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Monday, Dec 5, 2022


High-Impact Gift

Mackenzie Scott, the philanthropy-focused ex-wife of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, donated $40 million to California State University, Fullerton, as part of a multibillion-dollar donation spree announced on June 15. It is the largest gift the school has ever received.

Scott put no restrictions on how the gift is used. The allocation of the gift will be guided by CSUF’s strategic plan and core mission of student success; diversity, equity and inclusion; and faculty research, support and retention.

“To ensure the enduring power of this gift, a large portion of it will be placed in our endowment where it will continue to generate funds to benefit future Titans and have transformative effects around the world for generations to come,” Framroze “Fram” Virjee, president of the university, said.

The university will also consider possible infrastructure improvements, matching fund projects with its eight colleges and enhancing community partnerships, Virjee added.

Along with being the largest gift in Cal State Fullerton’s 64 years, donations from Scott broke records for giving at Pasadena City College, $30 million; Long Beach City College, $30 million; Cal State Northridge, $40 million; and Cal Poly Pomona, $40 million. Cal State Channel Islands received $15 million, and Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga was given $25 million.

Donations also went to several arts and social justice organizations across the nation, many at work in Southern California and Orange County.

Innovative Idea

Cox has awarded $50,000 in 2021 “Innovation in Education” grants to local school districts and to the Orange County Department of Education. The money is earmarked for educators to safely welcome students back in the classroom and ensure remote learners have an equitable experience, schools had to make some modifications.

“The Innovation in Education program is part of Cox’s commitment to education since its founding,” said Jodi Duva, vice president, Cox Business. “The program has awarded $350,000 in grants (since 2014) to power innovative curriculum and technology for students throughout Orange County and Palos Verdes.”

Cox leaders met with school administrators from numerous school districts to learn about their schools’ greatest needs due to the continued impact of COVID-19, which included laptops, digital literacy training, increased technology in the classrooms, and mental health support services. 

Play Time

Pretend City Children’s Museum hosted its big in-person fundraiser since the start of the pandemic on June 10, drawing 120 supporters and donors for a nautical-inspired evening at the Balboa Bay Club. The Sip, Savor, & Sea Summer Soiree raised more than $86,000 to help fund the nonprofit’s mission of fostering early childhood development through play.

Event sponsors included Alteryx, Brandon Architects, South Coast Plaza, Turelk, London Consulting Group and Tax Relief Advocates.

Since opening, Pretend City has seen over 2 million guests, distributed more than 35,000 developmental screenings, hosted monthly specialized family events for children on the autism spectrum and facilitated more than 21,000 scholarship field trips to the young, underserved Orange County community.

Vaccine Home Run

The Los Angeles Angels and MemorialCare teamed up to offer free vaccinations to the public on June 15 at Angel Stadium as part of Major League Baseball’s “Vaccinate at the Plate” initiative. The initiative, which includes all 30 MLB teams, is a league-wide effort to combat COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. More than 100 people received vaccines at the Angels event.

“We are very excited to partner with MemorialCare to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to the public at Angel Stadium,” said Dennis Kuhl, chairman, Los Angeles Angels. “COVID-19 has affected all of us in many different ways. Our hope is that we can return to normalcy as vaccinations are offered to more people.

Bits & Pieces

Dr. Stacie Stephenson, vice chair, Gateway and chair of functional medicine, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, has stepped in to lead the annual Celebrity Fight Night (CFN) fundraiser, which will return in 2022, as the organization pivots to focus on defeating cancer. … The Veterans Legal Institute has awarded The Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) Community Partner of the Year, recognizing the work of OCCF’s Orange County Veterans Initiative, which focuses on three critical areas of need: transitioning to civilian life, employment readiness and job skills, and mental health. … RAD Camp, the Irvine -based volunteer-run nonprofit organization for children and adults with developmental disabilities, returned on June 27 with its second annual fully-remote summer program, providing a safe and secure at-home experience that includes 1:1 counselor interaction, team bonding opportunities, and educational activities, as well as nightly entertainment for everyone involved.

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