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The Crowd: Major support for foster youth

June 18, 2010|B.W. Cook

In the course of a year I cover and share news on the work of hundreds of nonprofits in the community. I offer no criticism of any, even those that are blatantly social and somewhat superficial in terms of the connection between those that have the ability to donate and those that need help. Every dollar matters regardless of whether it is given to make a social statement or given out of pure altruistic generosity.

That being said, nonprofits that share a hands-on relationship with their goals are clearly the most rewarding for all involved, including the press that covers them. One of these organizations is known as 44 Women for Children. An auxiliary of the Orangewood Children's Foundation, it was founded in 1999 by community activist Susan Samueli, the wife of Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli.

Susan is a roll-up-your-selves, hands-on woman who is not into superficial appearances of any kind. The Corona del Mar resident is a wife, mother, businesswoman and community leader. She started this auxiliary because she saw a real need to help foster youth in Orange County who become emancipated from the foster care system at age 18 and have no familial support to continue their education and attend college.

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The Samuelis believe in education. Their foundation has made enormous gifts to educational institutions at every level, including significant support for UC Irvine and UCLA, both of which have buildings named in their honor and programs funded by their high level of financial support.

In the decade since the 44 Women for Children was founded, Susan Samueli has played an active role, but now encourages fellow supporters to take the helm. The women gathered recently at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach for their annual fundraising luncheon. It attracted more than 220 guests at the event and was chaired this year by "44 member" Eve Kornyei.

In addition to major sponsorship from the Samueli Foundation, Eve's late partner, Stan Hanson, who died about a year ago, lent the support of his company AcrA Aerospace to the cause. Another of the major underwriters were Doug and Sandi Jackson. By the end of the afternoon the women raised more than $100,000, which will be used to fund college scholarships for former foster youth facing the world on their own.

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