Thanksgiving is almost upon us and the Community Clinic showed its gratitude to its supporters at a brunch on Sunday.
The Benefactors Brunch & Bubbly was held at Marshall and Joyce Linn's elegant hillside home with a fabulous view, scrumptious food and a guest list of some of the most caring people in town — some of whom received awards at the brunch.
Dr. Pamela Lawrence was honored by the Orange County Community Foundation with the Power Pack Philanthropist Award, for which she was nominated by the clinic.
"Pamela is being honored not only for her work with the Community Clinic, but for extraordinary commitment to make a positive impact on her patients and community," said foundation Vice President Tom Hanson.
"Her leadership, financial and volunteer support and personal caring have made direct improvements to the health and well-being of more than 5,000 patients."
Lawrence is immediate past-president of the clinic and will be serving her third term on the board. She also serves on the UC Irvine Emeriti Assn. and Emeriti Board, where she taught.
"I can think of 100 people who should be standing up here," Lawrence said "The clinic is a bright spot for people who have no place else to go when faced with an illness — no doctor, no insurance."
The award includes a $500 donation to the nonprofit of the recipient's choice. Not too hard to guess what that was.
Lawrence is also active in Healthy Laguna, a coalition that encourages healthy lifestyles, from eating and exercise to stress reduction.
Board member George Heed, the driving force behind the Clinic Foundation, presented the Legacy Donor of the Year Award to board member Marion Jacobs, author, educator and a clinical psychologist for 30 years.
"You have donated time, expertise, annual gifts and have been stellar in helping the clinic reach its endowment goals," Heed said.
Jacobs decided to leave money to the clinic from a charitable trust set up by her former husband, but she forgot to mention it to clinic Director Tom Bent until recently.
"I thought he was going to faint," Jacobs said.
Before the presentation, Heed paid homage to the guests at the brunch.
"Everyone here is a hero," Heed said. "We are able to see more patients and deal with folks who have immediate needs."
The clinic has offered medical care to the underserved for 42 years on a sliding-fee basis to anyone in need.
"We went from a free clinic to a little known community clinic to a major force in medical services in Laguna Beach," Heed said. "A lot has been done in the past four years due to the unmatched efforts of Tom and his wife Carolyn, a matched pair."
Bent, who has been involved with the clinic since 1982, announced that he and his wife were also leaving a gift from their estate, due to the generosity of her father — and then dropped his bombshell — the result of a visit to the clinic by Mark Porterfield, who heads up the PIMCO Foundation.
"He came by on Friday," Bent said. "I was chatting him up and mentioned that we had not received a grant from PIMCO this year and Bill and Sue Gross [Bill Gross is PIMCO's founder] are generous, but they don't accept requests.
"Mark reached into his pocket and pulled out a wadded piece of paper. It was a $50,000 check from Bill and Sue," Brent added.