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Give Where Your Heart Lives

Give Where Your Heart Lives

By Shelley Hoss

The ConnectOC Blog is a place for sharing insight, information and examples of how Orange County residents, donors and nonprofits are working to build a brighter, stronger, more vibrant community.  We welcome you to share your thoughts by commenting below.

Among Orange County’s many treasures, the exemplary network of local nonprofit organizations may be our most valuable asset. 

But fulfilling a charitable mission year after year is like running a marathon that never ends. To be successful, nonprofits must have the right team behind them. They have to hit “mile markers” to demonstrate their progress. They fuel their efforts with the time, talent and treasure of their donors and board leaders. And a large crew of volunteers cheers them on, running by their side every step of the way. 

Because of their willingness to run this gauntlet, our entire community grows stronger and healthier. But they shouldn’t have to run this race alone.  And in just a few days they won’t have to, thanks to the launch of another kind of marathon—held to bolster the good local nonprofits accomplish every day for all those they serve.

The Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) is introducing the inaugural “iheartoc Giving Day” marathon on April 21, a concept based on successful models organized by community foundations across the country, and launched this year in honor of OCCF’s 25th anniversary. OCCF created this 30-hour event to inspire our entire community to come together and show Orange County nonprofits how much we care. OCCF is aiming high with the goal of delivering $2 million to local nonprofits in just 30 hours. 

Let’s call it an amazing race to give where your heart lives. And there are plenty of reasons to give. 

Although ranked consistently as one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, five Orange County cities with the highest unemployment rates also are among the cities with the lowest income in the United States. Our unusually high cost of living doesn’t help either. A person earning minimum wage has to work 110 hours a week—nearly three full-time jobs—to afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Most distressing, a shocking number of residents go to bed hungry every night, with one in five children not certain of his or her next meal. 

These disparities continue to deepen with a still-unstable economy and rising cost of living. And this population is mostly invisible in Orange County, where our affluence is constantly on display while our poverty remains hidden in the shadows. 

OCCF is hosting the iheartoc Giving Day to bring attention not only to nonprofits serving our most vulnerable neighbors, but to celebrate the wide array of nonprofits enriching our community through the arts, protecting our natural resources, and ensuring the success of Orange County students in school and in life.

During the 30-hour online marathon, OCCF is asking the Orange County community to visit the iheartoc Giving Day website to read profiles of fully vetted nonprofits and support the causes closest to their hearts. 

This is one marathon where we all win.  

Together, we can help ensure what we all love about Orange County continues for future generations. The iheartoc Giving Day marathon begins at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, April 21 and runs through noon on Wednesday, April 22. To learn about participating charities and make a donation of $25 or more, visit iheartoc.org.


Shelley Hoss is president of the Orange County Community Foundation. She can be reached at [email protected]

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