LAEF Proud to be Among Nationally Recognized Orange County Non-Profits Supported by City National Bank in 2020

Sponsors like CNB make it possible for all students in the Los Al District to enjoy enhanced educational experiences through program fee scholarships

IRVINE, CA – City National Bank today announced its philanthropic performance in Orange County for 2020 and the many nonprofit organizations and charitable causes it supported last year. The bank contributed monetary and in-kind support of over $1.2 million to 53 nonprofits, schools and community organizations in 2020, which was impressive given the challenges the bank faced with its own profitability.

The bank also announced that its volunteer support reached significant levels again last year as part of its philanthropic performance and mission. While bank colleagues were not able to provide the level of in-person volunteer outreach in 2020 due to COVID-19, they were still able to donate more than 750 hours of volunteer service through virtual volunteerism such as reading to students, teaching online financial literacy classes to K-12 students, board and committee virtual calls, packing and shipping school supplies to elementary schools, and much more.

“What we did this past year, along with what we are continuing to do this year from a philanthropic standpoint, is perhaps some of the most important work we’ve ever done in our 67 year history,” said Joe McHugh, senior vice president and Orange County regional banking manager of City National Bank. “We have always been there for our clients and communities, and we will absolutely continue to be there for them during these challenging times. I am so proud of our bank and what our colleagues have done to help so many nonprofits keep their doors open to help a growing group of people and families in need.”


McHugh highlighted the bank’s volunteer support of its Annual Back to School Supplies Drive as a great example of how the bank looks for ways to help meet the needs of communities in Orange County beyond its monetary support. “Giving back to the communities we serve is not only the right thing to do, it is also part of City National’s culture,” said McHugh.

Following is a list of some of the nonprofit organizations throughout Orange County that City National helped with monetary, in-kind and volunteer support in 2020:

  • California State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation
  • Elephant Club
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Hoag Charity Sports
  • Innovative Housing Opportunities Inc.
  • Los Alamitos Education Foundation
  • My Good Deed
  • Orange County Museum of Art
  • Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Small Business Development Corp. of Orange County
  • United Way – Orange County
  • University of California Irvine Foundation

City National contributes financial, in-kind and volunteer assistance to nonprofit institutions and organizations that enhance the quality of life and promote public interest where the company conducts its business.  The main areas of the bank’s community outreach include education, health and human services, community development, and arts and culture.

Fundraising February Replaces LAEF’s Royal Gala, Stone Appointed King

LAEF’s 2021 King Dr. Gregg Stone

The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) announced last week, that “Fundraising February for Los Al Kids” will take the place of LAEF’s signature fundraising event, The Royal Gala, this year. In addition, LAEF is proud to announce that the campaign’s king honoree is Dr. Gregg Stone. The LAEF Board of Directors selected the Interim Principal of Los Alamitos High School to be crowned king and serve as the LAEF royal ambassador for the year!

“2020 was a tough year for everyone,” said LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue. “LAEF funding is down $400,000, so many of our services are at-risk of cancelation, including mental health & wellness support, fee waiver scholarships for families in need, free elementary world language classes, the STEAM initiative, and more.”

Since holding their eighth annual Royal Gala is not an option at this time, LAEF teams will be contacting individuals and businesses throughout the Los Al community to donate. The community is also invited to participate in an online auction taking place during the month of February.

Dr. Gregg Stone represents exactly what LAEF was looking for in an honoree during this difficult time. In August 2020, Dr. Stone came out of his recent retirement to serve as the Interim Principal of Los Alamitos High School in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He retired as the LAHS Principal in June 2019 after spending 21 years as Assistant Principal and Principal. Even in retirement, Dr. Stone spent the 2019-20 school year volunteering with LAHS counseling and assisting students needing additional academic and social-emotional support.

Stone’s leadership and connection to the Griffin community are unparalleled and he is the ideal leader for the LAHS community during this unprecedented time.  He regularly works evenings and weekends to monitor and communicate the ever-changing situation of the pandemic.  His “Thought-of-the-Week” messages have become legendary with LAHS families; they give thought provoking and wise perspectives on life and provide a big-picture view during very uncertain times.

“When we put out the call for nominations, the considerations focused on someone who demonstrates amazing support for Los Al kids, has longevity of service, is well respected in the community, and a strong supporter of LAEF.  Dr. Stone was the perfect choice! He is a humble and gracious leader who cares deeply for our District community, and we are so excited to honor him through this campaign,” said Logue.

Proceeds from LAEF’s Fundraising February for Los Al Kids will support the launch of the middle school Well Spaces, which provide mental health and wellness services at Oak and McAuliffe Middle Schools.  LAEF donated $60,000 to build out the spaces and is working to develop programing and services in conjunction with district administration.  Donations will also directly fund teachers for free elementary world language classes, which are taking place online for the 2020-21 school year and include Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, French and American Sign Language.  The STEAM initiative and providing fee waiver scholarships for families in need continue to be areas funded by LAEF donor contributions.

LAEF Donates $45,000 for STEAM!

Pictured from left to right are Lee Principal Amy Vento, Weaver Principal Dr. Todd Schmidt, Oak Principal Erin Kominsky, McGaugh Principal Dr. Issaic Gates, Los Alamitos Elementary Principal Gary Willems, Hopkinson Principal Evelyn Garcia, LAHS Principal Dr. Gregg Stone, Rossmoor Principal Amy Coltey and McAuliffe Principal Dr. Ryan Weiss-Wright.

The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) was proud to donate $5,000 to each Los Alamitos Unified school campus this month, for a total of $45,000 to support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) instruction across the district.

“Even during these trying times, LAEF is committed to its mission and continues to provide funding in critical areas impacting all students,” said LAEF Board Chair Tom Lent. LAEF has experienced a drastic drop in revenue this year due to limited class schedules and cancelled fundraising events, however the Board felt strongly about continuing these donations in the important area of STEAM.

LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue presented checks to all district principals last week and said, “It was amazing to see the gratitude from all of the school principals for this gift that will allow them to continue STEAM education even in the middle of an unprecedented year.” STEAM donations will help enhance and support programs on Middle and High School campuses and principals are committed to finding ways, even this year, to enhance and inspire student engagement in STEAM and Computer Science classes. At the elementary level, LAEF continues to partner with the “Friends of” groups at each school to provide students with an enhanced educational experience from credentialed teachers and help extend the STEAM Initiative across the district.

To date, LAEF has donated a total of $225,000 to support the salaries for Elementary School Media Center/STEAM teachers and a total of $97,500 to middle schools and LAHS to support STEAM programs.

The STEAM donations are due to the community’s support of LAEF’s King & Queen of Hearts campaign. The campaign ended on February 7th at the Royal Gala and raised over $135,000. The current Queen of Hearts is retired superintendent Dr. Sherry Kropp. This year’s Royal Gala will look a little different with a Fundraising February campaign in lieu of a traditional gala. LAEF will continue to honor a member of our community with strong ties to the district and the foundation. With the community’s help, LAEF will continue to raise money for funding in critical areas.

LAEF Applauds Los Al USD Staff’s Courageous Efforts

Dr. Andrew Pulver presenting at the 2019 State of the District

Each fall, the Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) is proud to partner with Los Alamitos Unified School District’s Superintendent to host the annual State of the District breakfast event.  As with so many events in 2020, this year’s breakfast had to be canceled.  “We were holding out hope that the event could take place, but we are now officially canceling this year’s event due to the ongoing pandemic and gathering restrictions,” states LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue.

LAEF decided that, although it has been a very trying year, Los Al Unified staff has worked incredibly hard and has shown tremendous courage for the children of our community. With that in mind, LAEF compiled a video timeline for the community to view which shows how staff has risen to the challenge of a global pandemic and supported Los Al kids through determination, patience, and love.  It features dates, events, photos, and videos about school closures this spring and the reopening under a hybrid model this fall.  It is posted to the LAEF YouTube Channel and the LAEF website (

The State of the District breakfast is typically an opportunity to connect with community members and parents who are passionate about education and the district.  Even though the event isn’t taking place, Alamitos Eye Care has stepped up to support again this year and has been deemed the Legacy Sponsor.  They have been the title event sponsor since the event inception in 2014.

“Especially this time of year, we reflect on the many things for which we are thankful,” continues Logue, “On behalf of the LAEF Board of Directors and Staff, we appreciate and applaud the incredible efforts of the Los Alamitos USD School Board, Administration and Staff for their endless spirit of determination to teach, serve and support every Los Al kid!”

LAEF Donates $35,000 for Middle School Well Spaces!

LAEF presents a check to Oak Principal Erin Kominsky and McAuliffe Principal Ryan Weiss-Wright for construction of the Middle School Well Spaces.

 The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) was proud to donate an additional $35,000 last month for the construction of Well Spaces at both district Middle Schools – Oak and McAuliffe.  This donation, along with the $25,000 LAEF donated last year to the mental health department, makes a total of $60,000 donated by LAEF for this construction project.   This also marks the fourth year in a row that LAEF has made mental health a priority in funding.

A classroom has been transformed at each middle school to create the Well Spaces.  They are centrally located on each campus so students can easily access the space.  Psychologists, Guidance Counselors, and Mental Health Counselors will support students in the space, which will provide a calm, safe and supportive environment to assist students with issues (i.e., self-esteem, depression, peer relations, etc.) that impact their ability to achieve their highest potential. 

“Establishing a well space at McAuliffe fulfills a huge need for our school community. As we actively seek to provide education around social and emotional wellness, the creation of this physical space goes above and beyond what we could’ve dreamt of for this work,” said Dr. Ryan Weiss-Wright, McAuliffe Principal.

The Well Spaces could not come at a better time.  With school shutdowns and COVID lockdowns, youth are dealing with more stress than ever.  The Centers for Disease Control surveyed Americans on their mental health at the end of June 2020 and young people seem to be the hardest hit group.  For ages 18-24, one in four respondents said they had “seriously considered” suicide in the past 30 days.  Experts believe and early studies suggest that youth suicide and suicide attempts will increase, as it was already at a record high before the pandemic.   The loss of regular contact with peers and adults outside the home, something critical to a teenager’s development, has been disrupted.  Reports show that connectedness to school and community programs that help with coping and problem-solving skills can help with suicide prevention, which will be a function of the Well Spaces.

“The Well Spaces are a wonderful example of creating partnerships to greatly benefit our students,” said Grace Delk, Los Alamitos Director of Special Education and Mental Health.  “The Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) is providing the educational expertise, Children’s Hospital Orange County (CHOC) provides the medical expertise and furnishings, LAEF provides the construction funding and ongoing operational costs, and our district staff facilitates the process and staff the spaces.  The Well Spaces will be a one-stop-shop to increase access to supports and decrease mental health stigma, and it wouldn’t be possible without this collaborative effort.” 

“The Oak staff and students are grateful for the newest addition of our Well Space on the Oak Campus.  This new student-centered space will support our efforts to promote social/emotional health for all students on campus,” said Erin Kominsky, Oak Principal.  “Our students have been instrumental in the design of this space and we are excited to watch their eyes light up as their visions become reality.   Thank you LAEF!”

This donation is possible because of LAEF’s major donor group: the Los Al Leadership Circle (LALC).  LALC members are distinguished, significant supporters of LAEF’s visionary work who commit to donating a minimum of $1,000 annually.  To learn more, please visit

LAEF Offering On-Campus Camps and Virtual Classes

Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) is very excited to bring its fall programming to Los Al schools and online starting at the end of September!  Although LAEF’s After School Programs will look a little different this year, students will recognize many of the same LAEF teachers and classes they have grown to know and love over the years!  Both On-Campus Camps and Virtual Classes will be available to families this Fall.

On-campus Camps will run in two 5-week sessions.  Session 1 is September 28 through October 29 and Session 2 is November 9 through December 17.  Camps will meet twice weekly, Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday, for two hours and begin 10 minutes after school concludes.  Camp cohorts will consist of 10-14 kids and will take place primarily outdoors.  Camps include Skateboarding, Lego Engineering, Acting, Chess, Breakdance, Science, Food Exploration, a variety of sports and more!  Camp offerings vary by school and all school flyers can be found at   All in-person camps are aligned to the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Day Camps guidelines.

Virtual enrichment class options will also be available.  Virtual classes will run for 11 weeks from September 28 through December 18.  Virtual classes will meet one time per week for 50 minutes at either 3pm or 4pm, with class sizes of 10-30 students.  LAEF is proud to offer all of its FREE World Language classes for 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade virtually this fall.  In addition, students will have the opportunity to choose from our fee-based virtual 3D Design & Modeling, Musical Theater, Art Exploration and Game Builders classes.

“We welcome all Los Al kids to enroll in any of our classes and camps.  You do not need to be on the “traditional” track to attend the on-campus camps.  You do not need to be enrolled in “LosAl@Home” to attend our virtual classes.  Families are invited to participate in any program that interests their child and suits the needs of their family,” says LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue.

Registration is now open for Session 1 Camps and Virtual Classes at   You can find school flyers, class descriptions, teacher bios, and COVID guidelines on the website.   Early bird registration and pricing ends on September 21.     Multi-class discounts are available for individual students or families.  Fee waiver scholarships are available for families in need on a limited basis and LAEF will accept scholarship applications through September 21.

LAEF looks forward to welcoming students back on-campus and online this fall for enrichment opportunities.

LAEF Announces August Summer Enrichment Camps

The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) is excited to offer Enrichment Camps from August 3-14 for kids entering grades TK-5.  Enrichment camps will be held in-person on elementary school campuses.  Each grade-level camp will include academic, enrichment, outdoor activities, and community building activities.  Camp cohorts of 8-17 students will be kept intact throughout the entire week.  In addition to the grade-level camps, STEM Camps are also being offered.  STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.

LAEF has worked diligently to create COVID-19 guidelines that are aligned with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Day Camps guidance, CDPH School-Based Program guidance, and the Orange County Department of Education’s Orange County Together: Guide to Reopening Schools in the COVID-19 Era.

“Once we knew that school would not begin until August 31, we knew that families would be looking for additional opportunities for their children.  As a parent, I am seeing firsthand how my eight-year-old daughter is craving interaction with her peers and is sliding in her academics and emotional health,” said Carrie Logue, LAEF’s Executive Director.  “We have designed the camps to have an academic component, but a large focus is to bring children back together in a safe environment.”

The LAEF Enrichment Camps mission is to reconnect students with a teacher, their peers, and the classroom environment through a fun, enriching, academically engaging, and emotionally safe summer camp.

Camp 1 will run August 3-7 at Rossmoor Elementary.  Camp 2 will run August 10-14 at Weaver Elementary.  All camps will be held from 9:00am to 12:00pm daily with additional camps from 12:45-3:45pm.  Camp guidelines only allow students to be enrolled in one camp per week.

The camp fee is $175 until July 27 and $190 thereafter.  Multi-class discounts are available – 10% off of the 2ndcamp and 15% off additional camps.  To find camp descriptions, teacher bios, COVID-19 guidelines and registration details, please visit  Fee scholarships are also available to those who quality at

LAEF is the non-profit partner of Los Alamitos Unified School District. LAEF enhances educational excellence by providing after-school and summer enrichment programs to children in grades Pre-K to 12. LAEF impacts all students by providing significant funding for STEAM teachers and instruction, as well as igniting new programs and providing valuable resources.

LAEF’s First Virtual Summer Enrichment Institute is a Success

(Los Alamitos, CA) Each year, LAEF’s Summer Enrichment Institute (SEI) is an essential part of summer for Los Al parents and students alike, offering fun and educational learning opportunities for students in grades TK-8, and a much-needed break for their parents. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, LAEF launched this indispensable program virtually and with great success!

LAEF’s first session of Virtual SEI was launched on June 8 and Session 2 began on June 22, offering over 46 fun and academic enrichment classes to nearly 600 students. Session 2 wraps up on July 2.

“I’m so impressed with our teachers, parents, students and staff,” stated LAEF Programs Manager, Mike Kahn.  “Teaching, sharing and learning virtually posed some challenges in the beginning, but everyone embraced the new format and, as a result, the kids had a great time learning and parents were still able to enjoy a nice break.”

Typically, on the last day of each session, family and friends are invited to join their child’s class so the students can share their final projects and presentations with them. On June 19th, the final day of Session one, parents and friends joined the virtual classrooms to enjoy watching their children’s presentations. Parents and teachers alike shared fun photos and videos of their kid’s projects throughout the session with LAEF staff, who created a highlight video that can be viewed on the LAEF website at:

LAEF’s Queen Helps with Summer Enrichment Institute!

LAEF Queen, Dr. Sherry Kropp handing out materials to Connor Gonzalez during LAEF’s drive-thru class kit pick-up service on June 4.

(Los Alamitos, CA) It is a tradition that LAEF’s Royals visit the Summer Enrichment Institute (SEI) each year.  Instead of a Royal Visit to one of our classrooms this year, LAEF’s reigning Queen, retired superintendent Dr. Sherry Kropp, made a visit to the LAEF offices last week to help distribute packets of materials to families who are taking one of LAEF’s virtual classes.   LAEF provided a drive-thru service last week and our Queen happily stepped in to help.  The families were very excited to have a Royal hand delivering materials them!

“It was so much fun to see so many families,” said Kropp about her time supporting Virtual SEI class kit distribution.

LAEF’s first session of virtual SEI began on Monday, June 8 with over 20 classes running.  Session 2 will begin on June 22 and run through July 2.   Fun and academic enrichment class offerings are available to students in grades TK-8.  Registration for Session 2 closes on June 14.  To register for classes and view flyers please visit

Dr. Sherry Kropp was crowned in February at LAEF’s Royal Gala and will reign until the next Royals are crowned in February 2021.  Dr. Sherry Kropp was appointed by the LAEF Board due to her strong ties to LAEF and the community, and her endless support of Los Al kids.  The Royal Gala benefits the LAEF STEAM initiative and the grand total raised was nearly $135,000! The funds were raised through business sponsorships, silent auction, live auction, online auction, donations and more.

LAEF’s Summer Classes – Early Bird Pricing Ends Soon!

Pictured is a student showing off his artwork from a LAEF Summer Art Class.

(Los Alamitos, CA) – The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) is excited to offer the 11th annual Summer Enrichment Institute (SEI) virtually!  Fun and academic enrichment classes offerings are available to students in grades TK-8 in two summer sessions (June 8-19 and June 22-July 2), all classes will be taught online.

The Early Bird special of $95 per class will be available through May 22.  After that, classes fees will increase to $110.  The final day to register for Session 1 is May 30 and the final day to register for Session 2 is June 12.  As always, LAEF is offering multi-class discounts. Purchase your first class, then receive 10% off the second class and 15% off any class thereafter. The discount can be applied to the family or individual student and is applied to LAEF’s Summer Enrichment Institute only.  To register for classes and view flyers with additional please visit

Classes run for 75 minutes and begin at 9:00am, 10:45am and 1:00pm.  Small class sizes of 8 to 30 students, taught by credentialed teachers via Google Meet, provide a great learning environment, help students make up for lost learning time this semester and help them avoid summer learning loss.  Elementary classes include Jumpstart for TK-5th grade, Spanish, rocketry, life science, writing, STEAM, voice & movement, kickboxing, gymnastics, art, and more.  Teachers are developing class kits with curriculum and supplies, which will be available for pick-up before the session begins.

For middle school students, 10:00 and 1:00 classes are offered virtually and include drawing & painting, law & criminal investigations, preparing for high school science, music enrichment and public speaking/debate.  LAEF is also offering two online opportunities for high school students: preparing for the college essay and health.