December 2021
Leaders in the Field
Like so much of Southern California, homelessness in Orange County has grown to crisis proportions. The organization "United To End Homelessness" has been on the front lines, trying to help the most vulnerable communities in a humane and dignified manner. Executive Director Becks Heyhoe was featured on Fox 11 Los Angeles to talk about their efforts.

United to End Homelessness is committed to reducing homelessness in Orange County to functional zero, where episodes are rare, brief, and non-recurring. We acknowledge the excellent work of the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness and Continuum of Care Board!
To view the coverage, click here.

Becks participated in the 2021 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and will be coached in the 2022 Executive Coaching cohort.
After 39 years supporting people with developmental disabilities, Debra Marsteller retired from Project IndependenceA noted authority on adults with developmental disabilities, Debra was an advocate, trainer, mentor and enthusiastic supporter this vulnerable population. After 26 years as Executive Director of Vantage Foundation, she started a second job at Project Independence as Executive Director for the purpose of merging the two Costa Mesa-based nonprofits. In 2007, the two nonprofit organizations joined forces. While the merged history is still being written, each organization had a rich, 30-year history prior to the merger. Project Independence was established in 1977 by dedicated families of adults with developmental disabilities who envisioned more for their loved ones than lives of segregation, prejudice, and institutionalization. Their goal was to allow adults with developmental disabilities to exercise freedom and personal choice in their own lives.

Debra participated in the 2008 Executive Learning Group and the 2019 and 2020 Leadership Reading Groups.
Congratulations to Paula Garcia- Arsenault, who accepted a new position at Chase Bank as the Vice President, Community Manager. In this role, she builds relationships and ensures financial education and bank resources are available to all within the community. Paula left Habitat for Humanity of Orange County where she was the Vice President of Community and Homebuyer Services.

Paula participated in the 2019 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.
Extraordinary Lives Foundation (ELF), an organization dedicated to improving children’s mental health and wellness, generated over $60K in net proceeds at its fourth Comedy Night fundraising gala featuring comedian and former KNBC weatherman Fritz Coleman.

An estimated one in five children have a diagnosable mental health condition and with numbers on the rise, it is said that mental health is the ‘next pandemic’ with children facing long-term after effects.
Mara James, Founder & CEO, will be coached in the 2022 Executive Coaching Program.
The Orange County Register reported that some pediatric dentists have observed kids’ teeth were hurt by the pandemic. Dentists are seeing the consequences of disrupted dental routines and stressful family circumstances that prompted anxious, tooth-unfriendly eating when schools were closed and students were quarantined at home. Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County continues to serve poor and uninsured children. See complete article here.

In addition, Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County was recognized as one of the 155 organizations in Orange County as Top Workplaces for 2021 by The Orange County Register.

Ria Berger, Chief Executive Officer, participated in the 2015 Executive Learning Group, and Dr. Priyal Ohri, Dental Director participated in the 2021 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.
Habitat for Humanity of Orange County continues to make progress on six new townhomes in Stanton. Work on the Cerritos Avenue homes, which when completed will be an affordable option for qualifying families, got a boost this week from the sweat of Wells Fargo employees, as well as two grants totaling $30,000 from Wells Fargo Builds initiative. Pictured is Wells Fargo District Manager, Sandi Mendoza nailing siding to the townhome.

Habitat for Humanity of Orange County is well-represented in the Network -14 leaders have participated in our programs over the years!
Veterans Legal Institute's annual Lawyers for Warriors event raised enough to hire two full-time attorneys and a full-time paralegal this year. This means more pro-bono legal care and peace for veterans who have given selflessly through the years! This hybrid event was held in November bringing together more than 300 supporters who believe in the power of free legal aid.

Pictured is Executive Director and Co-Founder, Antoinette Balta with VLI Board Member and Lawyers for Warriors Veteran of the Year, Andrea Bird-Steiner.

Antoinette participated in the 2015 Executive Learning Group, and KellyAnn Romanych was coached in the 2019 Executive Coaching Program and participated in the 2020 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced Gregory Bradbard has been appointed to the California Volunteers Commission. Greg has been President at the Hope through Housing Foundation and Senior Vice President at National Community Renaissance since 2017. He was President and Chief Executive Officer at Inland Empire United Way from 2010 to 2017. Gregory was Executive Director for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County in 2007, where he was Director of Development from 2001 to 2007. Greg is a member of the Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce, San Bernardino Countywide Vision Leadership Team and Southern California Leadership Council.

Greg participated in the 2000 Executive Learning Group and was coached in the 2010 Executive Coaching Program.
Melinda Wilkes joined UCP of Orange County as the new Vice President of Community-Based Services. The mission of UCP-OC is to create a limitless future for children and families with disabilities. Melinda will focus on growing the team of Respite and Inclusive Childcare workers - giving parents and caregivers much needed support, creating new programs to serve the community, establishing family support systems, and developing volunteer initiatives throughout the organization.

Melinda was part of the 2013 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group in San Diego and connected with Fieldstone Orange County when she moved to OC in 2017. During COVID, she provided two virtual training sessions on engaging volunteers for nonprofit leaders. Melinda also teaches at University of San Diego’s Nonprofit Management Certificate program.
Orange County's top philanthropists were recently honored at the 36th Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Program and Celebration, including WISEPlace Board Member Eileen Padberg, who received the 2021 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser award. Presented by the Orange County Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the award honors individuals and groups who have enhanced philanthropy, their communities, and the world.

Executive Director, Brateil Aghasi's presentation can be viewed here.

Brateil participated in the 2013 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and is a trained Creative Encounters by Fieldstone facilitator.
The Wooden Floor, one of the nation’s foremost creative youth development nonprofits for children from low-income communities, is a recipient of the prestigious 2021 Stand for the Arts Award. The Wooden Floor is the only recipient organization in California this year, and one of just 15 selected for the award across the country.

Dawn Reese, Chief Executive Officer, participated in the 2007 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in the 2012 Executive Coaching Program and was trained as a Coach in 2013. Several of her staff have participated in our Network through the years.
Girls Inc. of Orange County helps make college accessible for local girls. Their "College Bound program" is designed to reach local girls at all points on their road to higher education. “College Bound provides college readiness education opportunities and resources for our girls,” said Jessica Hubbard, Girls Inc.'s Chief Program Officer.

Click here to read the article in the Daily Pilot.

Lucy Santana, Chief Executive Officer, participated in the 2002 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in the 2004 Executive Coaching Program, and is one of our esteemed Executive Coaches. Jessica was coached in 2018 and participated in the 2019 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group .
Bring greater pay equity to the nonprofit sector by
participating in the 2022 Compensation & Benefits Survey!
At the heart of nonprofit work are the people – the staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to improve their communities. Making sure they are compensated fairly and competitively is crucial to the strength of the sector, the 4th largest employer in the state.
Each year, this survey results in a highly valuable tool for nonprofits, and the more nonprofits that participate, the more useful the final report can be – for all of us!
The deadline to participate is Feb. 18, 2022.
Participating nonprofits receive a significant discount on the final report, produced by Nonprofit Compensation Associates, which is due out April 30, 2022.
What's new; what you'll learn
New updates this year include:
  • New jobs in Education, Operations and Social Services/Behavioral Health areas
  • New group of questions about DEI practices, including DEI Director job
  • Revised Economic Environment/COVID-19 Pandemic section

Overall, the report covers:
  • Current, local compensation data on more than 200 jobs found in nonprofit organizations
  • Base pay levels and bonus/incentive pay for each job with details by annual operating budget, location within the survey region, number of employees and primary field of service
  • Employee benefits in detail: paid time off, insurance, retirement

The survey will also help your organization find out how the local nonprofit community is responding to current economic conditions. The survey can help nonprofit managers answer such pertinent questions as:
  • For which jobs are nonprofits having difficulty hiring and retaining employees?
  • Are nonprofit employees working remotely, in person, or a combination of both?
  • Are organizations planning to increase or decrease their workforces in 2022?

Please note: CalNonprofits does not produce the survey or the report, though they encourage all nonprofits of all types and sizes to participate. If you have questions please send an email to Rita Haronian at or call (510) 645-1005.
Leaders in the Field is a monthly communication highlighting Fieldstone Leadership Network members and their
achievements in the community.

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