Michael C. Mitchell

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Michael C. Mitchell, was the president of Worldwide Sports and Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based company that is producing the broadcasts and that was involved in the production of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. At Portland State University, Mitchell became one of the organizers of the First Earth Day in 1970. In the Spring of 1985, Mitchell was contacted by Bob Geldof, an English rock musician, that had been working on issues of drought and famine in Africa. Geldof asked Mitchell to produce a worldwide televised music show to raise funds to help alleviate the catastrophic consequences of the worst African famine in a century. Mitchell became the Executive Producer of the worldwide Live Aid broadcast (under a newly formed venture Worldwide Sports and Entertainment) and President of the Live Aid Foundation in America. During the dissolution of the Soviet Union starting in 1990, Russia and Ukraine experienced a severe shortage of medical and food supplies. Working throughout both countries witnessing first-hand the growing crisis, Mitchell and his close friend, Yankel Ginzburg, an American artist and humanitarian, who had family in Tver, Russia, responded to requests by Russia's leadership for assistance, co-founding the "Fund for Democracy and Development" to provide aid to alleviate the crisis. Mitchell served as the founding board chairman in 1991 and L. Ronald Scheman (co-founder of the Pan American Development Foundation, where his work included providing financial assistance to low-income rural communities), served as the first President. Past President Richard M. Nixon served as the honorary chairman of the Fund. With offices established in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Mitchell contributed to several rural development and environmental projects across the former Soviet Union. Mitchell's planning of development projects in rural Russia included work in Siberia on sustainable resource and forest management practices. While undertaking those projects in conjunction with local wildlife scientists Mitchell convinced the Prime Minister of Russia, Viktor Chernomyrdin, to establish the Amur Tiger Sanctuary in 1993, which was initially funded through the Global Survival Network (GSN), an environmental organization he co-founded with Steve Galster now of Freeland Foundation. wiki


"Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent relaxation of border controls and opening trade routes, the Russian Far East has become a major source of illegal wildlife products to satisfy the consumer markets across the border, especially in China. By the winter of 1993, officials estimated that 60 rare Amur tigers were being poached each year and that numbers had crashed to fewer than 100, due to a loss of habitat and prey base and poaching.

"DSWF immediately responded to the crisis helping to save the Amur tiger from certain extinction. And, since 1994, has been jointly funding anti-poaching activities, which are now run by local Russian NGO The Phoenix Fund." [2] (David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation)

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