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Saturday, Feb 24, 2024


Dynamic Women Making a Difference


44 Women for Orangewood hosted its 18th Annual Scholarship Luncheon on June 1 at the Balboa Bay Resort. The luncheon welcomed more than 350 guests and featured elements such as opportunity drawings and prizes, including a Twila True jewelry piece, a champagne cocktail hour, a live fund-a-need for Orangewood’s youth, and two special guest speakers. The event netted $340,000, all of which will benefit Orangewood Foundation’s foster youth and programs.

The event was led by committee co-chairs, Susan Samueli, Ph.D., co-founder, Samueli Foundation and co-founder, 44 Women for Orangewood, and Judy Nicholls, senior communications, marketing and strategic planning consultant, GHS Aviation Group. The event was made possible by several sponsors and donors, including the Samueli Foundation, Newport Beach Dermatology & Plastic Surgery, Union Bank, Kaiser Permanente, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Modern Luxury, CalPac Sheet Metal and Anaheim Ducks & Honda Center.

“The support we were shown by our donors, sponsors, and community members at this year’s event was truly remarkable and will have a positive impact on Orangewood Foundation, allowing them to better serve the youth who are in foster care,” Samueli said. “We are proud to host this luncheon each year as it continuously helps Orangewood Foundation’s young individuals reach their greatest potentials.”

Deidre Pujols, founder, Open Gate International, founder, Strike Out Slavery, CEO, Pujols Kitchen LLC and founder, Pujols Family Foundation, was the luncheon’s keynote speaker. Junely Merwin, foster youth ambassador, Alliance of Moms, was the luncheon’s youth speaker and shared her personal journey through the foster care system from the age of 15 until 21, when she earned a full-ride scholarship from the Guardian Scholars Program at California State University, Fullerton and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Human Services.


Accessing Opportunities


The Project Access Annual Charity Golf Tournament, presented by Bridge Investment Group, took place on May 25 at Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine. The tournament netted $300,000, which will be used to sustain Project Access’s mission to provide direct tools and opportunities to under-resourced individuals so they can stabilize and empower themselves and their households.

The event was made possible through the support of Bridge Investment Group, the Hole-in-One sponsor; Danna Foundation, the Eagle Sponsor, and Affordable Housing Access, Crean Foundation, HD Supply, One Call Construction Services, Vitus Group, Wells Fargo and the Christian V. and Lisa D. Young Family Foundation, which were all Birdie sponsors.

The tournament boasted a live auction with an array of offerings, as well as a Closest to the Pin competition where the winner received an Aston Martin weekend guest drive valued at $2,500 and the opportunity to test their skills against Maiya Tanaka, golf pro, for a chance to win a Titleist Vokey Wedge.

Golf committee members included Dan Stanger, owner, Bridge Investment Group; Matt DeGraw, president, Bridge Property Management, Shawn Boyd, CIO, Affordable Housing Access; and Bill Whalen, managing director, Wells Fargo.


Banking on Development


On July 5, Bank of America announced $530,000 in grants to 20 Orange County nonprofits to help drive economic opportunity for individuals and families.

This first round of grants from the bank focuses­­­ on workforce development and education to help individuals chart a path to employment and better economic futures, as well as basic needs fundamental to building life-long stability. These grants are the initial round of dollars directed to local nonprofits this year, with more to come throughout the year.

Families Forward, which focuses on helping families at-risk of experiencing homelessness find stable housing while providing comprehensive supportive services, is one current recipient. Bank of America’s support will help ensure OC families experiencing homelessness have assistance with housing, food, and mental health security.

Another awardee is Girls Inc. of Orange County, which provides year-round programs and activities for girls ages 5-18, focusing on financial literacy, STEM, sound body image, healthy relationships, and college and career readiness. Bank of America’s funding supports The Girls Meet the Workforce program, which gives high school girls valuable workforce readiness and life skills training. Participants in 11th and 12th grades also have the opportunity for summer “on the job” placement at a local organization, with a stipend, and a career mentor.

Other organizations receiving grants include Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast, Community Action Partnership of Orange County, Chrysalis Center, Goodwill Industries of Orange County, Human Options, J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center, Orange County Rescue Mission, Project Hope Alliance and The Wooden Floor for Youth Movement, among others.


Bits & Pieces


Wyland Foundation recently announced a partnership with Merrill Investments to build an endowment to help the foundation’s ongoing efforts for promotion stewardship of OC’s coasts and waterways … Child Creativity Lab hosted its 10th Anniversary Gala on May 20, which raised more than $65,000 and was sponsored by VCS Environmental, Selman Chevrolet, Harvey & Parmelee LLP, Radcliffe & Associates, BEHR Paint, Professional Plastics, Huddle Bottles and several others. … Through August 2, Albertsons, Vons, Bristol Farms, Northgate Market, Gelson’s, Smart & Final, Barilla, Clorox, Foster Farms, Frito Lay, Monster, Procter and Gamble, Red Bull and more will donate a percentage of sales to Olive Crest/Child Abuse Stops Here Network to help put an end to child abuse local communities, with the goal of surpassing the $425,000 raised during the 2021 campaign.


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