Volume 8, Issue 77  |  September 26, 2023SubscribeAdvertise

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Orangewood Foundation raises $305,000 for foster youth at Ambassador Luncheon

On Friday, Oct. 29, Orangewood Foundation gathered together safely with 227 of the organization’s most impactful donors to celebrate the 24th Annual Ambassador Luncheon – raising more than $305,000. The event, which was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Newport Beach, serves to recognize Orangewood’s individual and collective accomplishments from the past year while honoring the foundation’s “Ambassadors” – philanthropic partners whose annual gifts of $1,000 or more support the Foundation’s efforts – and also raise funds for youth in the community who are currently in foster care.

Orangewood Simenson trio

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Photos courtesy of Orangewood

(L-R) 44 Women for Orangewood Chairwoman Dr. Tess Breen, Orangewood Foundation CEO Chris Simonsen and Susan Samueli, Samueli Foundation

“We are humbled by the generosity of our donors and sponsors,” said Orangewood Foundation CEO Chris Simonsen. “The funds that we raise not just during this event – but throughout the year – allow us to positively impact the lives of hundreds of youth living here in our communities.”

The luncheon was made possible by several sponsors, including Horowitz Group, Angels Baseball Foundation, Anaheim Ducks Foundation, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Sandi and Doug Jackson, Kaiser Permanente, Samueli Foundation and SRG Partners.

Orangewood Winfrey

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Oprah Winfrey delivering a special message to the audience

The event’s programming included a special message from Oprah Winfrey, who delivered a special message to Orangewood’s guests about childhood trauma and how the community can join together to put the lives of foster youth on a new, more beneficial trajectory as they prepare for adulthood. In addition, honorees Sandi and Doug Jackson were awarded the General William Lyon Crystal Vision Philanthropy Award, which recognizes worthy individuals who have given their time and resources and who reflect the unending commitment to Orange County youth that has been demonstrated by Founding Board Chairman General Lyon.

Orangewood Jackson

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Sandi Jackson, one of the honorees, at the podium

The William G. Steiner Heart of Service Award, which recognizes individuals who have an unwavering passion for helping young people, and that go above and beyond in supporting the organization, was given to longtime volunteer Judy Nicholls. For more than a decade, Nicholls has been an influential partner of Orangewood Foundation, volunteering for several events, serving as a mentor for Orangewood’s youth, and helping make impactful connections and partnerships on behalf of the nonprofit.

Orangewood Panetta

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(L-R) Jim Panetta and Bob Miller

Keynote speaker Dr. Bruce Perry, an authority on child trauma and a senior fellow at the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, TX, was also recognized, receiving Orangewood’s first Youth Champion Award – an honor that recognizes an outstanding and lifetime commitment to advocating positive change in the lives of youth.

To learn how you can become an Orangewood Ambassador, visit www.orangewoodfoundation.org/ways-to-give/, or contact Kendra Puryear, chief development officer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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