The cultural diversity in Orange County is part of the unique mosaic of the region. As advocates for diversity, Project Access held its seventh annual Keys to Success Gala and Fundraiser at Bowers Museum in Santa Ana on Sept. 8.
She's partying for a great cause.
Project Access, which offers stability to those dealing with financial problems, has also provided health, education and employment services for families, children and seniors in low-income housing communities for more than 10 years.
The fundraiser, themed “A Culture of Change,” netted $161,000 for the organization. During the event, Brian Murphy, president of Athletes First, received the Keys to Success Award for his dedication to the low-income community.
“Project Access serves those individuals in our communities who need a wide array of resources in order to create better lives for them and their families,” Murphy said. “One only needs to take a look at our own country’s economy to realize how important financial literacy is for all adults – from those running the country to those adults who haven’t had anyone to teach them about financial literacy and responsibility. This is another aspect of Project Access that’s so impressive; they are not about a quick fix but instead want to give all individuals they work with the tools to better their lives and be in a position to continue to improve and protect their gains.”
Murphy became involved with Project Access through the organization’s CEO and president, Kristin Byrnes. A passionate director, Byrnes emphasizes the need for Project Access clients to participate in the organization’s many programs, including ESL courses, after-school tutoring and recreational activities for seniors.
“Orange County is a very expensive place to live,” said Byrnes. “Partnering with housing developers who dedicate themselves to developing affordable homes is a necessity – otherwise homelessness will continue to rise, crime will increase and our communities will suffer.”
According to Byrnes, many Project Access clients, all with an average income of 50 to 60 percent less than the median in O.C., work full-time in retail, restaurants and construction and yet struggle to pay bills. With the faltering economy, many have had work hours cut and wages decreased.
“Like any team or company, our community is only as strong as our most needy citizens, and by providing such wonderful tools to those in need, Project Access is not only helping them build better lives; it’s strengthening our community,” Murphy said. “That impact has a rippling affect.”
Rod Carew Children’s Cancer Golf Classic
The 17th annual Rod Carew Golf Classic was held at Pelican Hill Resort and Spa in Newport Beach on Aug. 27 to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF). With more than 280 golfers swinging and putting their way through Pelican Hill’s world-class course, upwards of $130,000 was raised to support PCRF’s ongoing efforts to help end the suffering of children afflicted with cancer. Former Angels great and Hall of Famer Rod Carew was the host of the event.