colman (SAC), a law firm representing virtually all the major hospitals within the state of California. “Mojo was designed to create awareness of what charities are and what they’re designed to do,” she said, adding that Mojo Marketing and Media is a natural evolution of both the law firm’s and Moses’ work on behalf of public benefit issues. For over 20 years, Stephenson has been leading SAC’s efforts in pursuing claims against commercial and government payers, helping hospitals receive reimbursements in situations where patients’ policies were revoked by their insurance providers after they had incurred medical bills, for example. The firm also works to make sure government programs including MediCal and Medicare, fulfill their financial obligations so that neither the hospital nor the individual in need, ends up stuck with crippling medical bills. “[Mojo] is not so much something different as it is a logical extension of what we do here at the firm,” Stephenson said. Focus on charities Instead of keeping insurance companies and government payers accountable, Mojo Marketting and Media focuses on charities, she said. “It’s making the charities work for the average person who is unable to take care of their basic needs, whereas the law firm is making insurance companies do what they are supposed to do for the average consumer,” she said. Instead of using the courts, Mojo will use the media spotlight to put pressure on charities to deliver for the people they claim to serve, while at the same time letting people know that these charities are out there to help them, she added. “This is really a spinoff of my life,” said Moses who has been working as a motivational speaker helping raise funds for several charitable organizations including Ronald McDonald House, Mario Lemieux Foundation, Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation and the Joey Fatone Foundation. Moses also teaches more than 10,000 kids and parents life skills and goal setting each year. “This project is going to be the epitome of what we represent, both in raising funds and raising awareness,” Moses said. Moses, who is vice president of Mojo Marketing and Media, will also be responsible for Mojo’s ongoing creative development. “We want to do everything from fundraisers, golf tournaments, and documentaries, to even a full blown film someday,” he said. First episode Produced by Alexander Nicolas, The Moses Project’s first episode will feature Los Angeles Regional Foodbank and its efforts to combat hunger in South Central Los Angeles. “It’s a creative project trying to link service for all people and at the same time raising awareness,” said Michael Flood, President/CEO of the Foodbank. “I hope it takes hold.” In the current recession, such efforts are most needed and welcomed. At The Los Angeles Regional Foodbank, for example, demand for food assistance has increased by 31 percent compared to a year ago. Thankfully, socially conscious initiatives such as The Moses Project, seem to be a growing trend in today’s world, said Flood. “I think this is a trend that is going to continue, it’s gaining momentum across the board in all different areas of business and it’s particularly relevant today because of the tough times people are facing.”

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