Abbott part of fundraising effort

The KidWorks Foundation For Success Luncheon, which featured keynote speaker Jim Abbott, raised $550,000 net Nov. 14 at the Santa Ana Double Tree Hotel.

Abbott, a former Major League Baseball pitcher and a Newport Beach resident, delivered an inspirational message to a crowd that included business leaders, civic servants, educators and sports celebrities.

Pat and Paula Donahue were credited for underwriting of the event.

Funds raised support educational enrichment for children of Central Santa Ana who live in neighborhoods that has a presence of gangs. KidWorks serves children living in crowded housing conditions that are 10 times the national average, according to a press release. It is common for eight to 10 individuals in two to three families to share a two-bedroom apartment, with an average household income of under $20,000 for a family of five.

Abbott, born without a right hand, compared his own challenges to those facing the lack of opportunity resulting from abject poverty.

The former Angel pitcher's message had a theme of overcoming all odds in life.

Founded in 1993 by Jayme and Larry Acosta, KidWorks began as a small faith-based summer program. In a relatively short period of time it grew into a year-round educational support initiative and began to serve larger groups of children in multiple neighborhoods.

— From staff reports

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