Chris Gruits: Curating Innovative and Groundbreaking Programs at the Annenberg Center

Chris Gruits: Curating Innovative and Groundbreaking Programs at the Annenberg Center

Chris Gruits is the executive and artistic director of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. His vision returns the Annenberg Center to its roots as Philadelphia’s premier curator of innovative and groundbreaking programs, and a wide range of collaborations in dance, music, theater and more. A signature of his leadership is the cultivation of partnerships across the community, reflecting the Annenberg Center’s commitment to serving the University of Pennsylvania, the surrounding West Philadelphia neighborhood and the Greater Philadelphia region.

Andreas Heineke and Dialogue in the Dark: Mitigating Social Gaps and Fostering Empathy

Andreas Heineke and Dialogue in the Dark: Mitigating Social Gaps and Fostering Empathy

Globally, it is estimated that 1.3 billion people live with some form of distance or near vision impairment. Prejudice about blindness is widespread; blind people do not have equal access to education and the labor market. Social entrepreneur Andreas Heinecke was determined to do something about it. He founded Dialogue in the Dark—in which blind people lead the audience in small groups through a set of real-life scenarios in total darkness to share this experience.

Matías Tarnopolsky and The Philadelphia Orchestra: Excellence, Innovation and Creativity Onstage & Offstage

Matías Tarnopolsky and The Philadelphia Orchestra: Excellence, Innovation and Creativity Onstage & Offstage

The Philadelphia Orchestra creates and shares music of the highest caliber for people of all ages and backgrounds, and is actively involved in community outreach activities. Matías Tarnopolsky was appointed president and chief executive officer of the Orchestra in 2018.

Carlos Pereira of Livox: Alternative Communication through Assistive Technology

Carlos Pereira of Livox: Alternative Communication through Assistive Technology

Carlos Pereira is the CEO and founder of Livox, and the father of an 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy caused by a medical error. Since discovering his daughter’s impairment, empowering people with disabilities has become Carlos's passion, from which he created several initiatives to improve the lives of disabled people. He founded the software company Livox that enables non-verbal people to communicate and learn via tablets and smartphones. The software interprets the user's movements through intelligent algorithms that adapt to motor, cognitive and visual disabilities.

Heather Templeton Dill and the John Templeton Foundation: Advancing Our Understanding of Life’s Big Questions

Heather Templeton Dill and the John Templeton Foundation: Advancing Our Understanding of Life’s Big Questions

Do we inhabit a multiverse? Do we have free will? Does evolution have an address? Are we are immortal? Was the universe created? What is love?
The Templeton Foundation is optimistic about the power of science and other discovery-oriented disciplines to advance our understanding of life's greatest questions.

Michael Brune of the Sierra Club: Preserving Planet Earth

Michael Brune of the Sierra Club: Preserving Planet Earth

Michael Brune, the Sierra Club’s executive director since 2010, is one of today’s most inspiring and effective environmental leaders. Prior to joining the Sierra Club, he led Rainforest Action Network. Under his leadership, the Sierra Club has grown to more than three million supporters and is at the forefront of the drive to move beyond fossil fuels to 100% clean, renewable energy, while also protecting America’s remaining wild places.

Jeffrey Rosen and the National Constitution Center: Visit—Learn—Debate

Jeffrey Rosen and the National Constitution Center: Visit—Learn—Debate

Jeffrey Rosen is the president & CEO of the National Constitution Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate the public about the U.S. Constitution. Located steps from Independence Hall in historic Philadelphia, the Center engages millions of citizens as an interactive museum, national town hall and provider of nonpartisan resources for civic education.