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OCCF Blog

OCCF Blog

Orange County’s issues are connected—and so are you. We invite you to get in touch with critical information, promising approaches and a growing community of partners who share your passion for our county. Already, we are making strides toward the dream we share for Orange County.

Key to a good tomorrow – a job today

Break the cycle of poverty by focusing on vocational training.  In recent weeks, this column has focused on critical issues facing an alarming number of local residents—issues that ultimately affect everyone in Orange County. We’ve examined high school dropout rates and the education achievement gap, children without access to adequate healthcare, and our county’s largely invisible homeless population.  Each of these topics echoes an underlying theme: Orange County is not an easy place to be ...
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Public-education woes affect everyone

The challenges facing Orange County’s students can’t be addressed by the local education system alone. Solving the equation will take the whole community, working together. You don’t have school-aged children, so the cuts to education don’t affect you, right? Or maybe your children attend private school, so the lack of a balanced state budget isn’t urgent? Perhaps your children are in public school, but in a high-performing district, so there is no need to worry? ...
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Building Our Future OC – Investing in People

In 10 years, will OC’s students and workers be able to call Orange County home? We are seeing troubling signs:  an inadequate supply of affordable housing, aging infrastructure, and an education system in need of transformational change if the next generation is to succeed. In the 2012 Workforce Indicators Report, the Orange County Business Council identified educational challenges like English language acquisition and fluency, the significant achievement gap within the county’s diverse school districts, and a ...
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Shine a light on homeless

Orange County’s surprising problem often hides in the shadows. When you think of the homeless in the United States, what – and who – comes to mind? Transient men in inner cities? The chronically addicted? The mentally ill? Would it surprise you to know that, in 2011, 1.6 million homeless Americans were children, or that Orange County puts up some of the highest numbers of homelessness in the nation? One startling fact is this: Orange ...
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Holes in the system

Poor oral health care for children can result in chronic problems throughout life, and it is largely preventable. If your child had a broken bone, would you allow her to suffer with excruciating pain and let the bone heal badly, causing her lifelong challenges as a result? What if she had a puncture wound on her hand that, left untreated, could cause a severe and potentially life-threatening infection? Wouldn’t you seek medical help immediately? And ...
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Literacy key to learning

Want a solution to the dropout crisis? Teach kids to read before kindergarten. Imagine if there were a problem that affected one in three high school students (approximately 4 million students a year) resulting in issues that cost U.S. taxpayers more than $8 billion a year? And what if that problem were almost guaranteed to be cyclical, gathering momentum with each new generation? Would it warrant our attention as a critical issue? Of course it ...
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Help vs. hardship

Outside appearances paint Orange County as a vibrant community filled with happy, active families and a robust economy. But what you don't see on the surface tells the tale for thousands of our neighbors who are unemployed or underemployed, homeless or in unstable housing, and hungry or hard-pressed to provide food for their children. The Orange County Community Foundation worked with McKinsey & Co. to take a deeper look into the reality for many of ...
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Faith & Values: Help vs. hardship

Taller San Jose, Families Forward and Second Harvest Food Bank are the first three organizations--among many yet to come-- that I am thrilled to have the opportunity to highlight in a weekly column I’ve been asked to write for the new Faith and Values section of the Orange County Register. When we first launched ConnectOC, I couldn’t have imagined that so many opportunities to share this message would emerge. My hope is that as we ...
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Driving Social Change: Introducing Nonprofit Central – OC’s First Nonprofit Database for Donors

We launched ConnectOC with the goal of bringing awareness to our most critical needs here in Orange County – the place we all call home. Decades ago, life in small towns was simple. People knew when a neighbor was hurting and rushed in to help, whether through a kind word, a meal, or a place to sleep. Today life in Orange County is more complex. We don’t always see our neighbors who are struggling or ...
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What’s It Going to Take? Closing Orange County’s Achievement Gap

Orange County K – 12 schools serve over 500,000 students, nearly half of whom live below the poverty line and more than 130,000 who are English language learners. These are a startling statistics when you consider the impact of socio-economic and language barriers on students’ academic success. Research shows that these factors drive an achievement gap which begins even before students walk through the door in Kindergarten. With so many students at risk of poor ...
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