Are you doing your fair share?

Philanthropy is the lifeblood of nonprofits throughout our community and across the country. Kindness funds help to the homeless and downtrodden; children, who in many cases, would have to do without; medical and health support for so many who are out of other options; and so much more.

Our Spotlight on Philanthropy is designed to show you the inner workings of programs touching our community and, hopefully, encourage you to take a closer look.

Featured Charitable Organization:


Tell us about the Newport Harbor Educational Foundation (NHEF)?

Our mission is to promote academic excellence and enhance educational opportunities for all students at Newport Harbor High School (NHHS).

We were founded in 1995 by the Newport Harbor High School Navigators, a fathers’ group dedicated to improving the quality of education at NHHS. The foundation’s original five directors were Tim Hogan, John Polovina, Rick Robinson and Bob Steel.

Over the years that followed, with the tremendous generosity from donors (including parents, grandparents, alumni, local businesses, along with private and corporate foundations), $17,200,000 has been raised since 1995 for the betterment of Newport Harbor High School. 

So, who do you serve?

We serve all 2,300 students at Newport Harbor High School (grades 9-12), of which 60 percent reside in Costa Mesa and 40 percent reside in Newport Beach. Five public elementary schools assimilate into NHHS including Whittier, Kaiser, Mariners, Newport and Newport Heights, in addition to students from other private K-8 schools.

SOP Newport students

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Photos courtesy of NHEF

Newport Harbor High students participating in a hands-on physics robotics class

What ongoing programs does NHEF support?

We like to say we fund programs with C.L.A.S.S.:

Computers and classroom technology which includes a state-of-the-art world language lab, curriculum software, digital cameras, and iPads and high-tech tools to enhance teaching and student learning.

Learning assistance to raise the achievements of all students with free tutoring in all subjects by college students, including free evening math lab tutoring by NHHS math teachers and an AVID college prep program (Advancement Via Individual Determination).

Academic enhancement which provides 19 rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) and 19 International Baccalaureate (IB) courses to challenge students and to prepare them for America’s finest universities. 

Safe school environment provided by our Link Crew program that matches each freshman with an upper-class mentor, a nurse’s aide that keeps students healthy, and the Angel Fund which provides grocery gift cards to our food insecure and homeless families. 

Success after high school means making professional mentors available to all juniors to take advantage of NHHS career exploration programs, and the award-winning culinary arts, entrepreneurship, computer and film/TV vocational programs that promote student-driven success after graduation.

SOP Newport tutoring

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Tutoring by college students at Newport Harbor High 

Why should people donate to support NHEF and how do they do it?

NHEF pledges $500,000 each school year to NHHS to provide the wide variety of programs to help students succeed in their journey through high school.

Donations can be made online at or checks can be mailed payable to NHEF, c/o Newport Harbor Educational Foundation, 600 Irvine Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92663.

Are there ways for people to volunteer and get involved in the Foundation?

Volunteer opportunities are available for the annual Anchors Aweigh gala, our Home Tour and the Grandparents’ Day luncheon.

We also have committees to plan our annual events. The Foundation works with the Associated Student Body (ASB) and NHHS Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to welcome freshmen families at “Welcome Aboard” and to orient freshmen families at “Anchor Down.”

SOP Newport Robins Hall

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Newport Harbor High School’s Robins Hall – Loats Theater

What are the Foundation’s major fundraisers?

To bring the Harbor community together and build on the strong tradition of Sailor PRIDE, we have the following fundraisers: the Anchors Aweigh Gala which will be held March 4, 2022, with an online auction leading up to the event. It promises to be a fun evening enjoyed at Balboa Bay Resort that will include dinner, with dancing to the live band Flash Pants, plus silent and live auctions. Tickets will be available in early 2022 at

We also have our signature Newport Harbor Home Tour, which is planned for May 12, 2022 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Attendees will tour a spectacular collection of homes and beautifully appointed gardens and enjoy a delicious lunch overlooking Newport Harbor. Tickets will be available online in January 2022 at

Who is the leadership group that oversees the NHEF? 

NHEF has a board of directors comprised of 38 members from the NHHS parents’ community. Our leaders are:

Jamie Mathisrud – Co-President

Rory O’Neil – Co-President

Natalie Pickup – Treasurer

Dena Baron – Anchors Aweigh Co-Chair

Jamie Mathisrud – Anchors Aweigh Co-Chair

Georgina Forbath – Annual Campaign Co-Chair

Christin Gurka – Annual Campaign Co-Chair

Craig Atkins – Matching Gifts/Major Donors 

Ryan Steelberg – Matching Gifts/Major Donors

Grant Bixby – Navigators Chairman

Diana Long – Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Newport Harbor Educational Foundation

On-campus office:

NHHS – Room 181 of Sims Hall

600 Irvine Ave.

Newport Beach, CA 92663

949.646.1556 ext. 1

Spotlight on Philanthropy is underwritten by

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