An investment in community

Philanthropy — and its positive impact on business — was the focus of this year's Coastline Community College Foundation luncheon, where innovators shared the art of making money while serving a greater good.

Wing Lam, co-founder and partner of Wahoo's Fish Taco, Susan Samueli, co-founder of the Samueli Foundation, and Shaheen Sadeghi, president and chief executive of the Lab Holding, LLC participated in a panel during the college foundation's 2012 Visionary Luncheon on March 23 at the Westin South Coast Plaza.

Seth Ellison, executive vice president of Alternative Apparel, Inc., moderated.

The three shared with the audience — more than 225 business leaders — how and why they believe giving back is important.

"It's the right thing to do," Lam said. "If you start with that ... it doesn't feel like work."

Lam supports local and national community-based events and serves on the boards of Share Our Strength, Juvenile Diabetic Research Foundation and Surfrider Foundation.

Doing business with the environment in mind has become part of society's fabric and is only becoming more necessary, said Sadeghi, who created the LAB Anti-mall and the CAMP.

He said consumers are now demanding it from businesses and corporations, and it's why his formula has to include the four C's: consciousness, community, culture and commerce.

"We look at each project and product to see if it has these virtues," he said. "It's part of our DNA, of what you have to do today."

Samueli left her career as a programmer and system engineer at IBM and co-founded the Samueli Institute, which works to advance the science of healing, in Alexandria, Va. She is also a board member of the Orangewood Children's Foundation, which houses abused children.

"When you're trying to give your time or money, you have to find something you're really passionate about, because then it's a really easy choice," she said.

During the luncheon, Coastline Foundation Executive Director Mariam Khosravani introduced the new Coastline Community College Newport Beach Center, which is set to open this fall.

The new campus will expand the college's reach in Orange County and will give Newport Beach a campus to call its own.

Coastline is not a traditional campus in that it holds classes and training in more than one place, including Costa Mesa, Garden Grove, Westminster and Fountain Valley.

Twitter: @MonaShadia

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