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]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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 www.ocgrantmakers.org. For further information, please contact Taryn Palumbo at 714.900-2998.

ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY GRANTMAKERS

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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How do we build a compassionate and inclusive America in an age of distrust? WAJAHAT ALI knows from personal experience that when we come together to be the superheroes of our own stories, we can create honest social change. The beloved TED speaker has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Atlantic about our urgent issues—immigration, politics, parenthood—with boldness, hope, and humor. His memoir Go Back to Where You Came From, one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year, follows his life as a Muslim Pakistani-American on a surprising, emotional, and challenging quest for the good life. Iconic journalist Katie Couric says that “we are all so fortunate to be on the receiving end of his intellect, his humanity, and his heart.”

Wajahat Ali

“With wit and charm, Ali delivers a masterful meditation on growing up brown in America...he gives us a clear-eyed affirmation of the country America could be.” — Mara Gay, New York Times

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.”

In his memoir Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American, Wajahat teaches us how to create our own superhero origin story, invest in hope for the future of America, and enact real social change. The book was called “biting and funny and full of heart” by NPR. Representative Ilhan Omar called Wajahat’s work “hilarious” and “deeply moving”, and legendary writer Dave Eggers said it was the book he’d “been hoping Wajahat Ali would write for ten years—hilarious, stylistically fearless, deeply humane.”

Wajahat is also the author of The Domestic Crusaders—the first major play about Muslim-Americans in a post-9/11 world. He was the lead researcher and author for the Center for American Progress’s seminal report “Fear Inc., Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” and served as a national correspondent for Al Jazeera America, where he told stories about communities and individuals often marginalized or under-reported in mainstream media.

As Creative Director of Affinis Wajahat Labs, he worked to create social entrepreneurship initiatives to support and uplift marginalized communities. He also worked with the US State Department to design and implement the “Generation Change” leadership program to empower young social entrepreneurs. Wajahat initiated chapters in eight countries, including Pakistan and Singapore. For his work, he was honored as a “Generation Change Leader” by Sec. of State Clinton and recognized as an “Emerging Muslim American Artist” by the Muslim Public Affairs Council. 

He has given keynote speeches around the world such as TED, The Aspen Ideas Festival, Google, the United Nations, and The New Yorker Festival. His writing appears regularly in the New York TimesThe Atlantic, the Washington Post, and The Guardian. He’s a Senior Fellow at The Western States Center and Auburn Seminary and co-host of Al Jazeera’s The Stream.