Aaron Kushner, new publisher and owner of The Orange County Register, joined honorees at National Philanthropy Day on Thursday by offering up a charitable gift of his own, pledging $12.4 million worth of free advertising to local nonprofits to be chosen by the paper’s readers.

“We want to help the nonprofit community, which is the heart of Orange County,” Kushner told a crowd of about 800 at the Hyatt Regency in Garden Grove.