April 2022

Leaders in the Field
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Collaboration at its finest! Beyond Blindness and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department joined together this month to create a memorable experience for all.

The annual Beeper Egg Hunt was held on the grassy area of the Newport Dunes & Waterfront Resort. It featured brightly colored plastic eggs that were equipped with special beepers, rigged by the bomb squad team, and were laid out among smaller, candy-filled plastic eggs. The guided activity transitioned the visually impaired and blind children toward independent skills by learning navigation through auditory clues.

For the complete Daily Pilot article, click here.

Christian Cantoran, Site Supervisor, and Tania Morales, Early Interventionist Manager, are currently participating in our 2022 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Groups.


The Youth Center in Los Alamitos has a lot to celebrate! They recently won the 2022 Best Nonprofit Award by Orange County Neighborhood Newspapers. Additionally, Lina Lumme, CEO, was named 2022 Woman of Distinction by Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen in California's 72nd District, and was the recipient of the 2022 Honorary Service Award by Los Alamitos Council PTA for her dedication to youth service in the community. And if that's not enough, after leasing their current building for 50 years, The Youth Center purchased a new property that is being redesigned and built as a new permanent Center for Kids in Los Alamitos! 

Lina was a participant in the 2018 Executive Learning Group.

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After eight months and four phases of restoring and renovation, Casa Teresa homeless shelter for at-risk expecting mothers held their grand reopening! With the help of Magical Builders, and Leslie Lopez of ABC Eyewitness News serving as a room designer, 44 women and their babies will now enjoy a beautifully re-designed building.

To view the full coverage, click here.

Lisa Wood, Chief Executive Officer, participated in the 2018 Executive Learning Group and was trained as a Coach in our Executive Coaching Program in 2021.

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Congratulations to Kathleen Mellon who has been named Chief Administrative Officer at Jewish Federation of Orange County. JFOC brings together diverse members of their community for shared experiences that are grounded in Jewish culture, values and traditions that foster a deeper connection to each other and with the local and global Jewish community. 

Kathleen was a participant in the 2018 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.


Congratulations to Gladys Hernandez, the new Director of Public Relations at Mixte Communications. Mixte is a Digital Marketing and Public Relations agency that is community driven. They use PR and digital marketing to amplify changemakers on the ground.

Gladys was a participant of the 2018 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group when she was with Habitat for Human of Orange County.


Due to the hard work of Rashad Al-Dabbagh, Founder and Executive Director of Arab American Civic Council, the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Fullerton, Irvine, and the Orange County Board of Supervisors issued proclamations recognizing and celebrating April 2022 as Arab American Heritage Month

Rashad was coached in the 2021 Executive Coaching Program and is a current member of the Executive Learning Group.


We are thrilled to share yet another great example of collaboration! The Laguna Art Museum and the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach are bringing art to life. Artist Elizabeth Turk and Erik Thienes, head of photography and video at ET Projects, have found a new frontier to not only create art, but to involve the public in doing so. Their project "Look Up" brings people together to participate in the making of art. Mar Stash, art expression director for the Boys & Girls Club, remarked, "The kids showed a lot of joy and said they continued to talk about the flash art experience a week after the event."

The finished product was on display at the Laguna Art Museum on Saturday, April 16th, and will remain on view at the museum until June 19th.

For the complete Daily Pilot article, click here.

Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director of the Laguna Art Museum is a current member of our 2022 Executive Learning GroupPam Estes, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club was coached in the 2006 Executive Coaching Program participated in the 2009 Executive Learning Group and Abby Ryan, Development Director is a current participant in the Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.


Grandma's House of Hope made a huge impact this year at Easter! Their community of donors and volunteers created over 600 Easter baskets, treat bags and cards for their HopeWorks! kids and Rescued and Restored Housing residents. A special thanks to Youth in Action-Irvine, Cal State Fullerton Alpha Phi Sigma, Junior League OC, National Charity League Yorba Linda, Grace Christian Academy, Renaissance School International, Mariners Huntington Beach, Girl Scout Troop 9260, and many more who contributed in this effort.

Je'net Kreitner, Founder and CEO, participated in the 2014 Executive Learning Group, was a Clare Rose Sabbatical recipient in 2014, and chose to "re-enlist" in this year's Executive Learning Group.


After a 70-year history of serving the Orange County disability community as United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County, the organization has officially rebranded with a new look and more inclusive name: Unlimited Possibilities (UP)! The organization held a rebrand launch event and ribbon-cutting ceremony with local and national leaders at their brand-new Pediatric Therapy Center located in Santa Ana. The event not only was a celebration of the organization’s new name and next chapter, but a demonstration of their heartfelt commitment to one day becoming the cornerstone of the disability community. UP’s mission is to create a limitless future for children and families with disabilities.

Melinda Wilkes serves as UP’s Vice President of Community Based Services. and 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.

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Think Together is in the news! Rob McMillan from ABC7 Eyewitness News shared the impact of their afterschool and expanded learning programs at Bemis Elementary in Rialto, during a normal day when school is over and some students are still on the playground. Think Together started nearly 30 years ago and now operates in more than 600 schools across California. They partner with schools to provide an extension of the school day, exposing students to extracurricular activities to expand their horizons, provide homework support and engage in physical activity while staying on school grounds.

To watch the ABC news coverage, click here.

Nadia Flores, former Executive Director, participated in the 2012 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and was coached in the 2013 Executive Coaching Program.


Arts & Learning Conservatory, a national award-winning arts education nonprofit was honored to receive the California Venues Grant in the amount of $115,000. Funded by the state of California, the California Venues Grant Program was designed to provide life-saving support to live event locations affected by COVID. Through partnerships with Californians for the Arts, California Association of Non-Profits, and the National Independent Venue Association, the program has allowed many venues to keep their doors open long enough for live events to resume.

In addition, their CEO & President, Debora Wondercheck, was named "Woman of the Year" by the 74th Assembly District and Supervisor Cottie Petrie-Norris in partnership with Girls, Inc. of Orange County. The title, granted every March with an award ceremony in April, highlights the exceptional service and leadership of women in the community. 

Debora was coached in the 2021 Executive Coaching Program.


Mark Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Women's Transitional Living Center - WTLC, was featured on FoxLA to introduce a safe space for victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. Hope is coming soon with the groundbreaking of Hope House, a new $910,000 California craftsman-style four-bedroom, two-bathroom, multi-family residence to be built in a Fullerton neighborhood. When completed, Hope House will accommodate, at no cost, 16 to 20 survivors for up to 24 months.

To watch the full coverage, click here.

Mark participated in the 2020 Executive Learning Group, and was coached in the 2021 Executive Coaching Program. Nefta Pereda, Chief Program Officer, is in the current Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

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As CEO of the Boy Scouts of America, Great Salt Lake Council, Paul Moore was a member of the 2006 Utah Executive Learning Group and trained as a coach in our 2006 Executive Coaching Program. Paul is still in contact with friends from his Learning Group and his coachees. Additionally, Paul went on to serve as CEO for Boy Scouts of America in Los Angeles and retired in 2012 after 41 years with BSA. Retirement took him to Oklahoma City where he has held volunteer roles as coach and consultant, then CEO, and currently board chair with ESCCO, the Executive Service Corps of Central Oklahoma

Paul shared, "The training I received from Fieldstone ignited a passion for coaching. ESCCO has become a premier coaching provider to nonprofit CEOs in Oklahoma, thanks to Fieldstone."

We appreciate your testimonial, Paul, and thank you for keeping in touch!

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People suffering from mental illness are often seen walking the streets here in Southern California. Now, local communities have launched a program that takes mental heath care to those who need it. The Be Well OC Mobile Response Team recently began working with the City of Newport Beach to take mental health help directly to those who need it. Under the Be Well OC program, mobile teams of crisis counselors work 12 hour days, seven days a week responding to mental health calls to the police department or 911. The most visible contacts will involve the city's homeless population, but the ability to provide mobile mental health care can benefit anyone in the city.

This program was featured on ABC Eyewitness News, to view the full coverage, click here.

Lauren Brand, Executive Director of Operations of Be Well OC participated in the 2016 Executive Learning Group, is a trained Creative Encounters by Fieldstone facilitator; is a Coach in our Executive Coaching Program, and participated in the 2019 and 2020 Leadership Reading GroupsAnita Lewicke, Campus Operations Manager, is a participant in the 2022 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

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To address increased anxiety and stress among new and expectant mothers and fathers in vulnerable communities, MOMS Orange County, the county’s largest nonprofit dedicated solely to newborn and pregnancy health, has received a three-year, $350,000 grant from UniHealth Foundation. Funding will provide bilingual group health programming for new moms, new dads, expand home visitation for new moms experiencing anxiety and depression, and provide specialized one-on-one education and support for victims/survivors of domestic violence. It also provides direct access to licensed mental health care for expecting or new parents who otherwise would have barriers to accessing such services.


MOMS Orange County formed 30 years ago in response to a crisis in access to prenatal healthcare for low-income, at-risk women. Today, MOMS Orange County serves more than 2,500 low-income families annually, directly influencing improvements in birth outcomes, maternal health, and developmental indicators among infants within a highly disadvantaged population.

Dave Lugo, Chief Executive Officer, currently participates in the 2022 Executive Learning Group.

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“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.”

~Albert Schweitzer

Volunteers are the backbone of a nonprofit organization, and we couldn't exist without ours! Our Executive Coaches go above and beyond to mentor our nonprofit leaders year in and year out. Thank you to our 2022 Coaches: Becky Ahlberg, former Executive Director of My Safe Harbor; David Benavides, KidWorks; Ria Berger, Healthy Smiles for Kids of OCLauren Brand, Be Well Orange County; Shana Buxser, Buxser Consulting LLC – Independent Philanthropy Advisors; Lisa Castetter, Teen Leadership Foundation; Holly Hagler, Meals on Wheels Orange County; Ronnetta Johnson, Waymakers; Rusty Kennedy, former CEO of Orange County Human Relations; Dawn Price, Friendship Shelter; Lucy Santana, Girls Inc. of Orange County; Shawna Smith, Hope Builders; Margie Wakeham, former CEO of Families Forward; and Lisa Wood, Casa Teresa.

Leaders in the Field is a monthly communication highlighting Fieldstone Leadership Network member organizations and their

achievements in the community.

We want to celebrate YOU!

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