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Cynthia Ragland

Cynthia Ragland

Vice President
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(949) 553-4202 x22
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New Report Delivers a Dose of Reality; Exposes Stark Contrast in Quality of Life for Orange County Residents

ConnectOC Pulls Back the Curtain on County’s “Community of Contrast” and Areas of Greatest Need; Resource Is First of Its Kind in Orange County

2012 Community ReportNewport Beach, Calif. (November 15, 2012) – The Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) today launched ConnectOC, a first-of-its-kind resource providing eye-opening facts and insight into the areas of greatest need in Orange County. OCCF partnered with McKinsey & Company, a global consulting leader, to compile and analyze a sweeping set of data on three critical issues: the safety net for our community’s most vulnerable (shelter, food and employment); the health and wellness of children and families; and the education of our youth.

ConnectOC pulls back the curtain to reveal the real Orange County. While the region and its residents are often portrayed as the upper echelon, living in multi-million dollar homes and bringing home six-figure salaries, the reality is that Orange County is a community of contrast. Not far from opulent homes, families struggle to find shelter for the night. In the shadow of luxury spas, there are men, women and children who can only hope for good health, with no insurance and nowhere to go for medical care. Amid bright-eyed scholars are thousands of children missing basic essentials like attending preschool, mastering language skills and even eating regular meals. These disparities have deepened with a challenged economy and rising cost of living.

“ConnectOC tells the story of two very different counties,” said Shelley Hoss, president of OCCF. “On one hand, Orange County is a place where people live in the lap of luxury, with beautiful homes, access to top hospitals and private school education. But on the other, many Orange County residents are struggling when it comes to the most basic necessities – food, shelter and safety. This is the reality, and it’s happening in your backyard.”

Findings

ConnectOC helps all residents better know Orange County and where help is most needed. Key findings include:

  • 45% of Orange County students live in families making the equivalent of $40,000 or less per year for a family of four
  • A worker earning minimum wage must work 133 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom apartment
  • One in three Orange County residents lacks access to essential health care services
  • Only 55% of Orange County third-graders read at a proficient level

“These statistics are disturbing, because if we don’t do something now, the effects will be long-lasting. We’ll all be impacted by diminished quality of life in our county,” said Timothy J. Kay, chair of the OCCF board of governors. “These are critical issues, and we need to address them head-on.”

Promising Strategies

Moving from knowledge to action, ConnectOC provides strategies for driving real change in these areas of need. The report showcases organizations that are already moving the needle when it comes to safety net, health care and education.

“These organizations are doing great work, and it is made possible in large part due to philanthropy,” said Hoss. “Private giving makes change possible, and it will continue to be a key driver of real progress in Orange County. It’s incumbent on each of us to give back; ConnectOC arms us with knowledge so we can focus our giving in areas that will truly make an impact.”

Looking Ahead

In the coming months, ConnectOC will launch ConnectOC Nonprofit Central, making a connection to nonprofits and organizations even easier. This database is the first of its kind in Orange County and will provide a one-stop-shop where potential donors can find out more about nonprofits in Orange County and the areas of need they address.

But ConnectOC will also take it further.

“We invite everyone to explore ConnectOC, learn more and engage in a conversation about the future of Orange County,” Hoss said. “It starts with each one of us, whether it’s volunteering your time or making a financial commitment to support organizations that are truly making a difference in our community. What will you do?”

Learn more at www.ConnectOC.org. View a 2-minute overview video about ConnectOC.

About the Orange County Community Foundation

The Orange County Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about most. We collaborate with individuals, families and businesses to match their charitable interests with our community’s needs. We strengthen local nonprofits through grants and supportive resources. We incubate new ideas and bring leaders together to address our community’s most pressing needs. Since its inception, OCCF has granted $225 million to meet needs in Orange County, across the nation, and around the world – with $190 million granted in the last decade alone. In 2011, OCCF ranked as the 10th most active grantmaker among more than 750 U.S. community foundations. For more information, visit www.oc-cf.org or call 949-553-4202. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.