Elizabeth Pearson, director of development, and Karen Wood, executive director of the Laguna Playhouse. (Coastline Pilot / December 5, 2012)

The Laguna Beach Community Foundation made the holiday season merrier for 25 local nonprofits.

A total of almost $95,000 was distributed Monday at the Hotel Laguna to groups that benefit Laguna Beach, honoring contributions to health and human services, art and culture, education and the environment.

"Look around you — this is the heart and soul of Laguna," said foundation Chair Laura Tarbox.

The audience included hotel owner and event sponsor Georgia Andersen and Mayor Jane Egly, who was enthusiastically applauded when she spoke — her last official act as mayor.

"If I had gotten that many votes … maybe this wouldn't have been my last official act," she joked, before doling out compliments. "This foundation is a wonderful idea. It enhances the opportunity for those in Laguna Beach who do good things."

Grants ranged from $400 to $10,000 this year, with the top two awards going to the Boys & Girls Club and the My Hero Project.

The club's grant will be used for environmental programs. My Hero will use half of its grant to fund the Media Arts Educators Program in Laguna to mentor and create eco-heroism and emergency preparedness and the other half for equipment upgrades.

Both grants and five others were donated in partnership with the Massen Greene Foundation.

The partnership awarded $7,500 to the Crystal Cove Alliance to support the Environmental Study Loop at Moro Day Use Area and to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center for animal care and education programs.

The Glennwood Housing Foundation's project for young adults with developmental disabilities and the Laguna Beach Garden Club received $5,000 grants.

A $4,500 grant was awarded to Seeds Arts and Education Inc. to fund a public workshop series on the prevention of childhood obesity.

Other 2012 grants were made possible by donations from W.L. Lyons Brown III, Donnie Crevier, Susie and Jim Jaqua, John L. Campbell Insurance Agency and the Newport Beach Book Club.

Community Clinic Board Chair Roya Cole accepted the $8,000 check that will pay for about 50 patient visits.

Laguna Beach Seniors Inc. was granted $5,000 to support case management and grief counseling. South County Cross Cultural Council, Shanti Orange County and Laguna Art Museum each received $4,000 grants.

The foundation's $3,500 check to the Laguna Relief & Resource Coalition will buy meat and eggs to fulfill their client families' most frequent request.

Laguna Playhouse Executive Director Karen Wood didn't even make it back to her seat with the playhouse's $3,000 foundation check before Development Director Elizabeth Pearson snatched it.

"Easy come, easy go," Wood joked.

Laguna Beach High School Scholarship Foundation's $2,000 check will help set up a new scholarship nonprofit following the termination of its relationship with Scholarship America. Laguna Beach Live! will use its $2,000 grant to support the Music Town Initiative, including Laguna Music Festival outreach programs. The PTA's $2,000 grant will fund Coffee Break programs that support and improve parent education, including a program on bullying. Laguna Outreach for Community Arts will fund operations with its $2,000 grant.

Thousand-dollar checks went to Laguna Ocean Foundation, Laguna Bluebelt, Laguna Beach Dance Festival, Laguna Greenbelt and No Square Theater.

"Bravo," said Carole Reynolds, as she accepted the $500 check on behalf of the Laguna Community Concert Band, which she helped to found.

Fete de la Musique, which Reynolds also helped found, received a $400 check, presented to Laguna Beach Sister Cities Assn. President Karyn Philippsen.

"During the last two years, thanks to the big-heartedness of donors with charitable funds at the foundation, we granted more than $2 million dollars to nonprofits in Laguna and across the nation [where specified by the donor]," said Darrcy Loveland, foundation president and chief executive officer. "In addition to today's grants, we also awarded $164,900 to 29 other nonprofit organizations that serve Laguna Beach residents."

Organizations that did not receive grants were encouraged to reapply.

"We can't fund every group, but those we can't today doesn't mean we can't tomorrow," said Cathy Krinsky, grants committee chair.

Tarbox couldn't let the opportunity pass to make a pitch for donations.

"I have seeded the Founders Circle of the Laguna Beach Community Enrichment Fund with a $100,000 donation," Tarbox said. "Step right up. Any amount is welcome."

Coastlinepilot@latimes.com

Twitter: @coastlinepilot