Karen Jordan glowed in green at the 2021 CASA Celebration of Children. PHOTO BY JOHN WATKINS
On Aug. 27, the Orange County chapter of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA, casaoc.org) will gather at the new VEA Newport Beach hotel for its annual Celebration of Children, an upscale fundraising gala that bolsters the organization’s mission to mentor and advocate for youth in the foster care system. At the helm of the event are co-chairs and O.C. locals Nancy Eaton and Karen Jordan. Here, Jordan—an avid philanthropist who also fights to end homelessness through Illumination Foundation (ifhomeless.org)—shares why CASA is a cause that’s close to her heart. Listen in.
How has philanthropy and giving back to the community shaped your life? Becoming a parent and seeing my children develop brought tremendous meaning and gratitude to my life. Hearing and witnessing children experience trauma and the effects that carries through their lifetime inspired me to do what I can to be part of the solution. It adds another layer of purpose to my life and connection to the community. I have benefited greatly by getting involved with Newport Coast Elementary, Sage Hill High School, CASA of Orange County and Illumination Foundation.
Why does CASA’s mission particularly resonate with you? CASA’s mission provides a powerful voice and a meaningful connection for children who are experiencing abuse, neglect and abandonment. Children in the foster care system have been dealt a very challenging hand with no sense of security, and when I learned about the impact a CASA advocate can make in a child’s development and life, I wanted to do whatever I could to help.
What excites you most about co-chairing the upcoming CASA gala? Co-chairing this year’s gala is such an exciting opportunity because I get to work with an incredibly creative, talented, energetic, fun and smart team! The team at CASA, along with Elite OC Productions and our auction committee members, is outstanding. It’s an honor to be co-chairing the event with last year’s advocate of the year Nancy Eaton, and to have the phenomenal support of Lourdes Nark and Wendy Tenenbaum, who have been instrumental in the success of the gala.
What can guests expect? Celebration of Children will be held Aug. 27 at the new VEA Newport Beach hotel. We are continuing the colorful theme, like last year’s event, and we will be highly entertained by musician Wes Quave—dancing shoes are a must! The auction will not disappoint and the evening will be a very memorable one, indeed. My hope is that we bring awareness to this extremely important cause. We currently have 213 children on our waitlist for a CASA. The donations received from our event will go toward recruiting and training volunteer advocates to pair with youth to provide the critical support they need to navigate their time in foster care.