With a full-time career and two small children, Costa Mesa lawyer Caroline Patterson still finds time to be the president of the Orange County chapter of Ladies Who Dine, a group of young professional women who turn food events into charitable giving. A Las Vegas native, Caroline came to Orange County to attend Chapman University law school and decided to stay. Today she practices real estate, business and employment law at Songstad, Randall, Coffee and Humphrey and is expecting her third child in November.
She got the idea for Ladies Who Dine from a childhood friend who founded the original Las Vegas chapter in 2013. Caroline liked the concept and started the Orange County group in 2015. She knows that young working women are so busy with jobs and families that it’s difficult to find time for philanthropy. Ladies Who Dine raises money and brings awareness to local nonprofits by hosting dinners at local restaurants. Caroline finds that hosting after-work food and cocktail events is an easy, convenient way to give back to the community. Because women’s empowerment is important to the group, Ladies Who Dine also supports local women-owned businesses by hosting events at their stores or restaurants.
Last year, MOMS Orange County was the first local recipient of a Ladies Who Dine event held at True Food Kitchen in Newport Beach. The “Diaper Drive” brought in 2,500 donated diapers, along with clothing and other baby items. As the group learned more about MOMS Orange County, they also adopted a family at Christmas last year, through MOMS’ Adopt-a-Family Program. This year, a fundraising dinner will be held on September 14th at The Boathouse Collective in Costa Mesa.
“People want to give back to the community but don’t know how,” said Caroline. She first found MOMS Orange County on the OneOC.org website. Being new to the area, she wanted to learn more about local nonprofits. She came across MOMS, and it struck a chord with her because she just had her second baby.
“Ensuring healthy pregnancies, healthy babies, and follow-up education is so important,” said Caroline. “Orange County professionals like me take these things for granted, so there is a need to bring awareness to low-income women who don’t enjoy the same privileges.” Ladies Who Dine usually gets 15 to 50 people participating at events, and most are working mothers.
When asked what she would say to other philanthropic organizations looking for a nonprofit to benefit, Caroline said, “MOMS Orange County is a great organization providing support completely free to its clients. The mission is to help low-income families have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, and to continue that help the whole first year after the baby is born. It’s not just about baby clothing and supplies, it’s about providing education for new parents.”
“Initially, most of the Ladies Who Dine members didn’t know anything about MOMS Orange County,” said Caroline. “When considering charitable giving, they usually go to more well-known national organizations. They didn’t realize there are local nonprofits like MOMS that need help too, right here in our community.”
For information on the Sept. 14 “Deliver Hope” event at The Boathouse Collective, please contact Amanda Warner, or (714) 352-3406.