Chief Strategy Officer
FRIENDS OF CASA SET RECORD-BREAKING NET OF $530k+ AT ANNUAL HOLIDAY LUNCHEON
Santa Ana, Calif. (December 10, 2021) – Friends of CASA, a membership auxiliary of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Orange County, hosted its annual Holiday Luncheon & Fashion Show on Thursday, December 2nd, at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point. The Luncheon and Fashion Show that began as a Holiday Tea 26 years ago has brought in over $5.5 million dollars since 1995. This year’s Luncheon had a record breaking net for the eighth year in a row – with over $530k that will go directly to supporting CASA’s mission of providing a powerful voice and a meaningful connection for children who have experienced abuse, neglect and abandonment.
The Luncheon was chaired by Nicole Inal and Janine Wald, who were assisted by a team of 62 members from the Friends of CASA (FOCASA) auxiliary group, which is led by FOCASA President, Colleen Masterson. 420 guests filled the halls and courtyard outside of the ballroom to bid on 171 auction packages during the champagne reception. Guests were able to fulfill a child in foster care’s wish through ornaments placed on the “Starfish Wish Trees”, featuring almost 400 different wishes from the children in the CASA program. Starfish Wishes included items like new clothes for school, baseball lessons, art supplies and Uber gift cards to get to work. Barclay Butera Interiors served as Starfish Wish Ornament Sponsor.
The reception area and ballroom at the Ritz Carlton were exquisitely decorated with holiday touches that sparkled in hues of blue, green and pink and styled by Elite OC Productions. This year’s fashion show was presented by Weekend Max Mara and South Coast Plaza and produced by Deborah Keillor, of DK Fashion Stylist. The event program began with CASA CEO, Regan Phillips, welcoming guests “back” to an in-person event and thanking the chairs of last year’s virtual fundraiser chaired by Christy Flanagan and Nicole Joseph. Guests were then treated to the Weekend Max Mara fashion show featuring a sneak preview of the Spring/Summer 2022 Collection on the runway in addition to the Fall/Winter Collection currently available in stores. Following the event program, Weekend Max Mara showcased a Pop-Up Shop in the hallway where guests were able to purchase some of the items that were just featured on the runway!
This year’s keynote speaker was Ashley Rhodes-Courter who shared her personaI story of resilience, perseverance, and survival. The audience was captivated by Ashley’s humor while sharing her harrowing story leading up to her match with a CASA volunteer. Ashley shared, “Because of a CASA, I’m able to be here with you today sharing this beautiful afternoon in this incredible venue having these wonderful laughs. But my brother, and so many of my foster brothers and sisters will never see the end of their twenties or their teens.” She went on to say, “Thousands more children would fall through the cracks without the services provided by CASAs, volunteers and community members like you.”
The opportunity drawing was provided by Exclusive Jewelry Partner, Lugano Diamonds, who generously donated a beautiful necklace featuring more than seven and a half carats of rose cut diamonds delicately set in 18K yellow gold. This exquisite piece was valued at $20,000. Grace Zimmerman was the lucky winner.
Ruby Starfish Sponsors included The Jacqueline Glass Family. BDO USA and Wells Fargo shared a sponsorship.
Friends of CASA are committed to raising funds for CASA of Orange County’s mentor-advocate program for abused and neglected children in the foster care system. Through the annual Holiday Luncheon, the Friends of CASA raise awareness of the CASA program, recruiting volunteers and long-term donors to CASA. This year’s Executive Committee of the Holiday Luncheon was comprised by the following Friends of CASA members: Lourdes de Quillien, Kimberly DeLamar Matties, Liz deSousa, Danette Dye, Christy Flanagan, Maggie Flornes, Jennifer Gonzales Oxen, Jennifer Hanlon, Annette Hellmich, Lori Jackson, Holly Joseph, Patty Juarez, Deborah Keillor, Sandi Marino, Christina Markl-Coffey, Debbie Masek, Colleen Masterson, Sarah Minakary, Marjie Mros, Sandy Parten, Erika Pedersen, Bill Peters, Valerie Ramsay, Dana Strader, Sara Van Dusen, Briana Verham, Trisha Yount
About Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County is a privately-funded non-profit organization that serves severely abused, neglected and abandoned children through the recruitment, training and continued support of volunteers who advocate for and mentor these children, representing their best interest in the courtroom and other settings. Founded in 1985, with major support from the Junior League of Orange County, CASA provides a powerful voice and a meaningful connection for children who have experienced abuse, neglect and abandonment. We are able to serve these children through the generous support of those who donate to CASA as well as the immeasurable compassion and commitment of our CASA advocates. Please visit casaoc.org to learn more.
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