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Over Half A Million Dollars Raised At Orange County United Way’s ‘Zest Of OC’ Philanthropic Celebration

Over Half a Million Dollars Raised at Orange County United Way’s ‘Zest of OC’ Philanthropic Celebration

Sold out event hosted by the Alexis de Tocqueville Society celebrated Orange County’s philanthropic spirit

Irvine, CA (November 3, 2022) – Orange County United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society hosted its ‘Zest of OC’ philanthropic celebration on Saturday, October 29, raising over half a million dollars. All funds raised will go towards the support of Orange County United Way’s three key initiatives aimed at ensuring local students succeed, struggling OC families gain financial security, and Orange County’s homeless neighbors find a place to call home.

“The Alexis de Tocqueville Society is committed to making a positive impact and working together to change lives. That was evident at the ‘Zest of OC’ celebration,” said Susan B. Parks, President and CEO of Orange County United Way. “We are proud to be supported by individuals who show their passion daily and contribute their time, talent and financial resources to help transform Orange County, making it the strongest it can be.”

The evening recognized honorees who have continually exemplified ‘The OC Way’ by caring for the Orange County community and going the extra mile to help and support OC residents in need.

  • Taking Action Medal – Linda and Mike Mussallem, prominent philanthropists, for generously supporting our community and consistently stepping up to help address the critical issues facing Orange County. And for Mike’s leadership as Chairman and CEO of Edwards Lifesciences, which has created a culture of giving and raised the bar in the area of social responsibility.
  • Legacy Medal – Artyn and Max Gardner, members of Orange County United Way’s Million Dollar Roundtable, for embodying the spirit of giving and actualizing their philanthropy in profoundly tangible ways over the years.
  • Inspiration Medal – Maya Patel and the Tarsadia Foundation, members of Orange County United Way’s Million Dollar Roundtable, for their dedication to breaking barriers and passion for inspiring change.

California Senator Josh Newman and his wife were in attendance, as well as Supervisor Katrina Foley’s policy advisor, Cindy Tran-Chang, along with more than 200 community leaders and local philanthropists. This event celebrated the “zest” of Orange County’s philanthropic spirit and included live music, a plated dinner and citrusy libations.

“We were delighted to lead the efforts for this year’s ‘Zest of OC’ Tocqueville celebration,” said Shirin Behzadi and Per Irani, 2022–2023 Alexis de Tocqueville Society co-chairs and event sponsors. “It was an inspiring and passionate evening, and we feel honored to be a part of this influential group of individuals who play a significant role in positively impacting our community.”

The evening also featured remarks from special guest, Yeni, a beneficiary of Orange County United Way’s SparkPoint OC financial empowerment program, which provides free financial education and one-on-one coaching to give hard-working residents the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty and transition from surviving to thriving.

“I am grateful to Orange County United Way for the support and resources it gave me to improve the financial wellbeing of my family. Now, I am running my own business and my kids are thriving. It has really changed our lives in the best way possible,” said Yeni.

Gold Sponsors of the event included Disneyland Resort, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, Artyn and Max Gardner, and the Tarsadia Foundation.

Silver Sponsors included Banc of California, Bank of the West, California State University Fullerton, City of Hope Orange County, KCOMM, Ware Malcomb, and Cinda and Steve Churm.

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 three 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 step up to actively address the critical issues facing our community and we go the extra mile to make sure our residents have the support they need. We are committed to caring for one another. That’s #TheOCWay.

To learn more or discover how you can help, visit

Orange County United Way is a standalone, independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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

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