skip to Main Content
Over A Quarter Million Dollars Raised  At Orange County United Way’s Alexis De Tocqueville Philanthropic Celebration

Over a Quarter Million Dollars Raised at Orange County United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Philanthropic Celebration

The ‘It’s Showtime’ themed event celebrated Orange County’s philanthropic spirit and eagerness to transform the lives of neighbors in need.

Irvine, CA (November 20, 2023) – Orange County United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society hosted its ‘It’s Showtime’ red carpet philanthropic event on Saturday, November 4, raising over a quarter of a million dollars.

Funds raised will support Orange County United Way’s key initiatives and services aimed at ensuring local students succeed, struggling local families gain financial security, the unhoused find a place to call home, and Orange County’s most vulnerable residents are connected with health and human service resources.

“Orange County’s philanthropic spirit certainly took the spotlight at this year’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society Celebration. I continue to be amazed by the generosity of this community and the passion displayed to make positive changes in the lives of those residents who need a helping hand,” said Susan B. Parks, President and CEO of Orange County United Way.

The eventful evening consisted of music, a live auction, and recognized honorees who have continually exemplified ‘The OC Way’ by caring for the Orange County community. The honorees were:

  • Taking Action Medal – Mike Johnson, Board Member of Orange County United Way, for his leadership role at Auto Club to build widespread employee engagement while also lending his expertise to 2-1-1 OC.
  • Legacy Medal – Melinda Masson and Masson Family Foundation, member of Orange County United Way’s Million Dollar Roundtable, for her deep commitment to our community and being a catalyst for instilling in her children the importance of giving back.
  • Inspiration Medal – Ken and JoAnn Lickel, who are inspirational in their support of Orange County United Way’s Endowment Fund as well as the Journey to 100 Campaign. Ken also serves as a Board Member of Orange County United Way.

The evening also recognized the Million Dollar Roundtable, a group of individuals and family foundations that have donated a million dollars or more over the years to support the impactful work of our organization and our community.

“It is an honor to be a part of Tocqueville Society and to aid in the wonderful work being done in the community. It warms my heart to be a part of this amazing group of leaders who are all working to ensure Orange County residents have the support they need to thrive,” said Shirin Behzadi, CEO, Shirin Behzadi, LLC, and 2023–2024 Alexis de Tocqueville Society Co-Chair.

“I’m proud to be a part of this tradition of philanthropy. It’s remarkable how Orange County United Way is not only focused on advancing its mission in the community, but also provides opportunities for donors and partners to contribute their talents and passion for doing good,” said Greg Backley, COO, Automobile Club of Southern California, 2023–2024 Alexis de Tocqueville Society Co-Chair.

During the evening’s live auction, a video of several former foster youth shared the impact of having a place to call home thanks to the support from Orange County United Way’s United to End Homelessness initiative and its housing navigation program, WelcomeHomeOC. Amongst them was a single mom who grew up in foster care and struggled to provide a safe place to call home for her and her son. Now, she has a solid foundation and stability where she can pursue her dreams. ”Having a home makes me feal peaceful and safe, with a stable place to be and to sleep. It feels really nice,” she said.

Benefactor Sponsors of the event included AAA Automobile Club Southern California and Tarsadia Foundation. Director Sponsors of the event included Disneyland Resort, The Masson Family Foundation, and Reed Smith. Muse Sponsors of the event included Alcon, Banc of California, BMO, Cinda and Steve Churm, Eaton Aerospace, KCOMM, Pacific Life, Shirley and Steve Quackenbush, and Ware Malcomb.

To learn more about the Alexis de Tocqueville Society, visit:

For more information about Orange County United Way, please visit:


Orange County United Way is committed to breaking barriers and improving lives for everyone who lives here. Through our key initiatives—United for Student Success℠, United for Financial Security℠, and United to End Homelessness℠—we are working to ensure local students succeed, struggling OC families gain financial security, and our homeless neighbors find a place to call home. We also offer vital support via 2-1-1 Orange County (211OC), a key service that connects thousands of our most vulnerable residents with health and human service resources. We are committed to caring for one another. That’s #TheOCWay.

To learn more or discover how you can help, visit

# # #

Media Contact: Annie Noebel,, (949) 449-2527

×Close search