Orange County Opens Its Hearts and Wallets to Those in Need - in a Big Way

Orange County United Way Closes Annual Fundraising Campaign with Unprecedented 43 Percent Increase Over Prior Year

Irvine, CA, July 27, 2010 --( Responding to Orange County United Way’s plea to help serve growing numbers of residents who lack food and shelter and other basic life necessities, individuals, organizations and workplaces opened their hearts and wallets in a big way in 2009-2010, infusing the organization with donations totaling $25 million. The pledges topped the previous year’s giving by $7.5 million – an unprecedented 43 percent increase that came even as Orange County struggled to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Orange County United Way officials said the donations represented across-the-board giving, and included a large commitment made to United Way’s endowment fund as well as participation from workplace employee giving programs and retention of major gifts by loyal contributors.

"The response from the Orange County community to help those less fortunate is nothing short of awe-inspiring," said Maria Chavez Wilcox, president and CEO of Orange County United Way. "Their heartwarming generosity at a time of continued economic difficulty speaks volumes about their kindness and compassion. And for all of us at Orange County United Way, their giving is a wonderful affirmation of their respect and faith in our commitment and ability to reach people in need."

Chavez Wilcox noted that donations to the organization came from all of its traditional donor bases, including individuals, organizations and annual workplace employee campaigns. And a large, single gift to United Way’s endowment fund "will ensure the long-term sustainability of United Way’s work to build self-sufficient lives and hope for a better tomorrow," she said.

Not surprisingly, Chavez Wilcox said, Orange County United Way has experienced a growing need for the services that are supported by these charitable contributions, including basic needs, education, and programs that help individuals and families achieve financial stability. With Orange County’s unemployment rate remaining above 9 percent, and with 50,000 households falling below the poverty level, the need is great.

Orange County United Way is a nonprofit organization created to improve the lives of individuals and families in our community by moving them up the economic ladder from crisis to self-sufficiency. To find out more about Orange County United Way or for a list of Funded Programs and Partnerships, visit

Cornerstone Communications
Kathleen Freed