Laguna Beach nonprofits sound rallying cry for Giving Tuesday

Pageant Legacy Society member Julie Malino and Lyn Waldron flank a seat in Festival of Arts Laguna Beach's Irvine Bowl.
Pageant Legacy Society member Julie Malino, left, and Lyn Waldron flank a seat in Festival of Arts Laguna Beach’s Irvine Bowl.
(Courtesy of Festival of the Arts Pageant of the Masters)
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When Thanksgiving has passed, what’s your next move? Figuring out Black Friday deals, or eyeing shops you can support during Small Business Saturday? Maybe you hope to snag some online discounts on Cyber Monday.

A host of organizations doing work in Laguna Beach hope you’ll make room in your calendar on Tuesday, a time for giving thanks to nonprofit causes making a difference in the local community.

Started in 2012 in New York to initiate a wave of radical generosity — or the believe that the suffering of another is as intolerable as our own suffering — Giving Tuesday has since become a global movement that encourages people to support others through acts of kindness, volunteerism or philanthropy.


As the initiative celebrates its 10th year, a handful of local nonprofits are reaching out to residents in Laguna Beach and surrounding communities about how they can contribute to humanitarian causes.

Pageant of the Masters

Michelle Liggatt, as the Statue of Liberty, with red coats at the 2021 Pageant of the Masters "Made in America" show.
Michelle Liggatt, as the Statue of Liberty, waits backstage with red coats at the 2021 Pageant of the Masters “Made in America” themed show.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Having recently announced the theme of its 2023 production, “Art Colony: In the Company of Artists,” the Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach’s theatrical celebration looks ahead to its 90th year by honoring the connections and stories of artists assisting each other throughout history.

For Giving Tuesday, the Festival of Arts Pageant of the Masters encourages fans to join the Pageant Legacy Society — started in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic — by sponsoring one of 2,600 red seats inside the Irvine Bowl at the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach.

Seats may be named in memory of loved ones, recognition of a milestone or a celebration of times shared at the iconic spot. Opportunities range from $500 to $2,000, depending on location, and all proceeds from the campaign go toward student scholarships, cultural and educational programming and operational costs.

So far 250 individuals have become Pageant Legacy Society members, including San Diego resident Julie Malino, who’s attended Pageant of the Masters for a decade and opted to have her name engraved alongside significant other Lyn Waldon.

“We wanted to be a part of something that is bigger than us and helped us feel like we’re part of the larger community,” Malino said in a release issued Wednesday. “To be able to leave our mark with the Pageant and help make sure it returns year after year — it’s truly the best gift there is.”

To learn more, visit

Laguna Ocean Foundation

Hikers along the side of a deep tide pool in 2022 hope to see the resident octopus at the Montage in Laguna Beach.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

In 2002, a group of locals began the TideWater docent program to help educate visitors to Laguna Beach’s tidepools, kelp forests and offshore habitats about the delicacy of marine ecosystems for the purpose of preserving them for future generations.

That effort quickly became the nonprofit Laguna Ocean Foundation, an organization dedicating to preserving the city’s natural resources, including a campaign to restore a degraded Aliso Creek Estuary alongside the California Coastal Conservancy.

The group also trains tidepool educators to interact with the visiting public and share their love and knowledge of local flora and fauna, while tracking visits and contacts made.

In recognition of Giving Tuesday, the Laguna Ocean Foundation is seeking one-time or monthly donations that will go toward protecting and maintaining critical species and ecosystems within the Laguna area. For more, visit

Laguna Food Pantry

Volunteers organize goods inside the Laguna Food Pantry for drive-up distribution in 2018.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Providing fresh groceries to area families and residents in need, the nonprofit Laguna Food Pantry serves some 200 families daily and distributes an estimated 50 tons of nutritious groceries each week through its largely volunteer-run facility at 20652 Laguna Canyon Road.

Recipients need only show a form of ID to receive free groceries once a week, with no proof of need or Laguna Beach residency required. Pickup and drive-through service is provided Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., excluding holidays.

While many food items are rescued from local markets that might otherwise tax landfills, the pantry relies on the generosity of donors, grants and local churches, schools and government agencies.

Organizers are seeking the public’s support in a social media campaign operating under #NoOneGoesHungry. To learn more, visit or

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