member

Sue Grant

Founder/Board Chair

Sue Grant is a visionary whose passion to give the gift of literacy to struggling readers has fueled the formation and success of The Literacy Project.

Grant is a native Californian born and raised in Orange County. After graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in The School of Human Services and Community Development from California State University Fullerton, she also studied for her Master’s degree in Counseling and School Psychology. 

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The focus of her college education forged a desire to help troubled youth and thus began a lifelong journey to help those who needed it most. Throughout her career, she has been involved with bridging the literacy gap amongst these children dating as far back as serving on the PTA board of her own children’s elementary school. In 1988, she was recognized by the California Congress of the Parents, Teacher and Students, Inc. with the Honorary Service Award for her outstanding service to children and youth in literacy.

In 2003 as principal of her own PR firm, OC Public Relations, Grant was hired by The Regents of University of California, out of the office of the president, to help raise funds and awareness for a new literacy pilot program. After the first year, she developed an irresistible desire to further this project and donated her time, resources and connections for the next six years. In 2009, when “The New Phonics Gamecame off the production line, Grant seized the opportunity to create a nonprofit organization to provide the highly specialized reading program to the most at-risk struggling readers in impoverished environments.

What was once a lifelong career in OCPR to help nonprofit organizations strive became her own reality when she founded The Literacy Project to serve the purpose of solving reading problems amongst school-age children threatened to become illiterate adults.  To date, Grant’s vision and leadership have helped “bridge the literacy gap” by serving over 6,000 children throughout Southern California and raising over $2.9 million for the cause.

Grant has since become a founding member of the Coalition for Reading Excellence in Washington DC, a national voice promoting structured literacy.  Her passionate career led her to be featured as one of “OC’s Top 50 Business Leaders with a Cause” in the ON PURPOSE publication (2012).

Sue Grant’s lifetime interests have focused on serving school-age, at-risk children and literacy issues. She would tell you that there are many ways to save a life. The gift of reading is one of them.

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member

Cindy Galardi Culpepper

CEO, Wienerschniztel

Cindy Galardi Culpepper began her role as chairperson and CEO of Galardi Group, Inc. (GGI) in April, 2013, upon the passing of company founder John Galardi. Cindy’s relationship with the company began in 1980 when she married John Galardi and spent nearly three decades living closely to the brands he developed.

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John chose Cindy as his successor because he was confident in her ability as a leader, admired her hard-work ethic and dedication, and trusted that she would uphold the brand’s core values.

With the support of her talented executive team, Cindy is focused on the continued excellence and growth of the Galardi Group concepts: Wienerschnitzel (the world’s largest hot dog chain), Tastee Freez LLC, and Hamburger Stand. Setting aggressive goals for the company and franchisees, her vision for the future includes brand expansion, both nationally and internationally.

Since coming on board, Cindy has made charitable giving a priority and is committed to upping the amount of charity work and partnerships on behalf of the company. She is dedicated to strengthening GGI’s local ties and giving back to the communities in which the more than 380 GGI restaurants across the U.S. serve.

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member

Dennis Kuhl

Chairman, Angels Baseball

Dennis Kuhl enters his 13th year with the Angels in 2016 after joining the club on Nov. 10, 2003. He was initially appointed as the Angels’ seventh president before being promoted to club Chairman on Nov. 14, 2009. Kuhl continues to oversee the administration, along with a renewed effort in the area of civic affairs and community outreach. He also played a key role in working with Major League Baseball in the Angels hosting the 2010 All-Star Game.

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Kuhl is also actively involved in several Southern California charities. He serves as president of the “Light the Night” event which supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and is a founding board member of The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation/Lott Trophy. Kuhl works with Susan G. Komen for the Cure serving as a member of the Orange County Affiliate’s Board of Directors and is also one of their “Pink Tie Guys,” a select group of advocates speaking out to find a cure for breast cancer. Kuhl is a member of the Board of Governors at Chapman University, along with the board of directors for several nonprofits, including: the Los Angeles Sports Council, Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim, Tiger Woods Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association of Orange County. Additionally, he serves on the advisory board for the Irvine Public School Foundation and the Angels Baseball Foundation Board of Directors.

A Boonton, N.J. native, Kuhl graduated from the University of Arizona in 1970 with a degree in business administration. In 2009, he was named the ‘Business Man of the Year’ by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. He currently resides in Newport Beach.

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member

Robert DeVan

Community Leader

Robert DeVan has over 45 years of experience in business, the last 20 of which he operated as a CFO in the consumer goods industry. Robert has served on various Boards of Directors including the Credit Research Foundation in New York, the Credit Educational Foundation (President) in Los Angeles, and the North San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau (Treasurer).

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He also served as the City Commissioner in Finance & Banking for the City of Laguna Niguel. Robert received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Miami and was given an Executive Award from Stanford University Graduate School of Business in Palo Alto, CA.

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member

Lee Hausner, Ph.D.

Educational Psychologist

Senior Managing Director, First Foundation Advisors. Lee Hausner is an internationally recognized clinical psychologist, business consultant and family wealth advisor. She served as the senior psychologist for the Beverly Hills Unified School District for 17 years.

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An acknowledged expert on psychological issues involving wealth and wealth transfer, she was a presenter at the World Economic Forum in Davos and is a frequent participant at the high wealth/private client conferences for major financial institutions. Lee is co-author with Doug Freeman of “A Founder’s Guide to the Family Foundation”, published by the Council on Foundations, and “The Legacy Family…The Definitive Guide to Building a Successful Multigenerational Family.”

She is the author of the seminal work regarding wealth and the family; “Children of Paradise: Successful Parenting for Prosperous Families” and co-author of the critically acclaimed family business resource book “Hats Off to You 2: Balancing Roles and Creating Success in Family Business”. Lee is a graduate of Northwestern University (B.A., Psychology), San Francisco State University (M.A., Psychology), and Kensington University (Ph.D., Psychology).

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member

Arnie Rubin

Former Chairman & CEO, Funrise, Inc.

Arnie Rubin has been in the toy industry for over forty-five years, starting as a bubble mixer at Chemical Sundries in 1965. In 1969, he co-founded Imperial Toy Company and in 1987 he formed Funrise Toy Corporation. Funrise is best known for its Tonka “light and sound” emergency vehicles with working sirens and lights, which it has manufactured under license from Hasbro since 1999. Funrise produces the popular Gazillion® Bubbles line, which has grown to become the #1 Bubble Brand in the Nation (NPD Group) and has many popular licenses.

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Rubin is the past Chairman of the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and Toy Industry Association (TIA). In 2009, he was named to the Toy Safety Certification Program’s Oversight Council and elected as president of the International Council of Toy Industries and is a member if the ICTI Care Board of Governance.

In 2012, Rubin was named the 2012 Toy Industry Hall of Fame inductee. The official announcement was made by Carter Keithley, President of the Toy Industry Association (TIA). Established in 1984, the Toy Industry Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have significantly contributed to the growth and success of the toy industry. Rubin was recognized for his outstanding contributions and service to the toy industry during the T.O.T.Y. (Toy Of The Year) Awards ceremony held on February 11, 2012, in New York City. Rubin joined former inductees including Alan Hassenfeld and Al Verrecchia, Hasbro, Inc., John Lasseter, Walt Disney Company/Pixar Animation Studios, Sam Walton, Walmart, Neil Friedman and Charles Lazarus, Toys ‘R’ Us to name a few.

In addition to his support of the Toy Industry Foundation, Rubin has served on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Braille Institute, and was Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Institute for Families of Blind Children. He organized the Toy Run for Kids benefiting Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, which has brought donations of more than $100,000 annually.

 

 

 

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member

Jason Mandinach

Executive Vice President, PIMCO

Mr. Mandinach is an executive vice president and product manager in the Newport Beach office, responsible for credit- and mortgage-related investment strategies. Prior to joining PIMCO in 2010, he worked in business development for the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange. Previously, he was a vice president on the agency CMO

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desk at Bear Stearns. He has eight years of investment experience and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware.

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member

Daniel Charles Vaughn

Principal, Dan Vaughn Law

For more than 25 years, Mr. Vaughn has advised many local, national and international clients on all stages and aspects of real estate and business financing transactions including acquisitions, mergers, licensing, corporate, real estate financing and general banking matters. He has significant experience with construction, permanent conduit, government sponsored loans and bond financing;

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real estate syndications and offerings, including 1031 fractional interest programs and private real estate equity offerings; low income tax credit transactions; office, warehouse, and retail leasing; construction and architectural contracts; and domestic and international tax planning and asset protection. Mr. Vaughn’s experience also includes (i) acting as general counsel for companies such as Sabey Companies and American Capital Group, and (ii) serving on the board of directors, Audit Committee and Loan Committee, for Core Business Bank, an FDIC regulated bank located in Bellevue, Washington. His extensive experience has allowed him to effectively counsel many business entities with a wide number of issues that occur during the life cycle of a business organization.

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member

Paula Karcher

Philanthropist

Paula Karcher is a philanthropist and public speaker with a strong connection to the Coachella Valley, as well as her roots growing up in Orange County.

Along with her husband, Carl Leo Karcher, she has been involved in dozens of events, causes, and foundations which have definitely benefitted her community.

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Karcher continues to connect with her community and those in need around her through her many philanthropic efforts with her husband Carl.  They have been the recipients of the Annenberg Award for Leadership Giving, the YMCA Benefactor of Youth Award, the Spirit of Giving Award for the Grieving Teens/Youth for Christ organization, and recognized by the Tocqueville Society.

The Karchers are members of United Way of the Desert, and have been recognized as a couple by the Desert Arc Foundation which bestowed their Queen of Hearts Award to Paula and Carl.  Paula has also served as an “Aunt” for The Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation since 2007, has been a Board Member of Grieving Teens in Palm Desert for high school students since 2006, and has been a Board Member of the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert since 2006.

In addition to her philanthropic endeavors, Paula, in her 20’s was working in the medical industry and recognized its deficiencies, which led her to form two companies dealing with medical consulting and faith-based counseling.  She still remains an active advocate in the medical field lobbying for safety and new and more progressive treatment modalities in the areas of orthopedic, cosmetic, and preventative medicine.

Paula was a teacher for the Over Comers Program for mentally challenged adults for four years, and has been involved with Melodyland Christian Center embracing mental, as well as spiritual fitness.  She has spoken at schools, community organizations, churches, and non-profits presenting a wide range of topics including her passion for charitable giving.

Paula resides in Palm Desert with Carl and their two sons, Michael and Max. She enjoys all family and children activities, is passionate about philanthropy, travel and golf.

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member

Dr. Darryl S. Adams

Former Superintendent of Schools for the Coachella Valley Unified School District

Dr. Darryl S. Adams began his career as a professional musician, songwriter and music publisher. After ten years in the music business, he followed his love for music and went on to serve as a Music Teacher and Band Director, Middle School Assistant Principal, High School Assistant Principal, High School Principal, Director of Human Resources, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.

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Dr. Adams has been previously recognized as a Teacher of the Year in Los Angeles County. Dr. Adams earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Memphis, his Master of Education Administration degree from California State University, Los Angeles and his Doctoral degree from Azusa Pacific University.

Under Dr. Adams’ leadership, the Governing Board has approved “Measure X”, a 21st Century Teaching and Mobile Learning initiative that will place 18,000 iPads in the hands of all 18,000 CVUSD students along with the technology infrastructure to allow students to connect and learn all day, every day. Other initiatives of note are the Health, Wellness and K-12 Sports program which promotes healthy life long fitness and eating habits. Dr. Adams is leading the district to a new level of efficiency with the building of the new CVUSD Education and Community Support Center. The Center will allow the district to increase productivity and realize financial savings. The center will support the community by way of a state of the art Parent Resource Center, an expanded Adult Education center and a modern bus transportation division which will include shade structure for facility parking that will rely on solar panels to power the facility.

Dr. Adams has led the way in increasing the District’s financial stability. He is proud to have stabilized the district’s fiscal position which has resulted in no layoffs of Certificated or Classified employees over the last two years. Dr. Adams has implemented a collaborative servant leadership style and believes in working with the entire school community to realize the primary mission of education: Preparing all students for College, Career and Citizenship. Dr. Adams serves on the Board of Directors for United Way of the Desert, the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and the Ophelia Project.

 

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member

Jim Steele

President and Chief Revenue Officer, Yext

Jim joins Yext following two years at InsideSales, the industry’s leading sales acceleration and predictive analytics company. Previously, Jim served as President & Chief Customer Officer for Salesforce, where he had a remarkable 12-year run, helping grow Salesforce’s revenue to over $5B when he left in 2015.  With his new position, Jim will oversee Yext’s entire revenue organization, including direct sales, partner sales, customer service, account management, and professional services.

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“We could not be more excited to have Jim join our leadership team,” said Howard Lerman, Yext co-founder and CEO. “He is one of the most admired and accomplished sales executives in technology, with over 35 years of global sales and management experience at Ariba, IBM, InsideSales, and Salesforce. As we continue to expand globally, I could think of no better leader to help fuel our long-term growth.”

Jim is a Park City resident, works in New York City and interested in a second residence in Newport Beach in the near future. He and his wife Amy are active philanthropists for various causes in both Manhattan and Park City. Jim is a former national board member of Junior Achievement and now sits on the board of Park City Community Foundation. He has great passion for educational causes and believes he can bring national awareness to The Literacy Project.

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Founding Board of Directors

  • Douglas K. Freeman, Founding Chair 2009-2015
  • Dave Long
  • Fernando J. Niebla
  • The Late Marian Bergeson

Former Board of Directors

  • JoAnn Albers
  • Kathryn Brewer
  • Marshall Kaplan
  • Daniel Korpman
  • Jim Riskas
  • Ronna Shipman