Orange County’s top philanthropists were called out at the 32nd Annual National Philanthropy Day Orange County Awards Luncheon recently.
Among the honorees were Laguna Beach locals Suzanne and James Mellor. The lifelong supporters of the arts continue the philanthropy they began in Washington D.C. in their adopted home by supporting Laguna Playhouse and the Laguna College of Art and Design.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals, whose chapters mark National Philanthropy Day around the world, hosted the lunch attended by nearly 800 guests.
Among those making it happen were co-chairs Julia Foster and Jane Hansen. Chapter President Keegan Bell presented a $2,500 check from the association to the outstanding youth honoree, 12-year-old Grace Cross, who designated the money to one of her favorite charities, Olive Crest.
Bell also presented Grace with a $1,000 scholarship. Grace received attention for establishing a Girl Scout cookie giveaway program for charities who help kids and families.
Honorees received a heart sculpture created by master glassblower John Barber of Laguna Beach.
Last year’s honorees Elizabeth and Tom Tierney served as honorary chairs while hosting duties fell to PBS So Cal’s Maria Hall-Brown and KTLA Channel 5’s Henry DiCarlo.
Newport Beach resident Doug Freeman, whose resourcefulness in 1986 established the special day of philanthropy in cities across the country, is an event mainstay and continues to be an inspiration.
The judging committee, led by Newport Beach resident Janet Ray and John Christensen, reviewed more than 100 nominations for the honors.
The Nov. 16 event’s net proceeds of $30,000 will advance the organization’s work training and educating fundraising professionals, Bell said.