The celebration of National Philanthropy Day is live again.
The annual salute to local philanthropists is set to resume Wednesday, Nov. 17, as an in-person gathering. Last year, COVID-19 forced the Orange County chapter to hold a virtual ceremony to mark its milestone 35th anniversary.
Proceeds from the luncheon at City National Grove in Anaheim will go to education, training and advocacy programs supported by the Orange County Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, which holds the local awards. Luncheon emcee once again will be Maria Hall-Brown of PBS SoCal. The Orange County Register is a community media sponsor.
Here are some individuals and organizations being honored under theme “Illuminating Hope through Philanthropy.”
Sun Family Foundation
Taiwanese immigrants David and Diana Sun came to the United States in 1977 and, 10 years later, David Sun and fellow engineer John Tu co-founded Kingston Technology. The company, based in Fountain Valley, went on to become one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of computer memory and storage technology.
In 1999, the Suns began their family foundation to focus on providing scholarships for underprivileged students in Orange County and their native country. David Sun feels a particular connection to education — his late mother, Guang Yuan, was a biology teacher in Taiwan. In recent years, foundation grants have also gone to support outreach beyond education.
Meymuna Hussein-Cattan/The Tiyya Foundation
Meymuna Hussein-Cattan was born at an Ethiopian refugee camp in Somalia, and was just 5 when her family came to the United States, in 1979. An entrepreneur, Hussein-Cattan and her mother started what became The Tiyya Foundation in 2010, working from a garage to help refugees, immigrants and other displaced persons. Projects have included career placement, a culinary skills program/social enterprise restaurant called Flavors from Afar, and a youth soccer program that brought together kids from different war-torn countries. Having grown into offices in Santa Ana and Los Angeles, the foundation is quick to respond to fast-changing needs. In August, as Afghans fled chaos during the U.S. military’s withdrawal from their country, Hussein-Cattan worked to line up emergency housing for refugee families.
Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser
Public affairs. Political campaigns. Strategic planning. Corporate communications. Eileen Padberg honed her skills as a consultant over a career spanning more than four decades. She’s been a longtime community activist as well, particularly as an advocate for women’s causes. The impact of her work has been felt near and far. Starting in 2004, she took a 22-month break from her consulting job to travel to Iraq, where, as part of a non-military contract, she assisted Iraqi women in building their own businesses. Closer to home, Padberg led a capital campaign to benefit WISEPlace, which works to end homelessness for unaccompanied women, raising $1.5 million over two years.
A senior at Portola High in Irvine, Saachi Pavani has been engaged in nonprofit work since 2016, when she was still in grade school. At 17, she’s already helped Days for Girls International send hygiene kits to developing countries. She’s also established a school club focused on domestic violence prevention and, during the pandemic, collected masks, food and money on behalf of Southern California Hospice Foundation. And she’s coordinated the distribution of roughly 16,000 masks to other Orange County nonprofits. Two years ago, as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Pavani began leading Stop the Bleed training sessions to help prepare ordinary bystanders to save lives in an emergency by teaching how tie off injured limbs and other first aid procedures.
Outstanding Philanthropic Group
WISE (Women Investing In Security and Education)
The surface-level goal of WISE (Women Investing In Security and Education) is to raise the level of financial education for girls and women of all ages. But the nonprofit’s deeper goal is to help women gain personal financial freedom. In 1997, the group started when 15 women organized an “Invest in Yourself” conference that attracted 500 attendants. The reach of WISE has expanded to include work with other community organizations, including Girls Inc. and Girl Scouts, along with its free “Tearing Down the Pink Wall” webinars and podcasts.
Outstanding Corporation or Business, Small (1-50 employees)
Digital outreach and connection is the forte of Moxie Marketing, an Irvine-based company launched in 2014 by Jeanette Knutti. Through its Digital Marketing Academy for Nonprofits, Moxie provides free marketing resources to charitable organizations that can’t afford such services. The firm has helped those clients meet the challenges of the pandemic with pro bono services, and hosted virtual fundraisers for pandemic relief efforts.
Outstanding Corporation or Business, Mid-Size (51-499 employees)
Discount Tire & Service Centers
Andy Andonian opened the first Discount Tire & Service Centers store in 1975 on Imperial Highway and Bellflower Boulevard in Downey. He had pumped gas while still in school and his new store was a family business, with help coming from his parents and other relatives. Now, with about three dozen locations, the company is steered by Andonian’s son, company President Sergio Andonian. The company and family philosophy is to give back to the communities where Discount Tire operates. Toward that end, they have supported a variety of causes, including the Alzheimer’s Association chapter in Orange County, and donated a percentage of profits to local schools.
Outstanding Corporation or Business, Large (500-plus employees)
Banc of California
Santa Ana-based Banc of California works with small and medium-size businesses all around Southern California, with employees in offices and bank branches from San Diego to Santa Barbara. That footprint gives Banc of California plenty of opportunities to support local communities with money and donated time. Groups supported by Banc and its employees include at-risk youth and military veterans, and causes include financial education and workforce development.