LOS ANGELES, November 21, 2023 — Jeff Pofsky, founder of JNP Merchandising Inc., has been named the American Heart Association Los Angeles 2023 Leaders of Impact winner for his work in driving equitable health in Los Angeles.

In LA County, life expectancy varies by up to 24 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The gap is often caused by social determinants of health and barriers to achieving health equity — factors that include structural racism[1] and lack of access to quality health care[2].

Five local business and community leaders participated in a blind fundraising competition over the course of seven weeks. Pofsky, a heart disease survivor, was named the 2023 Leaders of Impact winner after raising the most funds.

Pofsky underwent open-heart surgery last year after being diagnosed with an aortic valve defect, which he discovered he’s had since birth. He credits his health care team and the American Heart Association for saving his life.  

“As a team player and competitor, I was driven to be a part of the Leaders of Impact effort to confront cardiovascular disease and raise money so more lives can be saved,” Pofsky said. “The training and knowledge provided by the American Heart Association helped my doctor and his team save my life. I owe it to everyone to give back.”

For nearly a century, the American Heart Association has saved and improved lives, pioneered scientific discovery and advocated for healthy public policies in communities across the country. These bold moves have helped transform the nation’s overall health and significantly reduce heart disease and stroke death rates.

Funds raised through Leaders for of Impact will support the Association’s 2024 Impact Goal which aims to advance cardiovascular health for all, including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality.

In Los Angeles, the Association is focused on reducing uncontrolled high blood pressure, which disproportionately impacts Black, Hispanic/Latino and Native American populations; improving access to healthy food in communities that need it the most; advocating for smoke-free air policies to improve public health; and building a Nation of Lifesavers by teaching more people CPR to improve survival rates from cardiac arrest.

Leaders of Impact launched on Sept. 29, World Heart Day, in many cities across the nation and culminated on Nov. 15, National Philanthropy Day. Each nominee focused on raising awareness, action and funds to support the mission of the American Heart Association.

Others local nominees included:  

  • Kristen Benedict, Vice President, Event Sales, AEG
  • Elsa Valay-Paz, Vice President, Gas Acquisition, SoCalGas
  • Daniella Mohazab, mental health thought leader and public speaker
  • Amy Callahan, education leader

Leaders of Impact is held annually as a part of the Los Angeles Heart and Stroke Ball, which will be held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on April 20, 2024. This year’s event will honor Richard Shemin, MD, a distinguished leader in the field of cardiothoracic surgery and longtime volunteer leader for the American Heart Association, and his philanthropist wife, Susan Shemin, also a longstanding supporter of the Association.

Learn more about Leaders of Impact and the 2023 Los Angeles nominees.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us in Los Angeles on heart.org/southerncalifornia, Facebook, Instagram and X or (213) 291-7000.

For media inquiries, contact:
Kristine Kelly, kristine.kelly@heart.org
Public Inquiries:
1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721), heart.org and stroke.org