WENDY CHASE ARENSON, J.D., CSPG
Executive Director and President of the Jewish Community Foundation Orange County
Joining the Foundation in 2012, Wendy’s passion is community collaboration and donor engagement. Wendy led the implementation of both the Create a Jewish Legacy and Endowment Book of Life initiatives in Orange County, resulting in the creation of over 600 new legacy gift commitments, over 140% increase in assets held at the Foundation and a five-fold increase in grant funding.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Wendy completed her undergraduate degree at UC Irvine as a Phi Beta Kappa and was presented the Community Service Award. Wendy attended Loyola Law School and interned for the Western Law Center for Disability Rights. Starting out as a prosecutor in Los Angeles, she worked on variety of high-profile and public felony cases both at the District Attorney’s Office and as a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice, and she argued successfully in the California Supreme Court. While practicing civil litigation with an emphasis on appellate law for several years, Wendy devoted a great deal of time volunteering for a variety of different charitable institutions in Orange County and organized a number of Jewish cross-denominational, community building events.
Wendy and her husband of 25 years, Lance, enjoy camping (ideally with a chef and a guitar) and travelling with their three children.
Jeanne joined the Foundation in 2016 bringing with her experience in both non-profit and corporate finance. As Finance manager, Jeanne is responsible for finance, accounting and human resource operations. Prior to joining the Foundation, Jeanne was a Finance Manager/Director of Finance and Operations for Unisys Corporation for over 20 years, while representing Unisys in the local community with education scholarship programs and Junior Achievement. Jeanne made a career change to Controller for a private high school to make a larger impact on the local community during which time she began writing grants and business plans for local non-profit organizations. Jeanne currently serves on the board of a local food bank, a scholarship foundation and her local Rotary chapter. Jeanne received her undergraduate degree in Economics from UCLA and MBA from University of La Verne.
Donor Services & Administration Associate
Myrna Shields joined the Foundation team in 1992 bringing with her more than 10 years of experience serving as Operations Manager for a television station. Myrna dedicated 20 years to the Foundation retiring in 2012 from her position as Chief Operating Officer. In 2014 Myrna returned to work part-time. Having been a part of the Foundation since its beginning, Myrna has an invaluable understanding of the Foundation’s history and has established deep relationships with both our donors and our partner organizations. Today, Myrna assists with the day to day administration of the office and is an integral player on our donor services team.
Donor Services & Database Administrator
Taylor joined the Foundation team in early 2017. As Donor Services & Database Administrator, he supports donors and organizations in achieving their philanthropic goals, manages the Foundation’s suite of constituent relationship management software, including FIMS and DonorCentral, and processes grant requests for the Foundation. Taylor’s background includes fund development, volunteer recruitment, social media management, and event planning. Previously, Taylor worked as the Office Manager at a career exploration company, and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member specializing in fund development at a nonprofit focused on improving maternal health. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from UC San Diego, and his master’s degree in political science from CSU Fullerton.
Grants and Program Manager
Itamar joined the Foundation team in 2018. Itamar has an extensive background in program evaluation, project management, collaboration and grant writing. He has been involved primarily in grant management and community partnerships while working with the Jewish Federations in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Since 2001, Itamar has been leading a non-profit organizational development consulting practice with a diverse list of clients, such as The American Jewish University, The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and CalPoly Pomona’s School of Education. Itamar received his doctorate in educational leadership and organizations from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he also managed state-wide evaluation projects. An innovative and positive thinker with a passion for Jewish community development, Itamar is excited to be part of the JCFOC team and to help grow the Jewish community of Orange County.
Megan joined the Foundation team in 2018 as Marketing Coordinator. Megan is responsible for creating a cohesive brand image for the Foundation, including publishing our quarterly newsletter, maintaining our website, and designing marketing and promotional materials. Megan manages the Create a Jewish Legacy Program, one of the Foundation’s primary programs. In addition, Megan collaborates with the Executive Director to plan and manage logistics for the annual Endowment Book of Life donor appreciation event. Previously, Megan was the Operations Manager for her family-owned business. Megan has a passion for all things creative, including graphic design and interior design – and enjoyed running her own freelance hand-crafted invitations business. After growing up in Orange County, Megan attended the University of Haifa where she became fluent in Hebrew.