2023 Charley Awards
Every year the CHOC Foundation honors up to eight donors who have made a lasting impact on CHOC. These supporters are celebrated at our annual Charley Awards, where they are bestowed with our highest honor, the Charley Award, named after our prominent donor Charles Hester. Charley began his service at CHOC as a Hospital Board Member in 1976 and chaired the Board from 1985-1986 and again from 1990-1994. He also served as the Chairman of the Board of CHOC Mission.
The Charley Awards honor individuals and organizations who exemplify Mr. Hester’s ideals of philanthropy and volunteerism in service to CHOC and CHOC Mission. Each recipient has set high standards for the generous contribution of time, talent and philanthropy that have nurtured CHOC since its founding in 1964.
2023 Charley Award Honorees
BraveOnes Foundation was formed five years ago by the Kunze and Rosales families in honor of the Kunzes’ son, Hendrix, a CHOC neonatal intensive care unit and Neuroscience patient who passed away shortly after his first birthday. To date, BraveOnes Foundation has established their Meaningful Meals program to feed and bless thousands of CHOC families, donated art supplies and toys to the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Department, fully funded a mental health resource specialist position and helped fully fund the new Neuroscience Institute playroom—which is slated to open in 2025. By paying forward the meaningful support the Kunze family received during Hendrix’s treatment, BraveOnes Foundation has brought relief, encouragement and hope to countless CHOC families.
Kelly Lee Tarantello Outstanding Volunteer
Carol Cox has held many distinctions: pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) nurse, Circle of Life planned gift donor, PICU and Spiritual Care volunteer, Gloria Munoz Spirit of Volunteerism Award recipient, ethics committee member and regular CHOC Walk participant, among others. After a nursing career that spanned four decades, Carol retired in 2009 to find that, ever since, her passion for patients has led her to serve as a CHOC volunteer. By going above and beyond in pursuit of children’s health, Carol has exuded compassion, energy, dedication and warm smiles to the countless number of professionals, patients and families she serves with and cares for.
Nick G. Anas, MD Outstanding Medical Staff Member
Dr. Michael Weiss
Dr. Michael Weiss, has built a scope and standard of care over three decades that have transformed the face of Orange County pediatrics. Dr. Weiss was instrumental in launching CHOC’s WellSpaces, a rapidly growing initiative that offers on-campus, thoughtfully designed spaces that promote coping and resilience to Orange County schools and students. As vice president of Population Health at CHOC, Dr. Weiss coordinates further community care efforts through the CHOC Health Alliance’s network of over 350 primary care providers who care for more than 160,000 patients ages 0-21. By contributing to the Nick G. Anas, MD Research and Education Endowment, the CHOC Gala and other signature events, Dr. Weiss champions the greatest needs of our children through his professional and personal investment.
Outstanding Board Member
Tusdi Vopat exhibits an infectious commitment to CHOC that inspires ideas and action amongst her peers and the larger community. In her role on the CHOC Foundation Board of Directors, Tusdi has become an invaluable ambassador for all that CHOC is and what it strives to be; notably, she also serves on the CHOC Foundation Campaign Cabinet. Together, Tusdi and her husband Stuart passionately support CHOC’s wellness, mental health and WellSpace programs, while inviting others to join in their generous efforts—including welcoming more guests to their CHOC Gala tables each year and introducing them to the powerful work CHOC does for the community. By giving, inspiring and including, Tusdi personifies leadership through kindness.
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union has supported CHOC for 21 years as a longstanding Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals partner. An early benefactor of the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Department, SchoolsFirst has gifted children with creative therapies and in-hospital interactions that allow childhood to continue during treatment. SchoolsFirst also provided pivotal gifts toward the completion of the Bill Holmes Tower and acted as lead donor for CU4Kids’ generous donation for the Wellness on Wheels program, bringing mobile care and resources to underserved communities. With further philanthropic aid given to vital CHOC services, in-kind gifts and volunteer involvement at CHOC’s signature events, SchoolsFirst is wholeheartedly devoted to the health and future of our patients.