A million dollars donated to your favorite charity can get the family name chiseled into the granite facade of one of Orange County's cultural bastions.
But philanthropy isn't all about big bucks, according to those in the know at a Friday morning breakfast for more than 300 Orange County givers who gathered to celebrate National Philanthropy Day.
"Whether you give a million dollars or $1 or no dollars, everyone can be a philanthropist, if you give of your time and energy and talent," Steve Christensen, president of the Orange County chapter of the National Society of Fundraising Executives told the crowd.
Every weekend Orange County givers can be seen at one do-good gathering or another, but Friday's breakfast brought together the real movers and shakers from across the board for one collective pat on the back.
A resolution that had been signed by Orange County's five supervisors ("One of the few things we've managed to agree on," quipped 5th District Supervisor Thomas F. Riley, who presented the resolution) recognized volunteerism in Orange County, an invisible industry that donates nearly $80 billion in funds, goods and services to Orange County causes.
Riley then stepped aside to share the podium with Carl Karcher (he founded Orange County's 2% Club, which urges all businesses to give 2% of their profits to philanthropy) and the two announced the parade of 20 noteworthy Orange County philanthropists who have given generously of both their time and money.
Those recognized for their volunteer efforts were Dr. John Mullen, for giving many hours and much inspiration to the staff of the Laguna Beach Community Clinic; Edith Morgan, a longtime supporter of Cal State Fullerton; Elaine Redfield, who was instrumental in realizing the dream of the newly opened Orange County Performing Arts Center; Bernice Hird, recognized for her tireless efforts in social service, and Rabbi Henry Front, for his dedicated efforts toward interfaith understanding and world peace.
Those honored in the donor category were Dr. Arnold Beckman, whose most recent gifts to the community came in the form of a $2.5-million challenge grant for the construction of a facility dedicated to laser research technology and another $20 million to underwrite the relocation of the National Academy of Sciences on a site next to the UC Irvine campus; Warren D. Hancock, for his commitment to the Chapman College development fund; the Segerstrom family, for generosity in enriching cultural life in Orange County; Pat Krone of Pacific Bell, who has taken dynamic steps in assessing Orange County's can-do community of givers, and Hans Prager, proprietor of Newport Beach's the Ritz restaurant and underwriter of many charitable events, including providing the bubbly for the Performing Arts Center's opening night.
Those recognized as founders of philanthropies in Orange County included Leo Shapiro, founding president of the Continuing Learning Experience at Cal State Long Beach; Linda Lau, founder of the Ethnic Councils of Orange County; Norma Brandel Gibbs, founder of Interval House for victims of domestic violence; the Rev. Robert Schuller, spiritual leader of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, and Sister Frances Dunn, for her health-care efforts through St. Joseph Hospital.
Acknowledged for their professional contributions were Chapman College President G.T. (Buck) Smith, for his revitalization of the college's endowment; Bill Otton, director of the Laguna Beach Art Museum, who oversaw the expansion of Orange County's oldest cultural institution; Msgr. John Sammon, chaplain to the Orange County Fire Department, and Don Hicks, who has greatly advanced giving to St. Joseph Hospital.