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Sunday, Aug 14, 2022


Big Scores

It’s a banner time for fundraising at new and existing hospitals in OC.

A $20 million gift from Joe C. Wen and his family was recently announced for a forthcoming outpatient clinical facility at the new UCI Health–Irvine medical complex going up along Jamboree Road.

It’s the largest gift to UCI Health by a donor under age 50, officials say.

Wen, who immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan as a teen, made his fortune via Formosa Ltd., a multinational conglomerate he founded. Formosa is based overseas, but he counts several local commercial real estate holdings.

Wen is best known locally for the sprawling Villa de Formosa mansion he built in Newport Coast.

Last month’s annual CHOC Gala, supporting the children’s hospital in Orange, raised nearly $6 million, making it the most successful event in its history. On top of that, the Argyros Family Foundation announced during the evening event a campaign commitment of $10 million to CHOC.

The Business Journal also hears that Mike and Lori Gray, already among the biggest benefactors of Hoag, have given an additional $5 million to the Newport Beach hospital system.

For more on other fundraising efforts for City of Hope, CHOC and other nonprofits, see Kim Stemper’s Philanthropy column on page 15.


SOCCER SHOT 1: In a normal soccer year, the 2022 World Cup would be kicking off about now. Given extreme summer heat issues in the desert host country Qatar, this year’s showcase soccer event has been pushed to November.

OC is doing its best to keep the soccer news flowing during the summer lull.

Paolo Dal Pino earlier this year gave up his job as president of Italy’s world-renowned Serie A national soccer league to focus on the internet of things firm Telit, which just moved its headquarters from London to Irvine. The pandemic made the soccer post a “really tough” job, Dal Pino says, adding he plans to make Telit an IoT leader.

For the inevitable question about his favorite Italian soccer squad: “in theory,” he told our Kevin Costelloe, it’s mighty Juventus of Turin. For more on Telit, see the July 4 print edition of the Business Journal.


SOCCER SHOT 2: Costa Mesa’s Toca Football, which counts the country’s largest collection of indoor soccer training sites and is building out a Topgolf-like portfolio of entertainment venues, this month landed a new investment from England striker Harry Kane, who will not be scoring when his team loses to the U.S. at the World Cup on Black Friday.

Toca’s raised over $105 million to date; it’s the brainchild of Eddie Lewis, a former U.S. international who helped the country in its 2002 run to the World Cup quarterfinals, its best result in modern times.


SOCCER SHOT 3: Defending USL champions Orange County Soccer Club this month announced the transfer of youth international Kobi Henry to French team Stade de Reims.

Reports put the transfer fee around $700,000, plus incentives. While not near the astronomical fees seen for the Messi’s and Ronaldo’s of the world, it’s still enough to make it the biggest transfer fee ever seen in the USL (United Soccer League) Championship, the second tier in the U.S. soccer pyramid, below MLS.

Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.

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