First Orange County Equity Report Highlights Orange County’s Challenges and Opportunities to Becoming a More Equitable Region

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CONTACT:           Taryn Palumbo

                                Executive Director, Orange County Grantmakers

                                (714) 900-2998

                                [email protected]


First Orange County Equity Report Highlights Orange County’s Challenges and Opportunities to Becoming a More Equitable Region

Santa Ana, CA. March 26, 2018 – Orange County Grantmakers (OCG), in partnership with the St. Joseph Health Community Partnership Fund, has released a new report providing an equity analysis of the Orange County region. “An Equity Profile of Orange County”, prepared by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California, provides insights and data to support Orange County’s efforts to move towards inclusive growth and prosperity, and is a part of a series of reports specific to the six-county Southern California region.

As the first equity profile of its kind in Orange County, data in the report provides a call to action for Orange County business, civic, community and philanthropic leaders to build a stronger, more equitable region. The report is broken down into four sections – demographics, economic vitality, readiness and connectedness. It ends with ten (plus one) clear steps to an equitable Orange County, including using the data for cross-sector dialogue and linking inclusion with innovation.

“The data provided reveals a more nuanced narrative to the Orange County story than is commonly perceived. It makes the point that full inclusion is key to a more prosperous future, and shows the region’s potential to lead the way in advancing racial and economic equity,” says Dr. Manuel Pastor, USC PERE Director. “Using the equity indicators we developed can help communities shape the plans, policies, and programs that address the rising inequality and disparities which hold us all back from achieving a stronger, healthier, and more sustainable region.” Among the key take-aways, the report shows that Orange County leads the nation in demographic change, coming in as the 18th most racially diverse region compared to the 150 largest regions. Data in the report show that the region’s demographic change will outpace the nation through 2050. As Orange County’s regional economy also continues to grow, income inequality has also sharply increased and racial and gender gaps continue to persist in the labor market. Findings from the report show that if Orange County addressed its racial gaps in income, the regional economy could gain nearly $83 billion.

While Orange County ranks high among the 150 largest regions in terms of the share of residents with an associate’s degree or higher—and educational outcomes have improved for all groups since 2000—there are still educational gaps which can make workers less prepared for jobs in the new economy. For example: Latinos, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and African Americans are much less likely than whites to have an associate’s degree or higher. When examining data by both race and nativity, the report also shows a widening education gap among Asian American Pacific Islander sub groups.

Over 250 business, nonprofit, civic and philanthropic leaders attended the release event at the Bowers Museum to hear the results of the report as well as hear from a panel of community leaders including Fred Ali, President & CEO of the Weingart Foundation; Mary Anne Foo, Executive Director and Founder of the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance; Kim Goll, Executive Director of First 5 Orange County Children & Families Commission and Rosie Perez, Vice President or Mission Integration with Providence St. Joseph.

Orange County Grantmakers represents a community of philanthropic leaders committed to inclusivity, fairness and equal advantages for all residents. “Our hope is that the OC Equity Report will help our members, other funders, and the nonprofit and business community better understand how to leverage individual organization’s and companies funding, time and skills,” said Katie Ellis, Chair of the OCG Advisory Board. “We believe that having data like what is included in the OC Equity Report will empower leaders to challenge the status quo and work towards a more equitable future.

“In order to bring about real and lasting positive impact, we must have a more complete understanding of the various needs that exist in our community,” said Gabriela Robles, Chief Executive of the St. Joseph Health Community Partnership Fund.  “This report will provide a deeper understanding for leaders across all sectors in Orange County and hopefully serve as a catalyst to collaborate in the development of a comprehensive, equitable, and long-term strategy to address the root causes of such disparities.”

To read the full report, visit For further information, please contact Taryn Palumbo at 714.900-2998.


OC Grantmakers is a community of philanthropic leaders with the mission of advancing social impact by supporting, strengthening, and building adaptive leadership across the nonprofit and philanthropic community. We are committed to improving outcomes for Orange County and beyond.

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Wajahat Ali uses his platform to fight tirelessly for the social change we need in our country—and he isn’t afraid to get personal while doing it. The Daily Beast columnist and former New York Times writer, TED speaker, award-winning playwright, and Peabody-nominated producer of the documentary series The Secret Life of Muslims offers us his experiences of triumph over hardship as a beacon of hope and resilience in the face of life’s impossible situations. From his experiences of Islamophobia growing up as a Muslim Pakistani-American to his two-year-old daughter’s liver cancer diagnosis, Wajahat is living proof that when we share our authentic stories, we build the America we wish to live in.”

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