Though he retired from his position as CEO of the now-closed sauce and seasoning developer Case Swayne Co. in 2000, Laguna Beach resident Keith Swayne still works wiht various businesses and nonprofits. This dedication garnered him nominations for National Philathropy Day from six different OC-based nonprofits, including the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach and Orange County Community Foundation. Subsequently, Swayne was named this year’s Outstanding Philanthropist and will be honored at the annual awards luncheon, to be held Nov. 14 at the City National Grove of Anaheim.
Philanthropy Award Honorees Include Newport Beach Locals
Honorees have been announced for the 34th Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon to be held on Nov 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at City National Grove of Anaheim.
Produced by the Orange County Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, National Philanthropy Day has become the most prominent philanthropic recognition event in Orange County, officials wrote in a press release. More than 1,000 philanthropic individuals and businesses have been honored since its inception in 1986.
This year, of the nine different categories, Newport Beach individuals and businesses are being honored in five categories.
Stemming the Tide of Alzheimer’s
Philanthropist on a mission to help others turns $150,000 into $20 million effort to fight disease at UCI MIND
Keith Swayne has a magic touch when it comes to fundraising.
“I guess I could go to anyone and get them to write some kind of check just so I would go away,” he says, laughing. “However, that’s not what I want to accomplish. I want to connect people to causes and needs that they can relate to and then help them find a way to help out.”
Swayne is so adroit at soliciting donations, in fact, that a campus project he undertook has left people shaking their heads in amazement: His efforts led to a $20 million windfall for investigators at the UCI Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders.
“Keith’s passionate commitment to supporting our research has been tireless and nothing short of transformative,” says Joshua Grill, director of UCI MIND.
It all started with a $150,000 gift the Laguna Beach philanthropist made to the research facility in honor of his late wife, Judy, whom he lost to Alzheimer’s disease in 2014. He also issued a challenge to the community at the time that boosted the donation to $300,000.
The UCI MIND team then leveraged that seed money to secure a total of $20 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.
“Our research is blazing new trails into understanding the genetic, molecular and cellular underpinnings of disease and is poised to lead to identification of new treatment targets and candidates,” Grill says. “Keith’s initial challenge-gift enabled an exponential impact in terms of research support.”
Hospice Foundation’s Michelle Wulfestieg honored on National Philanthropy Day
Where to begin the story of Michelle Wulfestieg? With her stroke at age 11? The one that paralyzed her right arm and leg. Or with her stroke at age 25? The one that took her whole body to the brink of death. Or perhaps the story should begin the moment she says the voice of God told her: Go back!
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she says, tearing up at the thought of that day 10 years ago.
But go back she did. And when she woke up in the hospital — as her family planned her funeral and her friend wrote her eulogy — she vowed to dedicate the rest of her life to bringing comfort to the dying.
Charles and Ling Zhang honored as Orange County’s Outstanding Philanthropists — but the real surprise is their musical performance
Honorees already were known, so surprises weren’t expected at Orange County’s 33rd annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Grove.
Then Charles and Ling Zhang, who were selected as the county’s Outstanding Philanthropists, started singing. The crowd of more than 900 took a moment to realize what was happening, then stood and joined the former Pick Up Stix owners and longtime arts supporters in a rendition of “God Bless America.”
Local philanthropic groups and individuals will be recognized at a special luncheon Nov. 15 in honor of National Philanthropy Day, celebrating their generosity with an array of different awards. Four honorees hail from Newport Beach, including the recipient of the prestigious Legacy Award; the Ueberroth Family Foundation. Based in Corona Del Mar, the foundation is known for donating to organizations that give back to the community, including Crystal Cove Conservancy, Sage Hill School, Hoag Hospital Foundation and Girls Inc.