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More than 920 community leaders attended Orange County United Way’s sold-out Women’s Philanthropy Fund Breakfast at Hotel Irvine with keynote speaker Earvin “Magic” Johnson on May 8.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Breakfast raised more than $600,000 to support initiatives targeting the education, health, housing and income challenges facing women and children in Orange County.
The morning kicked off with a performance from the students of Paul Revere Elementary School – a school that has been supported by the Women’s Philanthropy Fund through an on-campus food pantry, housing and financial empowerment center, classroom technology, reading materials, after-school programs and more.
Susan B. Parks, president and CEO of Orange County United Way, and one of the Founding Members of the Women’s Philanthropy Fund, reminded guests about the importance of this yearly event, “The annual Breakfast gives us the opportunity to celebrate the power of philanthropy and the women who are leading the charge to change the future for the next generation.”
Our incredible co-chairs Shirley Quackenbush, Managing Director, Merrill Lynch Private Banking & Investment Group, and Paula Mattson, Vice President, Business Operations, Edison Energy, LLC, led guests through the program bringing attention to the amazing work the Women’s Philanthropy Fund is doing in the community.
Everyone in the room was moved to tears when Jennifer Swan-Altieri, 3rd grade teacher at Paul Revere Elementary School in Anaheim, and three of her students took the stage and shared how they had been personally impacted by the Women’s Philanthropy Fund’s investment in their school.
As a result of the partnership, Mrs. Swan-Altieri’s shared that her current students have higher reading and comprehension levels than any year prior, many reading at or above a 4th grade level.
Then came time for the highly anticipated keynote speaker, Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
He inspired the crowd with his presentation on the importance of giving back to the community you live in and lifting up those in need around you. He focused on supporting, encouraging and investing in Orange County children, and giving them the opportunity to succeed not only in school, but also in life beyond the classroom.
Johnson also selected the winner of this year’s raffle out of 300 tickets. JoAnn Albers, Women’s Philanthropy Fund member, won the three-carat, oval yellow sapphire ring donated by Lugano Diamonds.
He then surprised the audience by donating signed jerseys to four other lucky winners.
Over the past 15 years, the Women’s Philanthropy Fund has raised more than $35 million to support various women’s and children’s programs here in Orange County. As the organization’s most important event of the year, the funds raised allow United Way to implement programs with demonstrable impact for underserved populations.
A special thanks to Bank of America and Edison International who served as Champion Sponsors, as well as all of the other generous sponsors of the event.