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The Crowd: Giving WINGS to graduate women

September 19, 2013|By B.W. Cook
  • KidWorks CEO Ava Steaffens.
KidWorks CEO Ava Steaffens. (John Blom )

They soared on the wings of eagles. A group of Newport-Mesa women, led by Stephanie Bernardy and Michele Mullen, came together Sept. 13 at Newport Beach's Haute Cakes Caffe to launch a new women's auxiliary dedicated to fundraising and "friendraising" on behalf of Santa Ana's KidWorks educational enrichment programs. They are calling their group WINGS, an acronym for Women Investing In Graduate Success.

The Friday evening event attracted 100 guests raising more than $10,000 to launch the WINGS auxiliary. Funds are earmarked to support scholarships for at-risk youth attending Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana.

Special guest of the night was Gaddi Vasquez, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the first Hispanic American to lead the Peace Corps. To learn more about KidWorks, visit kidworksonline.org or contact Mullen at (949) 244-3042 to find out more about WINGS.

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American Celebration set for Nov. 2

Gala chairs of Chapman University's 32nd American Celebration, Twyla and Chuck Martin, invited distinguished patrons to a luncheon this past week at South Coast Plaza's chic Marche Moderne. The Martins introduced notable donors seated on the Marche patio, including Suki McCardle, Zee Allred, Marta Bhathal, Pamela Paul, Eve Kornyei Ruffatto, Bette Aitken, Joan Riach-Gayner, Kristina Dodge, Marilyn Severson, Harriet Sandhu and Sally Crockett among the generous.

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The ambitious gala committee has a goal of raising $2 million at the Nov. 2 event that will support student scholarships at Chapman. Respected Dean Bill Hall, who has led the Chapman music program for 50 years and will assume duty as the new dean of the Musco Center for the Arts on campus, addressed the ladies, sharing anecdotes of Chapman students who have gone on to create professional careers in the entertainment industry.

The 2013 celebration is set to welcome and honor actors and brothers Jeff and Beau Bridges as well as pay tribute to their late father, actor Lloyd Bridges. Chapman's Citizen of the Year 2013 will be awarded to Suki and Randall McCardle of Newport Coast.

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Preventing birth defects

The March of Dimes, a leading nationwide nonprofit dedicated to ensuring the health of pregnant women and their babies, will sponsor their 2013 celebrity chef dinner Thursday in Costa Mesa. The culinary star of the evening will be Chef Seakyeong Kim of Charlie Palmer's Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza restaurant, leading a roster of talent from many of the O.C.'s most popular eateries.

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