taryn palumbo

Why OC Votes: What Would Orange County look like if Everyone Voted?

By Anne Olin, Charitable Ventures and Taryn Palumbo, Orange County Grantmakers It is an important election year for the country, locally, regionally, and nationally. As part of our commitment to strengthening our communities, Charitable Ventures (“CV”) and Orange County Grantmakers (“OCG”) are reigniting the OC Votes, Get Out the Vote Campaign for the duration of the year. Launched initially …

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A Statement from OCG

At Orange County Grantmakers, we are committed to supporting an inclusive and equitable Orange County where all people, no matter their race, ethnicity, or religious preference, feel welcome and safe. We denounce all forms of hate and violence that run counter to these ideals. While the brutal terrorist attacks on Israel and the ongoing violence …

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The Pride Flag Should Fly in the Name of True Community.

by Alison Edwards,(She/Her), CEO, OC Human Relations; Taryn Palumbo, (She/Her), Executive Director, Orange County Grantmakers; Peg Corley (She/Her), Executive Director, LGBTQ Center Orange County; Uyen Hoang (she/they), Executive Director, Viet Rainbow of Orange County (VROC) In America we have many freedoms to celebrate, in fact, some might say that those freedoms are what separate this …

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Reflections from the 2022 Summit: A Conversation with Language Justice Champions

By: Ameera Basmadji, Access California Services Orange County continues to be an ever-changing landscape. A landscape that has been home to diverse communities throughout history. As we welcome new immigrant and refugee communities, it’s important we ask ourselves – are we doing our part to help them belong? And are we helping build an equitable …

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Reflections from the 2022 OCG Summit: A Call to follow the path of Kingian Nonviolence

By: Alison Edwards, OC Human Relations and Chancellor “Chance” Patterson, The King Center In October at the OC Grantmakers Annual Summit, we – Ali Edwards, CEO of OC Human Relations, and Chancellor “Chance” Patterson, Head of Marketing and Communications at The King Center – led a breakout session conversation around social justice. It was a …

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Reflections on the 2022 OCG Summit: The Connection Between Data and Health Equity

By Jason Lacsamana, St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund Looking back at the recent OC Grantmaker’s Summit, I continue to be inspired by the movement toward innovation, collaboration, justice, action, and equity that we see in our region. I had the pleasure of moderating the morning panel in the health equity track. One speaker during the …

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Reflections from the 2022 OCG Summit: The Intersections Initiative

Advancing Health Equity and Racial Justice: Conversations and Case Studies from the Intersections Initiative “What if we were to ask ourselves not only ‘what did we do?’ in any given initiative or project, but more importantly, ‘what did we build?’? We might transform the way we look and invest in our communities.” – Jason Lacsamana, …

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An Update on the Orange County Opportunity Initiative

Approximately 955,000 immigrants live in OC, making up one-third of our county’s population. OC’s immigrant communities are deeply connected to our region, with 80% of OC’s foreign-born population having lived in the US for a decade or longer. Lawful permanent residents account for 26% of immigrants in the county, of which 180,000 are eligible to …

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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.