13th Annual National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert Recognizes Six Outstanding Honorees Who Are “Changing The World With A Giving Heart”

By Madeline Zuckerman

The Association of Fundraising Professionals CA (AFP), Desert Communities Chapter, will host its 13th Annual National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert at a brand new venue to support the ever-increasing attendance at this highly-anticipated event.

National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert will take place at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, California. The event commences at 11:00 a.m. with a reception, followed by the Awards Luncheon, and concludes by 1:30 p.m.

“The Coachella Valley is filled with remarkable philanthropists, making profound differences in the lives of many people,” stated Event Chair Brian Daly.

Harold Matzner, notable Valley Philanthropist and Owner of Spencer’s Restaurant, will be the Event’s Presenting Sponsor and Honorary Chair for the 7th consecutive year. KESQ TV’s Patrick Evans will again serve as Event Emcee.

“We have the good fortune to be living in not only one of the most beautiful and climate-friendly communities in America, but also in one of the most generous,” stated Harold Matzner. “I count it a great honor to be part of this Awards Celebration, and to be able to congratulate all the recipients,” Matzner continued.

This year’s Honorees are definitely outstanding role models who embody the true meaning of philanthropy:

OUTSTANDING PHILANTHROPISTS – JAMES and CAROL EGAN- In 1963, a newly married Pennsylvania couple, bravely set out for Southern California and unknown adventures. Their first vacation was spent in Palm Springs. Before leaving the desert Carol informed Jim that this is where she wanted to live someday. The Egans both share a passion for the arts and for supporting organizations that transform the lives of young people and others within the community. Their most passionate involvements include the Palm Springs Art Museum, Coachella Valley Repertory, The American Outreach Foundation, and the Palm Springs Unified School District. As Jim and Carol Egan see it “When you give, you get much more in return.” They consider it a privilege and joy to contribute their time, talents, and financial support to causes and people that enrich the lives of others.

OUTSTANDING FUNDRAISING VOLUNTEER – SALLY BERGER- Every once in a while, we meet someone with unstoppable fire and zest to promote and support worthy nonprofit causes. This is the essence of one of the finest volunteer fundraisers the Coachella Valley has ever known – Sally Berger. Now in her young 80s, she is a familiar face and beloved role model with a 24/7 commitment to philanthropy – a shining example of compassion, generosity and inspiration at the highest level in support of her favorite causes. The first thing Sally did upon relocating to the desert in 2004 was to phone Aubrey Serfling, President & CEO of Eisenhower Medical Center, to ask how she could help as a volunteer. Fifteen years later, Sally has served on several Boards at Eisenhower, gifted $545,000, and helped raise nearly $25 million for the hospital. IN 2016, Harold Matzner asked Sally to join the Board of McCallum Theatre, and since then she has stimulated nearly $200,000 in gifts and contributed personally at the Founder’s Level to help underwrite free performing arts education for 40,000 elementary school children annually.

OUTSTANDING PHILANTHROPIC FOUNDATION, CORPORATION, OR CIVIC SERVICE ORGANIZATION – REGIONAL ACCESS PROJECT FOUNDATION – For more than 27 years, the RAP Foundation has supported philanthropy with grant funding, and has also provided the capacity building services that nonprofits need to thrive via their Center for Nonprofit Advancement. The RAP Foundation provides grants in the areas of Health, Mental Health, and Juvenile Intervention to numerous local organizations. RAP supports numerous, smaller nonprofits at its Palm Desert office with affordable work space while promoting collaboration. The RAP Foundation is also heavily involved in community partnerships and collaborative ventures.

OUTSTANDING NONPROFIT FOUNDER – JO ROSEN, PARKINSON’S RESOURCE ORGANIZATION- When Jo Rosen’s husband Alan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he was the second loved one to receive this diagnosis. As Jo sought information and support, she soon realized that while there were many organizations searching for a cure for Parkinson’s, none were providing direct assistance to those affected by the real day-to-day quality of life issues caused by the illness. Founded 29 years ago, PRO is providing vital services to families in the Coachella Valley and beyond. Thanks to Jo Rosen’s vision and tireless leadership, this amazing organization is the “go to” for resources and information.

OUTSTANDING YOUTH IN PHILANTHROPY – BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF PALM SPRINGS – KEYSTONE CLUB MEMBERS- The Keystone Club is a unique teen leadership development opportunity for young people ages 14 to 18. As a national program of the Boys & Girls Club of America, teens participate in activities such as academic success, career preparation, community service, and teen outreach. Keystone teaches its members to motivate and inspire their peers. In addition to their personal responsibilities, these teens not only contribute time to become mentors and role models to other kids in the Boys & Girls Club, but they also dedicate countless hours to make an impact in our community.

OUTSTANDING FUNDRAISING PROFESSIONAL–JUDI OLIVAS – Judi Olivas’ giving heart has guided her from the beginning as she began her career thirty years ago as a frontline social worker and advocate for victims of domestic violence and child abuse. Her work in social justice, crisis intervention, and community advocacy were key to a deep understanding and respect for social innovation and the impact created by social change philanthropy. Relocating to the Valley, Judi joined Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert, as Associate Executive Director for 15 years. Other past affiliations have included The Joslyn Center and OneFuture Coachella Valley. As a volunteer member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Judi has served as Board Secretary, President-Elect, Chair of National Philanthropy Day®, and is currently Chapter President.

Leading Underwriters for this year’s Awards Luncheon include Presenting Sponsor and Honorary Chair Harold Matzner and Award Sponsors H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, JoAnn McGrath, and Wells Fargo.

Luncheon Sponsors, as of August 30, include Bank of America, College of the Desert Foundation, Peggy Cravens, Desert Oasis Healthcare, Eisenhower Health, Helene Galen, Loma Linda University Children’s Health – Indio, Donna Macmillan, Madeline Zuckerman Marketing & Public Relations, Inc., McCallum Theatre, MUFG Union Bank, RAP Foundation, and Arlene Schnitzer.

Table Sponsors, as of August 30, include American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley, Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs, Cathedral City Senior Center, The Community Foundation, CSUSB Palm Desert, Desert Arc, Desert Cancer Foundation, Desert Care Network, James and Carol Egan, Family YMCA of the Desert, Friends of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Living Desert, Lotus Garden Center/Robert Walker & Ernest Phinney, Mama’s House, Merrill Lynch, The Relationship Group of Morgan Stanley, Palm Springs Pathfinders, Parkinson’s Resource Organization, Pathfinder Ranch/Fromberg Edelstein Fromberg, Read With Me, The Unforgettables Foundation, and UCR Palm Desert.

DESERT SUN MEDIA GROUP is this year’s Presenting Newspaper & Digital Media Sponsor. Exclusive Media Sponsors also include PALM SPRINGS LIFE, ALPHA MEDIA, and KESQ News Channel 3.

Individual tickets are on sale online for $75 per person. After November 1st, the price increases to $125 per person. For Registration and event information please visit or contact Event Chair Brian Daly at 760-469-8252 or

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