Foundation Celebrates 20 Years Of Global Philanthropy

This is the first in a series of reports on expanding philanthropy in the United States from Business Matchmaking

May 20, 2013, 15:54 ET from Business Matchmaking

LOS ANGELES, May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Beverly Hills hotel is a California landmark, tourist attraction and home to movie premiere parties and countless weddings. This past weekend, it hosted a thank you reception for the Semnani Family Foundation's 20 years of international support for victims of natural and man-made disasters.

This particular event attracted a remarkably different group of guests including the Russian, American and Canadian Olympic wrestling teams, many still in sweats after just completing practice, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Olympic champion Mark Spitz and community leaders like Attorney Shel Lytton, past president of the LA Visitor and Convention Bureau.

In the room, were some of the greatest wrestling stars including current Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs, Dan Grable and Bruce Baumgartner.

On hand by video were Utah's Lt. Governor, Senator Orrin Hatch and that state's leaders of the Muslim, Catholic and Jewish communities.

Also greeting the guests were taped comments by Olympic champions Janet Evans and Nadia Comaneci and husband Bart Conner along with former Welterweight boxing champs Carlos Palomino and Armand Muniz, president of the Boxing Hall of Fame. The mixed roster was managed by actor Billy Baldwin, also a former wrestler.

Missing was the Iranian Olympic wrestling team which had been scheduled to join in exhibition matches with the American team the following day in Los Angeles.  At the 11th hour, the Iranians cancelled and went home after participating in a similar event in New York. Demonstrating the strong ties in the sport, the Russian and Canadian athletes filled in on 48 hours notice.

The guests, including many leaders of the large Iranian-American community in Los Angeles, came to honor Khosrow Semnani and his Utah based family foundation for two decades of major contributions on all continents.

The Foundation has joined forces with USA Wrestling and the Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling in a campaign to restore the sport to the 2020 Olympic games. The Olympic governing committee had eliminated it but will vote later this month on returning it to their schedule.

"Our Foundation has spent twenty years providing assistance for people around the world dealing with famine, poverty, storms and war. We are dedicated to justice and mutual support. Olympic wrestling provides a proven path to much needed peaceful coexistence which is why we are assisting in this campaign.  We are disappointed that the Iranian team could not be with us and we hope to have them return to Los Angeles in the near future," said Khosrow Semnani.

"No sport has a greater Olympic history than wrestling. I am happy to urge all Americans and our friends around the world to join in our efforts to keep wrestling in the Games. The Semnani Family Foundation has added great impetus to that campaign," said Mark Spitz.

SOURCE Business Matchmaking