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Southern California Office

UNICEF: Southern California

10351 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 402
Los Angeles, CA 90025
310.277.2757 (fax)



Anne Kelly, Regional Managing Director
Amber Hill, Deputy Director
Emily Distel, Major Gifts Officer
Paula Gomez, Officer
Annie Kim, Global Citizenship Fellow

The Southern California Regional Office is grateful for the support of its local Board of Directors and an army of volunteers.

Upcoming Events

Now in its fifth biennial, The UNICEF Ball is one of the most notable black-tie galas in LA, bringing together philanthropists, celebrities, and community leaders to support UNICEF’s mission of saving the lives of children. To be held on Tuesday, January 14th, 6:30PM, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the evening is a celebration of UNICEF’s work, as well as a tribute to the outstanding humanitarians who make our work possible. Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth will perform at this highly-anticipated affair.  

The 2014 Honorees

Ghada Irani has long been interested in the welfare of the world’s children. As her philanthropic priority, she brings UNICEF her knowledge of world affairs, her relationships with world leaders, and her contacts and expertise in local civic and business affairs. 

Michael Douglas, Academy Award-winning actor and producer, has served as a UN Messenger of Peace since 1998. His work has helped the UN bring attention to the plight of child soldiers by hosting a documentary filmed in Sierra Leone that was part of a UN/Showtime series “What’s Going On?” He is also fiercely committed to disarmament issues and focuses public awareness on the UN’s efforts to strengthen peace and security.

For more information on The UNICEF Ball, please contact Robin Winston at unicefball@WinstonEvents.com or visit www.unicefball.org.  

Recent Events

On September 24th, we welcomed Lawrence O’Donnell, Journalist and Host of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, as the feature presenter in our Saving Children: A Speaker’s Series.  Mr. O’Donnell launched the K.I.N.D.


(c) E. Chagara/UNICEF, 2013

(Kids in Need of Desks) Fund with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF after visiting Malawi in 2010 and witnessing first-hand the great need for basic educational supplies.  In Malawi, only 1 in 5 school children can sit at a proper desk.  On that trip, Mr. O’Donnell was able to furnish a single classroom with desks in just one week by contacting UNICEF and funding production with local manufacturers.  Inspired, he agreed to spread the word about the great need in Malawi to his television audience.  Since then, the K.I.N.D Fund has raised more than $5.6 million.  By the end of 2013, the program will have enabled UNICEF to reach a total of 221,596 students.

Recently, the K.I.N.D. Fund expanded its mission to provide scholarships to girls in rural Malawi who are at risk of dropping out of school due to extreme poverty.  The scholarship fund supports basic requisites to learning including tuition fees, examinations fees, school uniforms, learning materials/aids and other materials that encourage girls to stay in school. 

For more information on the K.I.N.D program, please contact Paula Gomez at pgomez@unicefusa.org or 310-277-7608.

Previous presenters in the Saving Children Series include:

Reaching the Most Marginalized: Children with Disabilities: Cara Yar Khan, UNICEF Disability Specialist in Haiti
A Story of Redemption and Hope: Ismael Beah, Author and Former Boy Soldier
Child Trafficking: A Global Crisis: Dr. Susu Thatun, UNICEF Child Protection & Child Trafficking Specialist and Sandie Morgan, Former Administrator, OC Human Trafficking Task Force
Opening Hearts, Opening Minds: Lisa Ling, Television Host of Our America
Children at Risk in China: Lisa See, best-selling author of Shanghai Girls
Children's Issues in India: Anil Kapoor, actor, Slumdog Millionaire
Why Do They Run Away: Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique's Journey

For more information on Saving Children: A Speaker's Series, please contact Paula Gomez at pgomez@unicefusa.org 310-277-7608.

Regional Fundraising Campaigns

Chinese Children’s Initiative

Led by the Southern California Regional Board Chair, John Maatta, The Chinese Children’s Initiative encourages individuals and businesses in the region to support the work of UNICEF on behalf of the most vulnerable children of China.

The life reality for millions of children living in rural poverty-stricken communities in China is comparable to conditions in the least developed countries. About 100 million children in China live in homes that subsist on incomes of less than $2.00 per day. The magnitude of the issues confronting millions of Chinese children will require decades of concerted efforts on the part of the Chinese government in cooperation with international development organizations.

The proceeds of all the many efforts of the UNICEF Chinese Children’s Initiative will support the multi-faceted work that UNICEF is doing today and every day to alleviate the desperate situation confronting millions of vulnerable Chinese children.  To learn more information on the Chinese Children’s Initiative, please contact Paula Gomez at pgomez@unicefusa.org 301-277-7608. 

Children with Disabilities

Speaker Series LA 2013

Together with her daughter, Lucy, Southern California Regional Board Member Jamie Meyer is forwarding UNICEF’s very important agenda of ensuring the rights of children with disabilities.   Lucy has cerebral palsy and is fortunate to have many resources and opportunities that other children with disabilities often do not have, especially in the developing world. 

Far too often, children with disabilities are among the last in line for resources and services, especially where these are scarce to begin with.  UNICEF estimates that there are 93 million children who have disabilities but it’s hard for even UNICEF to know because these children are hidden away. They often are cut off from the health and education services they deserve. Even worse, children with disabilities are three or four times more likely to be abused or taken advantage. 

In times of significant events, such as the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, children with disabilities are often ignored.  UNICEF believes that all kids have the right to play sports. For this reason, UNICEF started REJUPE, a program that engages 660 Brazilian teenagers, many of whom have disabilities, working together to prepare recommendations for the government on sports policies for all youth.  REJUPE develops leadership skills in teenagers so they can help make their schools and their communities better for all children, including children with disabilities. 

Your support of Jamie and Lucy’s regional effort to raise money for children with disabilities will make sure that even after the World Cup ends, Brazil will remain a safe and inclusive place for youth sports.  For more information, please contact Paula Gomez at pgomez@unicefusa.org or 310-277-7608.

Young Ambassadors for UNICEF

Young Ambassadors for UNICEF is an innovative program pioneered in Los Angeles that joins together over 50 students, ages 10-15, to campaign on behalf of UNICEF and the Eliminate Project. They serve as the voice of children all around the world and advocate for UNICEF’s work in their communities. The Young Ambassadors also host their own grassroots fundraisers to help the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) by 2015 become a reality.

As of September 2013, the Young Ambassadors in Southern California have raised enough funding to provide vaccinations, health education, training of birth attendants and more that will protect over 45,000 women.

Volunteer Opportunities

U.S. Fund for UNICEF volunteers have played a vital role in helping advance global change since our inception in 1947. Volunteers are essential to the Southern California Regional Office in the areas of fundraising, education and advocacy.

To learn more about all of UNICEF's volunteer opportunities—including Youth Action, Advocacy, UNICEF's Campus Initiative and Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF—visit www.unicefusa.org/actioncenter or email volunteer@unicefusa.org.


College students assist the Los Angeles office with administrative and research projects. Additionally, interns are provided opportunities to assist with local special events. Internships are quarterly assignments and may be completed for approved course credit. For more information, please contact Paula Gomez at pgomez@unicefusa.org or 310.277.7608.

Board of Directors

Ghada Irani—Chair
John Maatta—President
Lindsey Alley
Tim Bruinsma
Trisha Cardoso
Sharon Davis
Douglas Emhoff
Susan J. Holliday
Steven Kern 
David Kim
Richard B. Levy
Asif Mahmood
Suzanne Marx

Jamie McCourt
Jamie Meyer
Lori Milken
Andrea Nevins
Brigitte Posch
Joyce Rey
Jon Vein
Gary Yale
Christina Zilber
Peter Zomber

Annual Report

Annual Report Thumbnail

Click to view a PDF of our
2013 Annual Report, or right click to save it to your desktop.

Recent News

April 16, 2014

UNICEF Calls for Immediate Release of Abducted School Girls in Nigeria

UNICEF condemns in the strongest possible terms the reported abduction of some 100 school girls between the ages of 12 and 17 from their school hostel in Chibok Borno State on Monday night, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

April 14, 2014

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom Meets with Syrian Children

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom wrapped up a visit last week to Jordan, where he met with children from Syria and their families whose lives have been devastated by the conflict which is now in its fourth year.