Celebrities and Philanthropists Including President Bill Clinton, Sir Elton John, Sir Richard Branson, Donna Karan, Harry Connick, Jr., Ray Lewis and Many More Tackle Some Of The World’s Most Challenging Issues
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will air the 10-part documentary series “Operation Change” premiering on Monday, June 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The series follows Bill & Tani Austin and their son Steven Sawalich from the Starkey Hearing Foundation, a global non-profit organization that gives free hearing aids to those in need, as they are joined by celebrities and philanthropists to tackle some of the most challenging issues plaguing our world today.
“Operation Change” gives viewers unprecedented access to some of the world’s most dangerous, desolate and poverty-stricken places. The series features former President Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Elton John, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Donna Karan, and Harry Connick, Jr. among many others, each working to benefit a different region and local organization. From the West Bank of Palestine to the wilds of Papua New Guinea, this documentary series reveals the untold stories of some of the world’s seemingly insurmountable challenges, as well as its greatest heroes.
“Hearing loss is a global epidemic, impacting more than 360 million people worldwide, yet it can often be helped. Hearing aids empower people to better connect with their families, communities, and the larger world,” said President Bill Clinton. “I have seen first-hand the amazing impact that the Starkey Hearing Foundation and Starkey Hearing Technologies are having on people all around the world. I am lucky to call Bill and Tani Austin as well as Steven Sawalich my friends. And I am proud of the Clinton Foundation’s relationship with them and this work. It’s empowering people to live more independent, prosperous, joyful lives.”
“Working with this family, and supporting their efforts through the Starkey Hearing Foundation, has been an incredibly uplifting experience for me,” said Sir Elton John. “When people are cared for and not forgotten, their human spirit comes alive, and that’s why when they approached me, I had to be a part of ‘Operation Change.’ I know everyone who watches this series will want to be a part of it as well. My friend Oprah Winfrey’s network, OWN, is the perfect vehicle for this groundbreaking series.”
“Our family has always found fulfillment in helping others,” said Steven Sawalich, of Starkey Hearing Foundation and CEO/President of Articulus Entertainment. “Through our charitable efforts, we have seen firsthand the needs and challenges people face all over the world. With the help of some of our celebrity supporters and local partners, “Operation Change” chronicles how together we can make a difference in the lives of people around the globe. We are thrilled to share this emotionally-compelling series with OWN viewers.”
Each week, Bill Austin, his family, volunteers and a different celebrity/philanthropist will partner with local organizations that are working to empower their community. Throughout the hour, they work together to complete a sustainable project that will help enhance the lives of people in need. The family will immerse themselves in local cultures and experience firsthand what life is like for people in that region.
The series is produced by Articulus Entertainment. Executive produced by Steven Sawalich, Natalee Watts and Teri Weinberg. Melinda Cea is co-executive producer.