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Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Wishes Do Come True

Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire (Make-A-Wish OCIE) hosted its annual gala, The Make-A-Wish Gala: An Evening in Monaco, at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach on Oct. 21, hosting more than 300 guests.

The event, presented by the Anthony and Carie Ferry Foundation and sponsored by the Disneyland Resort, raised more than $800,000 to grant the wishes of children with life-altering illnesses in the Orange County and Inland Empire communities.

Make-A-Wish OCIE celebrated a significant during the event: the organization granted its 8,000th wish. The milestone wish recipient was 10-year-old Xayden, who completed his treatment for leukemia and had been on his wish journey for over a year.

He attended the gala with his family. During the event, the audience watched a video documenting Xayden’s illness, treatment, and recovery. After the presentation, Xayden was surprised by his wish—a new puppy.

Xayden’s wish was brought to life with the help of the Orange County Sherriff’s Department, Orange County Fire Department, John Wayne Airport, Southwest Airlines and Harbor Patrol.

“The wish experience is incredibly powerful for our wish kids, and we wanted our guests to feel the profound impact they help create with their continued support,” said Gloria Jetter Crockett, president and CEO, Make-A-Wish OCIE.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of our supporters to raise more than $800,000 to fulfill wishes for children across Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.”

Additional sponsors included Capital Group and Shari Simmons, Insperity, Netflix, U.S. Bank, and Lugano Diamonds.

True Romance

The Romance of the Mission benefit gala was held on the historic grounds of Mission San Juan Capistrano on Sept. 22 with nearly 400 guests in attendance.

The black-tie event, centered on the theme, “If These Walls Could Talk,” raised $280,000 to benefit the Mission’s education and preservation programs.

Farmers & Merchants Bank and the Walker Family, whose forbearer C.J. Walker founded Farmers & Merchants Bank in 1907, were honored during the gala for their longtime patronage of the historic landmark, including their ongoing support of community programs and events and their significant assistance in securing financial support for the Mission throughout the pandemic.

“We are honored to serve the good people of San Juan Capistrano and we value the Mission’s preservation and stewardship of this historical site and the events that bring our neighbors together to create a strong sense of community,” said Daniel Walker, chairman and CEO, Farmers & Merchants Bank. “Our commitment is to each of you.”

As guests made their way to the Central Courtyard for dinner coordinated by Adrián Hernandez, executive chef, Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, the historic Mission bells were rung by Michael Gastelum. Guests enjoyed a curated four-course, plated dinner with wine pairings provided by Rancho Capistrano Winery and beer pairings by Trevor’s at the Tracks.

The evening also included a live concert featuring Lyric, a trio of harmonizing female vocalists who concluded the concert with a first-ever reimagined composition of the famed song When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano.

Major underwriting was provided by George O’Connell and Eden O’Connell, and Tony Moiso, chairman and CEO, of Rancho Mission Viejo LLC and his wife Melinda Moiso.

Additional sponsors included Roger’s Gardens and Lugano Diamonds. Opportunity drawing items were donated by Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club, Buy My Bikes, and Sonance Foundation.

Promises Kept

The 17th Annual Keep the Promise Wine Tasting Benefit was held on Sept. 28 at the Big Canyon Country Club clubhouse in support of The Wooden Floor.

As one of Orange County’s premier wine-tasting benefits, the evening grossed nearly $408,000 to support The Wooden Floor’s goal of transforming young people in low-income communities, through the power of dance and access to higher education.

More than 400 bottles of 12 of the world’s top wines—all considered outstanding with a rating of 96 points and above—were uncorked for a rare tasting experience, including the 2015 San Filippo Brunello de Montalcino Le Lucere (100 pts.), the 1946 Toro Albalà Don PX Convento Selección (100 pts.), the 2015 Château Troplong Mondot (99 pts.), and the 2009 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc Le Méa (99 pts.).

Guests enjoyed a range of appetizers specially chosen to pair with the wine selections, including global fare created by Executive Chef Craig Strong with the guidance of Master Sommelier Steven Poe. Other event highlights included opportunity drawings, a silent auction, a live auction, a speech from Wooden Floor graduate Alejandra Salazar, and remarks by Theresa Allen, board chair, who led attendees in a champagne toast to celebrate The Wooden Floor’s 40th Anniversary.

Event sponsors included The Beall Family Foundation, The Smith Group, The Frome Family Foundation, KNU for Kids Foundation, Pardon Family Office, Anaheim Ducks & Honda Center, and Hydraflow – The Ayloush Family.

Bits & Pieces

Hanley Investment Group Real Estate Advisors raised more than $33,600 for Movember in the month of November, the 13th consecutive year that the organization has joined the global movement to raise awareness and critical funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

Kaiser Permanente Orange County leaders awarded Project Kinship, a nonprofit that provides supportive services and capacity-building training to those impacted by incarceration, gangs and violence, with a community health grant of more than $32,000 in support of its Arts and Healing Mental and Behavioral Health Program.

Families Forward has welcomed seven new community leaders to its board of directors who bring their diverse expertise to assist Families Forward in its mission to prevent and end family homelessness, including Mark Abbasi, senior vice president, finance, Edwards Lifesciences; Carissa Bechtloff, MBA, senior director, business development, City of Hope Orange County; Mark Engstrom, CPA, professor, Argyros School of Business, Chapman University; Jacqueline Erickson, founder and CEO, Social Impact Advising Group; Nickeya Hannah, CEO, Hygiene First; Danni Remington Smithson, executive vice president/regional manager, Bank of Southern California; and Kate Starr, group vice president, communications, Golden State Foods (GSF).

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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