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Volume 4, Issue 97  |  December 3, 2019


KidWorks for Success Luncheon raises $860,000+, Newport Beach residents honored

The 2019 KidWorks’ Foundation for Success (FFS) Luncheon, held Thursday, Nov. 7 at the Doubletree Hotel, Santa Ana, raised more than $860,000 to help fund afterschool education and leadership development programs conducted by the nonprofit headquartered in central Santa Ana.

A recording-breaking 450 guests attended the annual event that raises the majority of the afterschool program budget for academic enrichment, tutoring, leadership development and college readiness programs at the KidWorks Dan Donahue Center.

The prestigious 2019 Dan Donahue Leadership Award was presented to longtime KidWorks supporters Heidi and Ruben Mendoza, residents of Newport Beach. Mendoza is the founder, president and CEO of Foundation Building Materials (FBM®), one of the largest specialty distributors of wallboard and suspended ceilings systems in the U.S and Canada.

KidWorks for Success Ruben and Heidi

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Submitted photos

Ruben and Heidi Mendoza

“We were delighted to honor Heidi and Ruben Mendoza, who have been KidWorks supporters since the beginning of our mission to serve children, youth and families in central Santa Ana,” said David Benavides, KidWorks’ Executive Director. “Ruben was instrumental in the building of the original Dan Donahue Center and has been actively involved in the recent major expansion of that facility. Both Heidi and Ruben continue to support KidWorks in countless ways.”

“Both Heidi and I believe that all kids should have the educational opportunities to pursue their God-given potential,“ Mendoza said. “KidWorks is a beacon of hope in the community. The combination of academic support coupled with character and spiritual development is a unique model that really works.”

The legacy of late KidWorks benefactor Dan Donahue continued at the event with many of his namesake Uncle Dan Bears available for purchase to help fund KidWorks programs with all bear purchases qualifying for a triple match. The popular soft, stuffed teddy bears were wearing T-shirts featuring the universities and colleges KidWorks’ students are currently attending. At KidWorks, 100 percent of high school seniors graduate on time and 100 percent go on to attend a college or university.

KidWorks for Success Ann Meyes Drysdale and Kyle

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(L-R) Ann Meyers Drysdale and Kyle Team

Ann Meyers Drysdale, one of the true pioneers in women’s basketball, a Hall of Famer, Olympian and an award-winning broadcaster was this year’s keynote speaker. She is in her fifth season as vice president of both the Phoenix Mercury and the Phoenix Suns. The role follows five successful seasons as general manager for the Mercury, where she constructed the franchise’s first two WNBA championship teams in 2007 and 2009. She remains the only female to sign a free-agent contract with an NBA team when she signed with the Indiana Pacers in 1979.

Drysdale cited “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, an American athlete who excelled in golf, basketball, baseball and track and field, as her inspiration to make sports her life. Famed UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden was another influence.  She related the challenges she has faced in her life to those that KidWorks helps children and youth face, and encouraged everyone to work hard and be the best that they can be. If you don’t succeed at a particular task, there’s always another race to run, she observed.

KidWorks for Success four ladies

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(L-R) Lisa Briggs, Caroline Davenport, Natalie Pickup and Ellen Small

The Foundation for Success luncheon would not be possible without the generosity of presenting sponsors: American Career College, West Coast University, Balboa Bay Resort, Heidi & Ruben Mendoza and Bank of America. Other key sponsors were Donahue Schriber, The Donahue Family, Caribou Industries, and the Gregory and Stacey Brown Family Charitable Fund.

Since its inception in 2007, KidWorks’ annual Foundation for Success event has raised more than $7,350,500 to fund programs at the KidWorks Dan Donahue Center.

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