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The Epoch Times

by Brandon Drey

Cynthia Esparza knows nothing of the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF), even though it may have saved her and her children’s lives.

The 32-year-old mother of three had found herself on the verge of homelessness after a series of events that started in January 2020 when she walked out of her home—her children in tow—to escape an abusive relationship with her children’s father.

“I told myself that I’d rather sacrifice,” Esparza told The Epoch Times. “I want my children to see that mom was strong enough to stand on her two feet.”

Eventually, Esparza and the children, aged 10, 1, and a newborn baby girl, landed in Riverside, California, where they lived in a one-bedroom rental. But after six months, the landlord didn’t renew her lease.

“I had no place to go,” she said.

So she dialed 211.

That call led Esparza to a local nonprofit, which exists in part due to the OCCF.

The foundation’s philanthropic model is simple: individuals, families, organizations, or foundations looking for ways to make donations give cash, stocks, and even real estate to the foundation, which then finds local nonprofits in need of funds.

Since its inception in 1989, it has awarded nearly $830 million in grants and scholarships and ranks in the top 2 percent in grantmaking, according to the OCCF website.