October 2022

Leaders in the Field

MOMS Orange County celebrated its 30th year of service in conjunction with the "Igniting Potential" 24-hour giving campaign, raising $28,520 for its maternal health programs for low-income families. One of 18 nonprofit organizations selected by the Orange County Community Foundation to benefit from the virtual fundraiser, the overall goal was to raise $300K towards Orange County youth causes.

Dave Lugo, Chief Executive Officer, participated in the 2022 Executive Learning Group

Goodwill of Orange County celebrated the grand reopening of their newly remodeled store in Santa Ana. Last year the store generated more than $4.4 million and continues to deliver on their mission to provide jobs and career development.

Nicole Suydam, President & CEO, participated in the 2010 Executive Learning Group and was coached in the 2012 Executive Coaching Program.

Congratulations to our Network members who were named Orange County Visionaries in the LA Times. The inaugural issue featured individuals who have displayed exemplary leadership and achieved noteworthy accomplishments in the areas of banking and finance, commercial real estate, education and nonprofits, or professional services. 

Network Members include Antoinette Balta, Veterans Legal Institute, LaVal Brewer, South County Outreach, Kristin Byrnes, Project Access, Logan Crow, The Frida Cinema, Pamela Estes, Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, Holly Hagler, Meals on Wheels Orange County, Madelynn Hirneise, Families Forward, Meymuna Hussein-Cattan, Tiyya Foundation, Mara James, Extraordinary Lives Foundation, Jodi Levine, Earthroots Field School, Rochelle Mills, Innovative Housing Opportunities, Dawn Reese, The Wooden Floor, Maricela Rios-Faust, Human Options, Angie Rowe, Beyond Blindness, Lucy Santana, Girls Inc. of Orange County, and Shawna Smith, Hope Builders.

To read about these visionaries, go to pages 37-46 here.

Beyond Blindness celebrated the grand re-opening and remodel with the community of families, board members, staff from the offices of Katie Porter, Supervisor Foley, Supervisor Wagner, advisory board members, supporters, friends, and committed staff.

Angie Rowe, President & CEO, stated, "Our families are amazing and our mission to help them achieve their fullest potential is my life’s greatest work. What a way to kick off the last quarter of our 60th year of service. Thank you again to all who came to celebrate!"

Angie participated in the 2021 Executive Learning Group and Christian Cantoran, Site Supervisor, and Tania Morales, Early Childhood Classroom Manager, were members of the 2022 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Groups.

Friendly Center, a nonprofit serving the Orange County community since 1924, officially opened its doors to a new Community Resource Center in Buena Park. The morning opened with a brief ceremony and acknowledgement from President & CEO, Cathy Seelig, thanking the City of Buena Park for partnering with Friendly Center to make this new service location possible.


The Buena Park location currently marks Friendly Center’s second Community Resource Center. Services such as emergency food, mental health services, and education support are now readily available to members of the Buena Park community as well as surrounding Orange County cities.


Cathy participated in the 2018 Executive Learning Group and Arian Ghiacy, Director of Development, participated in the 2021 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and is currently being coached in the 2022 Executive Coaching Program, and Jessica Ruelas, Program Director, was in the 2022 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group. 

The Hope through Housing Foundation was featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show, highlighting the powerful story of two residents whose lives were turned around while living in a National CORE affordable housing community. 

Hope through Housing is dedicated to breaking the cycle of generational poverty by implementing programs that empower individuals and change communities. 

To view the episode, click here

Greg Bradbard, President, participated in the 2000 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and was coached in the 2010 Executive Coaching Program.

Innovative Housing Opportunities has been busy! In September they celebrated the groundbreaking of a site in South Los Angeles, Serenity Senior Apartments. In October, they hosted a groundbreaking on a new family community in Carlsbad. Last, but not least, Rochelle Mills, President & CEO, was a guest speaker at the Bisnow Orange County Multifamily Summit, offering a deep dive into development and investment activity in Orange County.

Rochelle participated in 2019 Executive Learning Group and was coached in the 2020 Executive Coaching Program and Miguel Garcia, Director of Real Estate Development, participated in the 2021 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

HomeAid Orange County is breaking ground with C&C Development Co., LLC, the City of Orange, and Orange Housing, on the Valencia Garden Apartments: 62 Units of affordable housing.  Of those 62 units, there will be a 20-unit preference to serve families that had previously been housed at the HomeAid Family Care Center and are in search of permanent housing.

Gina Cunningham, Executive Director, participated 2002 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in 2014 Executive Coaching Program, participated in the 2019 and 2020 Leadership Reading Groups, and the 2021 Executive Learning Group.

Sarah Halverson-Cano, Senior Pastor at Irvine United Congregational Church, was selected to receive the Wilkinson College Alumni of the Year award from her alma mater, Chapman University! She also led Fairview Community Church, a congregation of both the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ, for 14 years. With a strong ministry of social justice, Pastor Sarah works in the community with issues facing low-wage workers, the LGBTQ+ community, and immigration.

Sarah participated in the 2020 Executive Learning Group.

Congratulations to Affordable Housing Clearinghouse for receiving the Service Leader of the Year Award at the National HomeFree-USA Reaching Millions event. AHC offers financial education, home ownership opportunities and resources, and provides a forum for communication, partnerships, and innovative solutions addressing community needs.

Brenda Rodriguez, Executive Director, participated in the 2015 and 2022 Executive Learning Groups, was coached in the 2017 Executive Coaching Program and is a Creative Encounters by Fieldstone facilitator.

Rashad Al-Dabbagh, Founder and Executive Director of the Arab American Civic Council, received the Community Champion Award at The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Community Alex Odeh Memorial Gala for his role in leading the campaign to formally designate Little Arabia.

Rashad was coached in 2021 and was a member of the Executive Learning Group in 2022.

This month, several members of Rashad's 2022 cohort met in Little Arabia for a mini-reunion to celebrate his organization's success!

Pictured (left to right): Brent Finlay, Anaheim Family YMCA, Julie Perlin Lee, Laguna Art Museum, Brenda Rodriguez, Affordable Housing Clearinghouse, Rashad Al-Dabbagh, and Grace Tsai, Dragon Kim Foundation.

Girls Inc. of Orange County celebrates girls and women every day, but they held their annual "Day of the Girl" community celebration, where over 200 community members, girls, city officials, family members, and staff came together to TURN UP FOR TRANSFORMATION.  They learned how to to use social media for social good and highlighted the ingenuity, creativity, and talent of three of their "girl bosses" who have started their own businesses.

Pictured here, Jessica Hubbard, Chief Program Officer, participated in the 2018 Executive Coaching Program and in the 2019 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

Brenda RodriguezAffordable Housing Clearing-houseRashad Al-Dabbagh, Grace TsaiDragon Kim Foundation, and Shakoya Green,  Thomas House Family Shelter had a mini Executive Learning Group reunion at the Orange County Grantmakers Annual Summit “Breaking Barriers.” The all-day event covered such topics as health equity, racial equity, immigration, belonging, language justice, land use justice with keynote speakers: Orange County's first poet laureate, Natalie Graham; tech and human rights expert Aarathi Krishnan; and Daily Beast columnist, public speaker, and recovering attorney Wajahat Ali.

For a recap of the summit, click here.

WISEPlace, joining forces with Jamboree Housing Corporation, has just announced a $30M new affordable housing renovation and modern expansion creating 47 units that will end the homelessness of vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities in our community. With the help of OC Supervisor Katrina Foley, OC Housing Finance Trust, and the City of Santa Ana, they have made history!

For more information on the project, click here. To view coverage on NBC, click here.

Brateil Aghasi, CEO, participated in the 2013 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

We are so fortunate to have Tammie McMann Brailsford, Principal and Executive Coach with TheBrailsfordGroup/LeadWell, 

as a FLN Board Member! She recently submitted an article for Volume 19, No. 5 of The Governance Institute's 'E-Briefing.' The Governance Institute supports the efforts of healthcare boards across the nation to lead stronger organizations and build healthier communities. They provide trusted, independent information, resources, tools, and solutions to board members, executives, and physician leaders.

To read the article, click here.

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

achievements in the community.

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