Friends of CASA, a membership auxiliary of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Orange County, hosted its annual Holiday Luncheon on Friday, Dec. 1 at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point.
The Luncheon that began as a Holiday Tea 28 years ago has brought in over $6.6 million dollars since 1995. This year’s Luncheon had a record-breaking net for the tenth year in a row, with over $640k that will go directly to supporting CASA’s mission of providing a powerful voice and a meaningful connection for children who have experienced abuse, neglect and abandonment.
The Luncheon was chaired by Newport Beach resident Colleen Masterson and Holly Joseph, who were assisted by a volunteer committee of 70 members from the Friends of CASA (FOCASA) auxiliary group, which is led by FOCASA President Dana Strader of Newport Beach.
Nearly 500 guests arrived to a beautiful reception with tray passed champagne and 161 auction packages elegantly displayed. Guests were able to fulfill a wish for a child in foster care through purchasing ornaments placed on the Barclay Butera Interiors sponsored “Starfish Wish Trees.”
Ornaments designed by local artist Timree Gold of Newport Beach featured diverse wishes from 282 children served by CASA. Starfish Wishes included items like a new bicycle, jiu-jitsu lessons, Barbie dolls, and day trips to Disneyland, Adventure City, and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.
The reception area and ballroom were exquisitely decorated by Elite OC Productions and Paul Fenner Florals. This year’s captivating fashion presentation was presented by world renowned fashion house, Givenchy, and South Coast Plaza, and meticulously produced by Shannon Davidson Productions.
This year’s keynote speaker was national poverty and child welfare expert and advocate, David Ambroz, who recently published a memoir entitled “A Place Called Home” that was gifted to all guests of the Luncheon, courtesy of Entertainment Sponsor Dana & Patrick Strader. David currently serves as the Head of Community Engagement (West) for Amazon.
The opportunity drawing was provided by Exclusive Jewelry Partner, Lugano Diamonds of Newport Beach, who generously donated a Floating Rose Cut Diamond Chain with nearly seven carats of exquisite rose-cut diamonds, glistening from every angle and valued at $25,000. CASA supporter, Andrea Stewart, of the Harry Bronson and Edith Knapp Foundation, was the lucky winner.
A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1985, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County (CASA OC) provides a powerful voice and a meaningful connection for children who have experienced abuse, neglect and abandonment. CASA volunteers provide critical support and important advocacy that focuses on the child’s safety, the efficiency of placement in permanent homes, their educational needs and the child’s overall health and wellbeing. A CASA volunteer is often the only consistent adult in a child or youth’s life who is not paid to support and advocate for them.
Please visit www.casaoc.org to learn more.