Orange County’s top philanthropists, business leaders and individuals were honored at the 32nd Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon attended by 920 guests on Thursday, Nov. 16, at City National Grove of Anaheim.
Produced by the Orange County Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, National Philanthropy Day has become the most prominent philanthropic recognition event in Orange County, with more than 1,000 honorees since its inception in 1986.
Hosting the heartwarming affair, which was themed, “Take Action! Create Change!” were PBS-So Cal’s Maria Hall-Brown and KTLA Channel 5’s Henry DiCarlo, with Jane Hansen and Jeanne Flint serving as event co-chairs.
James and Suzanne Mellor, the 2017 Outstanding Philanthropists, served as honorary chairs, and the Judging Committee was headed by philanthropist Janet Ray and John Christiansen of Cornerstone Communications.
Highlights included Outstanding Philanthropists Ling and Charlie Zhang’s thank-you remarks, when at the end, they both broke into a rousing rendition of “God Bless America,” which brought the entire room to its feet singing along.
Outstanding Founder Michelle Wulfestieg of Newport Beach brought tears to many guests’ eyes as she related how she had had a stroke at 11 years of age that disabled her for life. After she began a career in hospice at age 21, she wasn’t expected to survive her second stroke at 25. “Clearly,” she said, “I had more work to do.”
She founded Southern California Hospice Foundation soon after to fill the gap of the needs of the terminally ill not covered by medical insurance. She is currently working on funding her Heavenly Home Project to create a loving home where hospice can be provided for those who have nowhere else to go. “A place where dignity and compassion reigns,’ she said.
The luncheon event netted $80,000 for the support of the ethical advancement of philanthropy in the community by the Orange County Chapter of AFP.
The 2018 National Philanthropy Day Orange County Outstanding Honorees from Newport Beach included:
Ueberroth Family Foundation, Corona del Mar: The Peter and Ginny Ueberroth Family Foundation, founded in 1984, partners with more than 70 local nonprofits in the areas of at-risk youth, education, health and human services and, in doing so, has invested more than $40 million in Orange County.
OUTSTANDING PHILANTHROPIC GROUP
Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund, Newport Beach: Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Orange County Bar Association, is dedicated to bettering the Orange County community by facilitating equal access to justice through its grant giving program for critically needed services.
Michelle Wulfestieg, Newport Beach: Michelle Wulfestieg, a two-time stroke survivor, has dedicated her life to caring for the dying. As founder and executive director of Southern California Hospice Foundation, she represents the true servant leader.
OUTSTANDING LARGE CORPORATION OR BUSINESS (500+ employees)
Bank of America, Newport Beach: Bank of America’s giving strategy goes beyond philanthropic capital to providing pro bono expertise and empowering employees to volunteer in their communities. It also develops nonprofit leaders through its Neighborhood Builder and Student Leader programs.
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.
For further information on the event, visit npdoc.org.