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ORANGE COUNTY, CALIF. (December 14, 2021)— Orange County Grantmakers is pleased to announce its incoming 2022 Advisory Board Slate and welcome new Board Chair Cathleen Otero, Vice President of Donor Relations and Programs with the Orange County Community Foundation.

In 2021, Orange County Grantmakers underwent a comprehensive, year-long strategic planning process that will redefine how our organization approaches our role in the community as well as explicitly calls out our commitment to equity and transformational leadership. We are absolutely thrilled to welcome the leadership of Cathleen Otero as incoming Chair of the OCG Advisory Board who brings with her a wealth of experience and leadership on a variety of issues aligned with Orange County Grantmakers including health equity, systems change, and representation of underserved populations.

“As the founding chair of Orange County Grantmakers, I understand how closely aligned our organizations are in our missions to advance health, education, and economic opportunities for Orange County residents through the power of philanthropy.” said Shelley Hoss, president and CEO of the Orange County Community Foundation. “I am confident that Cathleen will contribute her unique knowledge and experience to advance these efforts in new and exciting ways.”

Under Cathleen’s leadership OCG will, with the support of the rest of our board and our full membership, embark on an ambitious journey meant to bring advance equity for all Orange County residents. We look forward to the public launch of the new strategic plan in February 2022. 

                The full incoming advisory board slate is as follows:

  • Chair: Cathleen Otero, Orange County Community Foundation
  • Vice Chair: Tiffany Alva, First Five Orange County
  • Membership Chair: Joanna Kong, Sun Family Foundation
  • Program Chair: Nithin Jilla, Sun Family Foundation (advisor)
  • Public Policy Chair: Adriana Galdamez, Cox Communications
  • Summit Chair: Christine Fontana, Edwards Lifesciences
  • At-Large Member: Ben Drutman, Simon Scholars
  • At-Large Member: John Guastaferro, Anaheim Community Foundation
  • At-Large Member: Nate Brown, PIMCO
  • Past Chair: Jason Lacsamana, St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund

If you are interested in becoming an OCG member, funders, philanthropists and grantmaking organizations must fund a minimum of $100,000 in Orange County, CA.   To join, please visit and email OCG Executive Director Taryn Palumbo at [email protected].

About Orange County Grantmakers

The Orange County Grantmakers (OCG) is a funder collaborative committed to advancing social impact by supporting, strengthening, and building adaptive leadership across our nonprofit and philanthropic community. To learn more about Orange County Grantmakers, visit, like them on Facebook or follow on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Orange County Community Foundation

Founded in 1989, the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) works with donors, strengthens the local nonprofit sector and works to find solutions to community needs. Since its inception, OCCF has awarded nearly $850 million in grants and scholarships, placing the organization in the top two percent in grantmaking among U.S. community foundations. For more information, visit or call 949-553-4202. Be a part of our conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. View OCCF’s 2021 annual report here.

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Taryn Palumbo

Executive Director

Orange County Grantmakers

[email protected]

Dan Nasitka

Rocket Launch 

[email protected]

(951) 805-4174

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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.