The mission of OCCares (Our Community Cares) is to grow compassionate, philanthropic social entrepreneurs through Project Y, a high school club-based, student-driven youth social entrepreneurship program with curriculum supplemented by UC Irvine and Pepperdine University. The nonprofit was founded in 2013 by Katherine Ahn Wallace, a full-time dentist who serves as board chair. Wallace says OCCares partners with individuals and organizations who work with them in bringing solutions to issues such as poverty and social injustice. The goal is to multiply the nonprofit’s impact by growing compassionate leaders who address global concerns by moving from concern to effective action by supporting and enhancing the work of existing nonprofit organizations that are on the forefront of effective change in their communities. OCCares continually hosts fundraisers for needy nonprofits and, at the same time, provides volunteer opportunities for the students to fulfill service-learning requirements at their schools. Wallace says the volunteer organization has reached a point where grants and funds are specifically needed to hire an Administrator/Program Director to scale the program nationally.

“OCCares was founded on the principle that it is a privilege to cultivate 1 giving tree, but even a greater blessing to cultivate an orchard of giving trees that will give off fruit for generations to come.” – Katherine Ahn Wallace, DDS, OCCares Founder and Board Chair