Orangewood Foundation Raises $305K During Ambassador Luncheon at Renaissance Hotel in Newport Beach

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Dr. Tess Breen, 44 Women for Orangewood Chairwoman; Chris Simonsen, Orangewood CEO; Susan Samueli of the Samueli Foundation

On Friday, Oct. 29, Orangewood Foundation gathered with 227 of the organization’s most impactful donors to celebrate the 24th annual Ambassador Luncheon.

Held at an expansive outdoor patio at the Renaissance Hotel in Newport Beach, the event serves to recognize Orangewood’s individual and collective accomplishments from the past year while honoring the foundation’s “Ambassadors” or 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. The luncheon raised more than $305,000.

“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.

Oprah Winfrey gave a special message during the luncheon

The event’s programming included a special message from Oprah Winfrey, who via video talked 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.

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, Judy 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.

Luncheon sponsors Henry and Susan Samueli of the Samueli Foundation in Corona del Mar

Keynote speaker Dr. Bruce Perry, an authority on child trauma and a senior fellow at the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas, was also recognized, receiving Orangewood’s first ever 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, please visit or contact Kendra Puryear, Chief Development Officer, at [email protected].

Established in 1981, Orangewood Foundation is a privately funded 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves nearly 2,000 foster and community youth annually. The organization is committed to helping youth prepare for independent adulthood, providing various programs and services that focus on health & wellness, housing, life skills & employment, and education. Orangewood Foundation’s mission is to strive for equity for its youth by valuing and supporting the life that each individual envisions.

To learn more, please visit

Orangewood luncheon


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