Charitable Causes

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Donations and volunteer efforts help local nonprofits continue their work in the community.

By Newport Beach Magazine Staff


Fueled by local generosity, dozens of nonprofits work to make the community a better place, from preserving open spaces to assisting animals, advocating for the arts, promoting literacy and more. And as the year comes to an end, many residents seek to make a difference, help those in need or support a cause that’s important to them. In honor of this giving spirit, we’ve compiled a roundup of Newport Beach-area organizations that could use your help, either through financial donations or by contributing volunteer hours. Read on to find a charity that would be grateful for your support this season.


Affordable Housing Access

Since 1999, Affordable Housing Access has been creating and preserving quality affordable housing while also providing social services and resources to empower low-income individuals. The nonprofit, with the help of its partners—from developers and investors to charities and government agencies—have built or acquired and rehabilitated more than 20,000 affordable homes and apartments throughout the West. (

Balboa Bay Club 1221 Club

Over the last 25 years, the Balboa Bay Club’s 1221 Club has awarded grants to graduating seniors from Newport Harbor High School, Corona Del Mar High School and others in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. The 1221 Club is committed to assisting local college-bound students by helping to fund their education, enhancing the ability for these young people to succeed. (

Cancer Kinship

Yolanda Origel, a cancer survivor herself, lost her mom and sister to breast cancer. Due to her own experience with cancer, Origel was able to provide a level of support for her sister that allowed her to die with dignity. Now, as executive director of the Cancer Kinship organization, she empowers other cancer patients by guiding them through their treatments, helping them regain control of their lives afterward and reducing their risk of disease recurrence. With a location in the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living, Cancer Kinship aims to bridge that gap by helping survivors through peer mentorship, group and individual support, and education. (

Crystal Cove Conservancy_credit J. Christopher Launi/courtesy of Crystal Cove Conservancy
Crystal Cove Conservancy helps to preserve Crystal Cove State Park (pictured). | Photo by J. Christopher Launi/Courtesy of Crystal Cove Conservancy

Crystal Cove Conservancy

Established in 1999 by Laura Davick to preserve Crystal Cove State Park’s historic district when developers wanted to turn it into a luxury resort, Crystal Cove Conservancy has worked tirelessly since then to protect this natural space, restore the century-old cottages (which are rented for overnight stays to help provide funding) and bring schoolchildren to the park for science-based field trips. Davick, a third-generation Crystal Cove resident, spearheaded this effort because she understood the importance of preserving this beautiful place for all to enjoy. (


Duchenne muscular dystrophy occurs in roughly one of every 5,000 males, eventually rendering them unable to walk, breathe on their own or feed themselves. This devastating illness impacts the muscles and often leads to heart failure long term, so CureDuchenne was created to spread awareness, help impacted families, offer access to treatment and fund research to hopefully find a cure for the disease. The nonprofit is connected with a number of local events throughout the year, including the Getzlaf Golf Shootout and Napa in Newport. (

Captain of the Anaheim Ducks Ryan Getzlaf and two local families impacted by Duchenne at the Getzlaf Golf Shootout benefitting CureDuchenne-credit Shanda Venneau
The Getzlaf Golf Shootout event benefiting CureDuchenne | Photo by Shanda Venneau

Decorative Arts Society

The Decorative Arts Society hosts an annual speaker series with experts in fields like architecture, interior design, landscape design and more, with various different speakers giving lectures each year. The group started not only as a way to celebrate the decorative arts, but also as a way of supporting local nonprofits dedicated to women and families. (

Environmental Nature Center

Founded in 1972, the Environmental Nature Center showcases 15 different native plant communities, with terrain from all over the state at its Newport campus. The center may be best known for its programming, from naturalist-led experiences to fireside events, school field trips, early childhood education and spring and summer nature camps that allow locals to connect with nature. The ENC also opened a nature preschool just before the pandemic, giving young learners a chance to immerse themselves in the natural world on a regular basis. (

B-Fly House_small-credit Environmental Nature Center
Photo by Environmental Nature Center

Friends of the Newport Theatre Arts Center

Since 1979, the Newport Theatre Arts Center has been showcasing live community theater productions in its Cliff Drive space, which is owned by the city. With four to five shows taking place each season, Friends of the Newport Theatre Arts Center is supported through roughly 800 season ticket holders, who make up about half of the theater’s capacity. Attendees can view dramas, mysteries, comedies and musicals, and open calls are often held for the performances, giving locals a chance to star in the shows. (

Friendship Circle

Children and young adults with special needs are treated to a variety of exciting recreational and educational programs with the goal of promoting friendship and kindness through fun social settings. Programs include Sunday Circle, Soccer Stars, Friends at Home, Young Adult Circle, Basketball Buddies and more, and donations can be tailored to some of these programs when made online. (

HearAid Foundation

Committed to providing hearing aids, services and care to financially disadvantaged adults, children and infants, HearAid Foundation has been working since 2009 to help people hear well—as quickly as possible. All that’s required is a straightforward application and assistance is typically granted within days of approval. According to the foundation, many health insurance providers don’t cover hearing devices. Although some qualify for government assistance, this often involves months of red tape. HearAid Foundation aims to fill that gap for the community’s most vulnerable. (

Hoag Hospital Foundation

Established in 1978, the Hoag Hospital Foundation is a philanthropic arm of the nationally recognized Hoag health system, comprising two hospitals—including Hoag Hospital Newport Beach—as well as 16 urgent care centers, 11 health and wellness centers, and a network of 1,800 physicians, all serving patients in OC. Hoag institutes also provide specialized care in the areas of cancer, digestive issues, heart and vascular health, neurosciences, the spine and women’s health. In support of Hoag, the foundation raises more than $100 million in new gifts and pledges every year through its various campaigns and programs. (

Hoag Hospital Foundation_courtesy of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian
Hoag Hospital Foundation is a philanthropic arm of Hoag health system. | Photo by Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian

John Wayne Cancer Foundation

Actor John Wayne, who lived in Newport Beach, was a lung cancer survivor but died after a struggle with stomach cancer. His family established the John Wayne Cancer Foundation in his memory, funding novel and innovative programs related to cancer research and education efforts like Block the Blaze, which has educated more than 500,000 kids nationwide about the importance of skin cancer prevention and early detection. (

Junior League of Orange County

Female volunteers come together under this nonprofit to improve the lives of the underserved. With more than 450 members, the organization leaves a lasting impact on the community through initiatives such as Kids in the Kitchen and Impact OC as well as with scholarships, public affairs work and partnerships with organizations like Orangewood Foundation. Donations to JLOCC’s Annual Fund go toward training future volunteers as well as providing resources to those in foster care and victims of human trafficking. (

The Literacy Project

Learning to read is something that should be afforded to everyone, but often isn’t. The Literacy Project helps bridge that gap, teaching second graders special auditory, visual and tactile strategies that allow them to excel at school and beyond. The six-week programs, held in one-hour sessions five days a week, are offered within school settings, at no cost to the student, and help increase self-confidence in addition to reading skills. (

Living The Dream Foundation

Started in 2007 by Scottie Somers, who was born with cystic fibrosis and has spent much of his life in and out of hospitals, the Living the Dream Foundation grants “dream day” wishes for kids and young adults with life-threatening illnesses. These experiences, from VIP concert access to meeting their heroes, hospital visits and surprise gifts, help to promote the message of “Living the Dream” no matter what your affliction, and provide lasting memories as a way to maintain hope. (

Magical Builders

Over nearly two decades, this nonprofit has managed the construction and renovation of dozens of charitable facilities in OC, from youth and teen centers to shelters for victims of domestic abuse, homeless centers and athletic fields, often working with Major League Baseball, athletes, celebrities, generous companies and philanthropic individuals to make an impact. Every holiday season, Magical Builders organizes a pajama drive called Jamma Jingles to provide warm, new PJs to underprivileged kids in Orange County and Phoenix. (

National Cat Protection Society

Operating no-kill animal shelters in Newport Beach and San Diego, the National Cat Protection Society cares for owner-relinquished felines until they find a forever family, and also provides a retirement home for older cats—at least 8 years old, in good health and with no signs of aggression—when owners can no longer care for them (for a one-time fee of $7,500). The nonprofit’s shelters offer safe, clean, comfortable spaces for the cats with access to large, enclosed patios and special areas for kittens. The organization also offers community education about the humane treatment of animals and the importance of spaying and neutering. (

20221207_091525_credit National Cat Protection Society
Photo by National Cat Protection Society

Newport Bay Conservancy

Natural spaces are few and far between in OC’s concrete jungle, but Newport is home to one of the best. In the 1970s, the Upper Newport Bay was deemed a protected ecological reserve and, in the 1990s, it was turned into the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. Its natural habitats include saltmarsh, freshwater marsh, mudflats and open water as well as riparian and upland habitats. Education and research are of utmost importance to this group, with kayak tours, nature walks and high school field activities available to the public; the nonprofit also does everything from wildlife monitoring and restoration work to water quality testing. (

Newport Beach Arts Foundation

As the fundraising arm for the Newport Beach Arts Commission, the Newport Beach Arts Foundation partners with artists, businesses and volunteers to elevate the arts in the local community. The group is responsible for many of the art events you’ll see across town, including the annual Art Exhibition, the Art In The Park artisan fair and the summertime Concerts on the Green. The nonprofit is also responsible for raising funds for the rotating, open-air Sculpture Exhibition in Civic Center Park, which is now in its eighth phase. (

AITP attendee viewing paintings 4-14-14 crop_edited-1 (1)_Courtesy of Newport Beach Arts Foundation
Art in the Park, presented by Newport Beach Arts Foundation | Photo by Newport Beach Arts Foundation

Newport Beach Foundation

Young professionals hoping to make a difference need look no further than the Newport Beach Foundation, a philanthropic nonprofit that aims to strengthen leadership in the community through education, research and advocacy. The group hosts a five-week Distinguished Citizen program for those who live or work in town and also offers college scholarships to local high school students in addition to hosting educational and social events in the area. (

Newport Beach Public Library Foundation

As one might expect, the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation provides wonderful support for the local library, contributing a whopping $7 million since its establishment in 1989, even helping to build the new Central Library in the 1990s. Funds go toward a number of programs, such as book clubs, creative writing contests, the Witte Lecture series, Library Live, Medicine in Our Backyard and Financial Literacy Workshops. Donations are also used to buy books and laptops for on-site use as well as to create the library’s magazine and record podcasts and videos from speaker events. (

Orange County Community Foundation

Philanthropy is top of the list for this local organization, which helps individuals and families as well as foundations and businesses reach their goals. Orange County Community Foundation has been active for more than 30 years, having awarded almost $830 million in grants and scholarships in that time—not just in OC, but across the globe. Giving goals are achieved through roughly 600 different funds, which center around a multitude of causes from education, the environment and social justice to arts and culture in the region. (

Project Youth OCBF_Orange County Community Foundation
Orange County Community Foundation helps individuals, families and organizations like Project Youth OC (pictured) reach their goals. | Photo by Orange County Community Foundation

Paw Prints in the Sand

For animals in need, a loving home is the only thing that matters, and Paw Prints in the Sand works to make those dreams a reality, seeking to rescue and find homes for 1,000 pets by 2025. All donations go toward helping these animals with things such as training, medical care and the search for a forever home while also fighting shelter overpopulation, owner surrender and strays on the street. The group has also expanded and now rescues small pets, farm animals and exotic species as well. (

Project Adult Literacy

For adults who are learning to read, the Newport Beach Public Library offers a program developed to help locals find greater success in their work and home lives. Small group classes and one-on-one tutoring have been offered to those living or working in town since 1986, helping those for whom English is a second language as well as native English speakers whose literacy skills need improvement. While support comes from the city of Newport Beach and the state of California, the majority of funding is through private donations. (

Project Giving Light

Happiness is the ultimate goal at Project Giving Light, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk children living in foster care or homeless shelters. The organization provides birthday gifts for children each month with the help of their Birthday Boxes, which are filled with everything from toys and art supplies to clothing and hygiene products. While the organization accepts both monetary donations and volunteers, you can also opt to create Birthday Boxes on your
own; see the website for guidelines. (

Project Self-Sufficiency

More than one in five college students are parents and 43% of student parents are single mothers. Project Self-Sufficiency assists low-income single parents in graduating from college or vocational schools equipped with the skills needed to become economically independent. The nonprofit provides a number of services for students, including financial assistance, mentoring, child care help, auto repair, a supply pantry and long-term case management during the students’ educational journey and as they transition into a career. (

SageView Foundation

Both by partnering with other organizations and through its own programs in Rwanda, SageView Foundation seeks to provide health care and education for women and children in crisis and also promotes micro-financing initiatives that allow for sustainable change both here and abroad. Locally, the foundation works with Orange County Rescue Mission to provide funds for programming and paid time away from work for volunteers as well as to replenish supplies for the food
pantry. (

Simon Scholars

In support of future leaders who will make a positive impact on the world, the Simon Family Foundation offers the Simon Scholars program. In addition to scholarships, a College Access  program prepares first-generation, college-bound students beginning in high school, educating them on aspects of college admissions, personal and leadership development as well as career readiness. Guidance continues through college to encourage students to complete their degrees. Based in Newport Beach, the nonprofit has chapters across the country. (


A humanitarian organization providing free dental care in the U.S. and around the world, SmileOnU has been offering dental cleanings, fillings, extractions and even full-mouth reconstructive surgeries by dental providers who volunteer their services. The organization was founded by BB Maboby, who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand to parents of Cambodian and Pakistani descent and moved to the U.S. as an infant. After graduating from college in 2009, she worked as an oral surgery representative before establishing SmileOnU, to which she now dedicates all of her time. (

SmileOnU provides free dental care. | Photo by SmileOnU

Tias Arms

Joanne Baker, who was born in South Africa and relocated to the U.S. as a young woman, was moved to action after returning to her hometown in 2001 only to find that it was ground zero for the AIDS epidemic, leaving thousands of children orphaned. In response, she launched Tias Arms, which has raised more than $1 million to support grassroots groups that provide food, shelter, health care and education for children in impoverished areas of South Africa. In the past, the group has also hosted tea party or wine tasting fundraising events for locals. (

Veterans Relief Foundation

This foundation offers alternative therapeutic programs such as adapted water sports for veterans, active-duty members of the military—including those who have been wounded—and their families. The organization’s team has designed special watercraft equipment that allows those in wheelchairs to paddleboard, for example, creating an empowering and encouraging experience for servicemen and women that helps rebuild self-esteem, promotes physical wellness and creates lasting memories. (

Vet with boy on SUP Veterans Relief Foundation
Veterans Relief Foundation offers alternative therapeutic programs such as adapted water sports for veterans, active-duty military and their families.

Wildlife Jewels

Arts, science, technology and global partnerships come together through the Wildlife Jewels nonprofit to protect wildlife from threats posed by human activities. Founded by artist and scientist Azi Sharif, the effort began with Sharif’s painting, “The Bird of Paradise,”—and many others that followed—in a combination of art and advocacy. Each wildlife painting is named after a precious gemstone to reflect the value and rarity of animals that deserve protection. Art exhibitions, fashion shows and other presentations have garnered attention for the cause. In 2023, this effort was formalized as a nonprofit organization. (

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