“Opportunity is a precious gift. How often we give it to others, and how we respond when it is given to us, can define our lives.”

Terry Donahue, legendary UCLA head football coach

Those inspiring words resonated with the 450 friends of KidWorks who attended our 16th annual Foundation for Success luncheon held Nov. 3 at the DoubleTree Santa Ana Hotel.

It was our first in-person Foundation for Success luncheon since the pandemic began.

Coach Donahue, who passed away in July 2021 at age 77, was the honoree at the event that recognized not only his extraordinary success in sports but also his strong support for KidWorks over the decades.

Coach Donahue was known as a man of faith, family and football—in that order. He is revered by countless football fans as the winningest coach in Pac 12 and UCLA history. During his career he coached 34 first-team All-American players, including future Pro Football Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Jonathan Ogden and Kenny Easley. 

“It was the early 2000s when Coach Donahue got involved with KidWorks,” says David Benavides, CEO/Executive Director. “I had the privilege of serving with him on the KidWorks’ board of directors in our early days.”

 Adds David, “Coach was part of our vision and laying the foundation for us to be able to move forward. He was a champion and ambassador for KidWorks and for our students.

“Many of those friends, colleagues and associates that he introduced to KidWorks nearly 20 years ago have joined him and the Donahue family in being champions of carrying forward the mission of KidWorks.”

Thanks to the generosity of our KidWorks supporters, over $600,000 was raised, which will go to work  providing after school programs for nearly 1,100 students in grades preschool through high school.

These students are on their way to earning college/university degrees as they excel academically, develop their leadership skills, grow spiritually and explore their artistic talents.

 Among the many highlights of the 2022 luncheon was a panel of Coach Donahue’s former players:

The panel discussion, led by Pat Donahue, Coach Donahue’s brother, aligned beautifully with KidWorks’ mission. It highlighted how Coach Donahue provided opportunities for those who otherwise might not have them–from KidWorks to the football field.

KidWorks appreciates each of the luncheon attendees, along with those who purchased tables and donated auction items. Please also join us in deeply thanking this year’s luncheon sponsors, including:

American Career College
West Coast University
The Donahue Family
Heidi and Ruben Mendoza

Bank of America
Frome Family Foundation
Gregory and Stacy Brown Family Charitable Fund

C.J. Segerstrom & Sons
Craig Reality Group
Fifth Third Bank
Nancy Lee Giving Fund
Devon and Kevin Martin
Sheppard Mullin
Toyota Financial Services
Waypoint Property Group
US Bank

The 2023 Foundation for Success Luncheon is set for Nov. 9. More details will be available in the months ahead.

We deeply thank our generous Foundation for Success attendees, partners, sponsors and supporters for being such an integral part our longest-running major annual event. Our students benefit each day because of what you help make possible.

 By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer