Newport Beach Teen Named the National Philanthropy Day Orange County Outstanding Youth Donates $2,500 to Charity
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IRVINE, CA– For her dedication to serving the disabled youth population in Orange County, National Philanthropy Day Orange County Outstanding Youth Honoree Natalie Cernius, 18, of Newport Beach, will have the opportunity as Outstanding Youth, for the first time this year, to designate an award of $2,500 from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Orange County Chapter to the charity of her choice, United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County, at the 28th annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon, presented by the Orange County Register, on November 21, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Irvine in Irvine.
Inspired by her brother with special needs, Cernius founded the “Friday Night Club,” a teen group providing an opportunity for high school students to complete community service hours and offer a community social outlet for spending quality time with youth who have autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other special needs.
Cernius selected United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County as a charitable beneficiary for their pivotal support in hosting Friday Night Club once a month in their office, as well as providing staff members to help with management and fundraising ideas for the club.
Since its inception in 2011, Friday Night Club has grown from hosting six children with autism and six of Cernius’s friends to now serving up to 80 participants per meeting, including elementary aged children, high school students and college students.
Says Cernius on her National Philanthropy Day Orange County Outstanding Youth award and the Friday Night Club, “I am grateful and honored to represent the hundreds of Orange County families who are looking for social opportunities for their teenagers with special needs. Thanks to the generosity of AFPOC and National Philanthropy Day OC, Friday Night Club can continue to grow and address this unmet need for people like my brother Andrew.”
The 2013 National Philanthropy Day Orange County Awards Luncheon, with the theme “Giving is always in season in the OC,” will be held Thursday, November 21, 2013 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at a new location, the Hyatt Regency Irvine located at 17900 Jamboree Road in Irvine, CA.
Cernius will be awarded onstage with a video tribute and a custom piece of art glass in the shape of a heart, in addition to receiving a personal $750 scholarship. She was notified of her recognition in late July 2013.
ABOUT NATIONAL PHILANTHROPY DAY: National Philanthropy Day Orange County honors those who have demonstrated philanthropy and enhanced their communities and the world. Each year more than 100 Association of Fundraising Professionals chapters throughout the US and Canada honor the philanthropic efforts of individuals, businesses, and groups. Net proceeds of the event support the ethical advancement of philanthropy in the community by the Orange County Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
National Philanthropy Day Orange County is sponsored by the Orange County Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is presented by the Orange County Register. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Orange County Register’s event sponsorship.
For more information on the event, visit www.npdoc.org.
Media Instructions: Members of the media are invited to attend the National Philanthropy Day Orange County awards luncheon, including the Media/VIP reception from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. to interview Outstanding Honorees and with advance RSVP, seats will be provided to attending media at the press table. Self-parking and valet parking are available with validation provided at the press lunch table.
For media inquiries, contact:
Jess Block, NPDOC Publicist, at 909-706-8525, JessBlockPR@gmail.com
Sheri Nazaroff, NPDOC Event Co-Chair, at 714-628-7266, Nazaroff@chapman.edu
Kristine Peters, NPDOC Event Co-Chair, at 714-423-8301, Kpeters@kinshipcenter.org
For past event photos visit http://jessblock.smugmug.com/Pro-Associations-and-Nonprofit/NPD-OC
ALL 2013 OUTSTANDING HONOREES:
Victoria Collins, Ph.D., CFP, Corona Del Mar
Nominated by: Girl Scouts of Orange County, Human Options, Orange County Community Foundation, Women Investing in Security and Education (WISE)
* Recognized for her leadership in empowering women and girls to be financially confident and competent
*For Victoria Collins, Ph.D., CFP, empowering women has been the passion and theme behind her philanthropic efforts, which have impacted thousands both locally and globally. Realizing that women needed financial knowledge and the confidence to put knowledge into action, over 15 years ago Dr. Collins founded the nonprofit “Invest in Yourself,” which later became WISE (Women Investing in Security and Education), an organization dedicated to the education of girls about financial literacy. WISE collaborates with many other community organizations to reach their goals of financial education, including the Girl Scouts’ Cookie Rally, which kicks off the Girl Scout Cookie Program for 16,000 girls. At the event, volunteers from WISE lead a financial planning workshop that teaches girls how to set a budget with goals for their cookie program proceeds. WISE volunteers lead a workshop for younger girls that teaches them how to count money and make change, so they can be prepared to confidently conduct business with customers. A Girl Scout alumna herself, Dr. Collins advocates on behalf of the Girl Scouts of Orange County for continued support and participation from WISE, and she was honored at their 2012 Celebrate Leadership Gala for her outstanding contributions as a leader in the financial services field. Dr. Collins was also an original founder of United Way’s Women’s Philanthropy Fund in 2002. Since initiating the annual Women’s Philanthropy Fund Breakfast in 2004, the group has raised more than $1.4M for local programs that help Orange County women and their families. Additionally, Dr. Collins was among the five founders of the Women’s International Load Fund, to support mirco-enterprise for women in developing countries. Human Options, which helps battered women, their families, and the community end the cycle of domestic violence, is another organization Dr. Collins supports, having served on the board of directors since 2002, including serving as board president in 2009 and 2010. Dr. Collins and her husband, David Collins, chaired the Human Options annual Serious Fun Gala for two years in a row, doubling the revenue from past events. An inspiration and model to others, Dr. and Mr. Collins received the Dove Award in 2005, the highest possible recognition from Human Options. Dr. Collins’s credits also include being author or co-author of six books on managing wealth and legacy, and being named for six consecutive years among the “250 Best Financial Advisors in the USA” by Worth magazine.
OUTSTANDING PHILANTHROPIC GROUP
Roosters Foundation of Orange County, Irvine
Nominated by: Devil Pups Youth Program for America, Friendly Center, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County
*Dedicated to assisting disadvantaged children in Orange County through donations of over $229,000 to 28 charities in 2013 to better the lives and futures of OC’s youngest residents
*Comprised of approximately 100 professional men of diverse backgrounds throughout Orange County, the Roosters Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a heart for the needs of disadvantaged children, having awarded 28 charities with $229,000 in 2013 alone, to better the lives and improve the futures of at-risk children. For 36 years since their inception in 1977, Roosters Foundation has supported schools, youth advocacy programs, child abuse prevention centers, shelters, children’s art organizations, boxing clubs and other community organizations. In 2008, Roosters Foundation began supporting Friendly Center’s “Success for All,” a free academic tutoring program for children and youth. Roosters has given $72,000 to the program and committed $56,000 for the 2013-2014 year, for a total of $128,000,enabling the program to grow to serve 450 students annually and expand from two sites to six sites. Roosters Foundation members also volunteer with Friendly Center’s Mobile Pantry program, having helped to distribute over 8,000 pounds of food to 200 low-income families and their children. Through collaboration with the Second Harvest Food Bank, Roosters Foundation has helped to feed tens of thousands of children and their families. In 2012, the Roosters’ Annual Holiday Food Drive at the Food Bank warehouse brought together more than 400 volunteers of all ages, including Roosters members, families, friends and military members, to sort 60,000 pounds of food and pack 3,000 boxes with traditional holiday meals for over 32,000 Orange County residents in need. Roosters’ food distribution and fundraising efforts in 2012 benefitted 65 nonprofits that all focus on the needs of disadvantaged youth and children. The organization raises their charitable funds through signature events such as the Orange County Food and Wine Celebration and Golfing for Kids charity golf tournament. Raising hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for those in need, the generosity, dedication and coordination of this group of businessmen philanthropists continues to make a significant impact to disadvantaged children and youth in Orange County.
OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER FUNDRAISER
Mary Lynn Coffee, Tustin
Nominated by: THINK Together
*Passionate about providing educational opportunities to those in need, helping THINK Together increase from serving 2,000 OC children in 2003 to over 100,000 children statewide
*Mary Lynn Coffee has a passion for education and providing academic opportunities to those in need. In 2002, Coffee organized TEACH (Tustin Educational Achievement with Community Help) to provide community funding and support for the Tustin Unified School District. Though TEACH was effective in helping the elementary schools in her own community, Coffee wanted to support programs that would impact several school districts and reach thousands of children throughout Orange County and beyond. After learning about THINK Together (Teaching, Helping, Inspiring, Nurturing Kids Together) in 2003, Coffee joined their Board of Directors, where she serves to this day, and has been a passionate advocate of their mission to improve academic outcomes for children and youth living in under-resourced communities. The children and youth served by THINK Together are 84% Hispanic, with 85% qualifying for the Free and Reduced Price Meal Program and 40% are English learners. Coffee has helped THINK Together grow from serving 2,000 children in Orange County in 2003 to currently serving over 100,000 children and youth statewide each year. In Orange County alone, THINK Together now provides learning and enrichment programs to over 30,000 underserved students, with free out-of-school time programs at 63 public schools. THINK Together also serves over 17,000 pre-K children throughout Orange County with early learning programs. Coffee has connected THINK Together with community partners. While serving as a Community Ministries Representative and Children’s Ministry Elder at Trinity United Presbyterian Church, she has directed youth and adult volunteers and significant resources towards THINK Together’s efforts. As a board member for the Tustin Community Foundation and an Assistance League of Tustin member, she has worked to raise awareness and support for THINK Together programs within the Tustin community, and has connected THINK Together with volunteers of all ages. In addition to these efforts, Coffee and her husband, Bill, regularly host community friend/fundraisers in their Tustin home. From their Christmas Tea, to benefit the Book Doctor, to the Family Fiesta benefitting THINK Together, Coffee is continually bringing in resources to serve the neediest in the community. As a partner at Nossaman, LLP, of Irvine, Coffee has directed significant funding to THINK Together from her law firm, and additional support from her husband’s firm, Songstad, Randall, Coffee and Humphrey, LLP, of Irvine, where he is a partner. Her experience, governmental relations, and legal skills have served THINK Together through her involvement as Chair of the Board Affairs and Governance Committee and Vice President of Board Affairs. Coffee’s enthusiasm, dedication and community-involvement have helped to increase support to tens of thousands of underprivileged students throughout Orange County and California.
Margie Wakeham, Families Forward, Irvine
Nominated by: Families Forward, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Orange County Community Foundation, Orange County United Way
*Families Forward has served over 20,000 Orange County families and children over the last 29 years through Wakeham’s philanthropic leadership
*Margie Wakeham serves not just as Executive Director of Families Forward, but as the visionary leader, engaging and inspiring thousands of individuals, businesses, foundations and government entities to get involved, resulting in donations of millions of dollars, products, services, and tens of thousands of volunteer hours to provide homeless or near homeless families with programs that support them as they regain, or maintain, self-sufficiency. Through her leadership efforts, Families Forward has grown from a small group of volunteers to a large organization providing vital safety-net services to 8,400 children and adults in 2012. Prior to her work at Families Forward, Wakeham began 17 years of service as a member of the Irvine Unified School District Board. Her enthusiasm for addressing and resolving community needs and issues has a proven track record of inspiring others to action. Wakeham has ensured that Families Forward engages in and embraces significant community involvement through extensive outreach to schools, nonprofit organizations, faith and community groups, businesses, service organizations and cities, with the goal to partner and build collaborations to assist families in financial crisis. Pastor Ryan Warne-McGraw of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church says of the organization, “I have every confidence that the people we refer to Families Forward will be served by caring staff and receive excellent services.” The dedicated volunteers of Families Forward are integral to the organization’s work, providing over 16,000 hours of service on-site in 2012, including conducting 117 food drives. Donors’ response to outreach by Families Forward resulted in more than 2,000 charitable gifts last year, with gifts and grants ranging from $5 to $250,000 and totaling over $2,107,000. In addition, in-kind donations of food, furnishings, supplies, and professional services from hundreds of supporters exceeded $1,000,000 last year. Families Forward is recognized as a nonprofit leader in serving homeless families, with program outcomes of over 80% of families in two housing programs remaining stably housed. Designated as a 4 Star Charity by Charity Navigator, placing Families Forward in the top 14% of charities nationwide, the organization has served more than 20,000 Orange County families, children and their parents over the last 29 years. Wakeham’s efforts and the efforts of those she has engaged and involved continue to move even more families forward every day.
OUTSTANDING SMALL CORPORATION OR BUSINESS
Chemers Gallery, Tustin
Nominated by: Chapman University, The Wooden Floor
*Committed to supporting Orange County’s nonprofit community, education, and the arts through giving and hosting charitable events
*For more than 20 years, Chemers Gallery has built meaningful partnerships to give back to local nonprofits in Orange County. Owner Karen Raab, daughter to original owner Rita Chemers, has hosted many events to benefit local charities. The gallery’s signature event over the last 22 years has been their annual Children’s Book Illustrators event each December. The event hosts several notable children’s book illustrators to promote their latest book art, lead workshops, and sign books for attendees. Art from the books is displayed and available for purchase at the gallery, with proceeds from the book and art sales donated by Raab to local charities. Not only benefitting from monetary gifts, charities are also invited to be an active partner at the event and to have the opportunity to speak at a public forum and present their information to thousands of event attendees, with the goal of attracting new donors and advocates. Other events hosted at Chemers Gallery include charitable book launches, including those of the president of Chapman University, Dr. James Doti, who has hosted events at the gallery in 2010 and 2013 to launch his children’s books. President Doti donated the net proceeds of his book sales, but Raab took it a step further by offering her gallery as the location for the event and donating a portion of the book sales to Chapman University, and donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of book art, sold before, during and after the event, to the University as well. Recipients of the philanthropy demonstrated by the gallery include The Wooden Floor, Orange County Ronald McDonald House, and Chapman University’s literacy programs for community children struggling with reading deficiencies. The Wooden Floor has partnered with Chemers Gallery four times since 2003, raising more than $25,000 in new funds from over 100 new supporters. Many of the artists involved and new supporters gained through The Wooden Floor’s participation in the Children’s Book Illustrators event continue to be loyal supporters of The Wooden Floor’s mission to provide underserved local youth the tools to live fuller, healthier lives through dance. In addition, each year, The Wooden Floor also benefits from the in-kind donation of hundreds of children’s books donated by Chemers Gallery to stock The Wooden Floor’s Education Center and Children’s Library. Raab gives through her gallery as well as personally, including serving as the Director at Large for the Jewish Federation and Family Services, Orange County. Chemers Gallery is an inspiring example of a small business making a big difference through acts of philanthropy.
OUTSTANDING MID-SIZE CORPORATION OR BUSINESS
Haskell & White LLP, Irvine
Nominated by: America On Track, Arts Orange County, Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, Child Abuse Prevention Center, Discovery Science Center, Irvine Barclay Theatre, Laura’s House, Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Orange County Business Journal, South Coast Repertory, The Laguna Playhouse, The Wooden Floor
*Making philanthropy a part of business culture through firmwide giving, volunteerism and leadership
*As one of Orange County’s largest locally owned accounting and consulting firms, Haskell & White LLP has made a significant and positive impact to many areas of need throughout Orange County including health, safety, arts and education. The partners and staff of Haskell & White share a commitment to the community that is central to their corporate culture, not just through giving, but through taking meaningful action, inspiring and educating others to get involved. For the past 10 years, Haskell & White’s support of America On Track has helped the nonprofit to serve the most disadvantaged children and families throughout Orange County. Haskell & White Partner Patrick Ross has served on the nonprofit’s Board of Directors since 2003, currently holding the position of Chairman of the Board, and his work helps vulnerable children in difficult situations, including those who live in impoverished areas, high crime gang areas, and the over 20,000 children of prisoners in Orange County. Additionally, for the past six years the firm has selected America On Track as a recipient of their Casual for a Cause program, where every Friday their partners and employees donate $5 or $10 for dressing down in the office, with proceeds donated to local charities. In total, the firm has donated in excess of $150,000 on an annual basis along with many hours of volunteer time. Taking it a step further, Haskell & White recently developed a ‘how to’ memo regarding the logistics of their Casual for a Cause program to motivate others to act charitably and to implement similar programs. Continued firm support for children includes a commitment to the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, with support beginning over 20 years ago and since raising over $225,000 for the Club and the children it serves. Managing Partner Wayne Pinnell is currently the Club’s Board President, but firm employees also support the Club, including volunteering for the annual Thanksgiving Dinner, serving over 1,200 meals to families, and during Christmas at the Club, which brings 1,500 gifts to children of neighborhoods served by the Club. Pinnell is also a founding Board Member of Laura’s House, a comprehensive domestic violence agency. In January 2011, Pinnell became the Chair of the Laura’s House Cornerstone Capital Campaign, a $4.5M fundraising initiative to rebuild and expand the Laura’s House Emergency Shelter, and to purchase a facility for their Step Ahead transitional living program. Supporters of the arts, Haskell & White Founding Partner David White II is an Emeritus Board Member at Arts Orange County, and currently Partner-in-Charge Rick Smetanka is President of Arts Orange County, continuing the firm’s legacy of volunteerism and giving to the organization. Today, Haskell & White remains one of the largest corporate donors to Arts Orange County. The Irvine Barclay Theatre is another arts recipient of Haskell & White’s philanthropy, being a client of the firm since 2000 and receiving a significant portion of their fees donated back as cash gifts to the theatre every year for the past 13 years. From a partnership of 14 years with South Coast Repertory, the firm has benefitted tens of thousands of Orange County residents by giving the opportunity to experience live professional theatre at Orange County’s only Tony Award-winning theatre, having underwritten 14 productions at the theatre, among supporting their education and outreach programs. A partner to Susan G. Komen Orange County’s Race for a Cure, Haskell & White helps raise awareness for breast cancer research and prevention, in addition to the firm’s team participating in the annual walk. Pinnell has also served as a Pink Tie Guy since 2010. To create a distinctive promotion of their 2010 Race for the Cure and breast health messages, Pinnell’s 40-foot-long, 12-foot-high RV was converted into “The Pink RV” from July through October 2010, with a corresponding “Pink RV Tour” visiting a variety of high-profile locations, such as Angel Stadium and the Grove of Anaheim. Haskell & White continually demonstrates outstanding giving and stewardship of its organization, making philanthropic engagement in the community a priority for its partners and staff.
OUTSTANDING LARGE CORPORATION OR BUSINESS
Edwards Lifesciences Corporation, Irvine
Nominated by: Project Tomorrow
*With a dedication to health and education, charitable giving exceeds $4.5M worldwide and over $1M in Orange County
*As a global leader in the science of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring, Edwards Lifesciences has forged its own path as a philanthropic pioneer when it comes to supporting those in need in Orange County and the world. Edwards’s passion to help patients is central to its corporate mission and its employees embrace this mission not only in regard to helping heart patients, but in helping all citizens in need. Edwards Lifesciences’ history began in 1958 when Miles Lowell Edwards partnered with Dr. Albert Starr to develop the world’s first replacement heart valve, a catalyst for developing many life-saving and enhancing technologies that have transformed patient care and kept Edwards at the forefront of innovation. Fifty-five years later, Edwards has a presence in approximately 100 countries with more than 7,800 employees globally and sales of more than $1B. Its corporate office in Irvine is home to more than 2,600 employees, who help to save lives and make a difference in the Orange County community every day. The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology at the University of California, Irvine was founded in 2007, with a naming endowment gift from Edwards Lifesciences, and opened in 2009 with a mission to stimulate research and training in the cardiovascular field. During the past five years, Edwards Lifesciences has partnered with Project Tomorrow, a national education nonprofit based in Irvine that supports innovative uses of science, math and technology resources. Edwards supports Project Tomorrow’s YouthTEACH2Learn Program for high school students interested in careers in teaching, and its Youth Leadership Summit for Math and Science, an event that supports STEM career exploration for Orange County high school students. Edwards provides financial assistance and generosity of spirit to the programs, making their corporate culture unique. Since 2004, the Edwards Lifesciences Fund has supported health-focused programs and community programs that strengthen the communities where Edwards’s employees live and work. In 2012, the Edwards Lifesciences Fund’s charitable giving exceeded $4.5M worldwide and over $1M in Orange County alone. Also last year, Edwards’s employees coordinated volunteer efforts that assisted charities in Orange County through their “Strengthen Our Community” program, with 269 Edwards’s Orange County employees volunteering a total of 1,099 hours to community activities with: Goodwill of Orange County, Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, American Red Cross: Orange County Chapter, Giving Children Hope, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Project Access, Orange County United Way, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, Orange County Rescue Mission, Human Options, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, Second Harvest Food Bank, Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Center, Project Tomorrow and PBS SoCal. Through grants from the Fund, employee volunteerism, and product donations, Edwards increases access to healthcare and helps community members in difficult circumstances.
Natalie Cernius, Friday Night Club, Newport Beach
Nominated by: Creative Solutions for Hope, National Charity League Vista Irvine Chapter, Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles, The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County, parents of Charlie Allred, parents of Azal Ghotb, parents of Riley Horton, parents of Joshua Kartzinel, parents of Brooke Kershberg, parents of Faith Langhorn, parent of Robert Lee, mother of Victor Ismael Shaflee, parent of Kyle Toboni
*Dedicated to providing those with special needs a rare opportunity for much needed social, recreational time with typical peers in a safe, accepting environment
*As a sibling to a brother diagnosed with autism, Natalie Cernius, 18, understands that those with special needs have limited opportunities to socialize with peers. Because Cernius’s siblings were away at college and she would also be going away to school in upcoming years, she worried about her brother, Andrew, 19, being lonely. He was her driving force in starting the Friday Night Club in 2011, a social club where high school students earn community service hours for spending quality, social time with teens who have autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other special needs. Friday Night Club is held twice a month, either at Cernius’s home, a church gym or at the United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County offices, and what started with six children with autism and six of Cernius’s friends now sees attendance regularly up to 80 participants per meeting, and serves special needs elementary aged children, high school students and college students. With a need in the Orange County community for social events and recreational opportunities where people with special needs are accepted, safe, and not judged, Cernius has provided a remarkable opportunity for those with special needs and typical peers to interact and become friends, where they play games, watch movies, sing karaoke, and more. An added feature of this program is that volunteers learn about patience, tolerance, and acceptance, and can gain a better understanding of autism and other disabilities to which they may not otherwise have been exposed. The Club has become a hit among special needs participants, with a participant recently asking to stay home from a family vacation to Hawaii so she didn’t have to miss a Friday Night Club. The Club provides much needed free time and respite for family members. Says Mona Ghotb, a mother to a daughter with special needs, “My husband and I use this time to have some alone time with a free mind, because we are sure our daughter will be safe and well supervised while at the Club.” Additionally, Cernius created Friday Night Club in a Box for other locations to start their own programs and to share the idea with other communities in need. Additionally, she enlisted her sister at Harvard to start a club there. Her sister was awarded a fellowship to start clubs at MIT, Boston College and Boston University as well, and they have made it their goal to make Friday Night Club a national nonprofit with the aim to create similar groups nationwide. Cernius’s exceptional philanthropic leadership, excellence in character and commitment to her cause has made an insurmountable difference in the lives of those with special needs, and their families.