Chris Simonsen

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OC Visionaries 2023

Chief Executive Officer
Orangewood Foundation

Chris Simonsen’s background is in finance and his career progressed to the point where he became the CFO of the Automobile Club of Southern California in 2005. Two years later, he made a significant career shift by becoming the CFO of Orangewood Foundation, a nonprofit in Santa Ana that serves teens and young adults who need assistance with housing, employment, education, and their physical/emotional wellness needs. In 2013, he was promoted to CEO of Orangewood Foundation which coincided with the creation of Orangewood’s public charter high school, Samueli Academy. The school campus and related $72-million capital campaign were recently completed.

As the Orangewood Foundation CEO, Simonsen has been the architect of an operating model that brings in revenue from several different sources, such as the state, county, and federal government and the private donor community.