The

Nicholas

Endowment

seeks to enrich our community by supporting the performing and visual arts, assisting in the advancement of science and education, and engaging other charities.

About The Endowment

Established in 2002 by Dr. Henry T. Nicholas III and Stacey Nicholas, The Nicholas Endowment was created with the vision of enabling individuals to reach their full potential in today’s society. As a private foundation, The Nicholas Endowment is dedicated to providing support to charitable organizations that exemplify its mission and vision. Our objective is to enable these organizations to build their programs and strengthen their infrastructure to more effectively deliver charitable services.

The mission of The Nicholas Endowment is to enrich our community and the world by supporting the performing and visual arts, assisting in the advancement of science and education, and engaging other charities to make a difference in people’s lives. We accomplish our mission by partnering with other charitable organizations, being attentive to their programs, providing leadership, direction and accountability, and giving meaningful support to selected causes.

Trustees

A group of dedicated volunteers committed to assisting community leading non-profits fulfill their missions.

Claudia B. Sangster, JD

Trustee and Chair

Claudia B. Sangster, JD

Trustee and Chair

Claudia Sangster is the Founder and President of C.Sangster LLC. She has more than 35 years of experience working with wealthy individuals and families to design and implement their estate, philanthropic, family governance and education strategies. Ms. Sangster recently retired from her position at Northern Trust as a Senior Vice President and Director of Family Education and Governance where she led the firm’s advisory capabilities in financial education, family decision-making, and relationships around money and wealth.
Claudia collaborates with clients, their advisors in identifying and establishing appropriate educational programs and governance structures for multi-generational families in order to prepare family members to steward wealth, to enhance family unity and to help sustain all aspects of the family’s capital - financial, intellectual, human and social. She works with families to create their legacy of wisdom, wealth and giving through multiple generations.
She is the former President and Board member of the Pepperdine Legacy Partners at Pepperdine University, a Life Associate of Pepperdine University, Former Board member of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute, Emeritus Advisory Board member of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, Board Chair and Trustee of The Nicholas Endowment, and former President and current member the Los Angeles Council for Charitable Giving (formerly the Planned Giving Round Table of Southern California. Claudia is a faculty member for the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies for California State University, Long Beach. She is a Founding Partner of LA Social Venture Partners and served as a volunteer Board Chair and Director.

Claudia B. Sangster, JD

Trustee and Chair

Claudia B. Sangster, JD

Trustee and Chair

Claudia Sangster is the Founder and President of C.Sangster LLC. She has more than 35 years of experience working with wealthy individuals and families to design and implement their estate, philanthropic, family governance and education strategies. Ms. Sangster recently retired from her position at Northern Trust as a Senior Vice President and Director of Family Education and Governance where she led the firm’s advisory capabilities in financial education, family decision-making, and relationships around money and wealth.
Claudia collaborates with clients, their advisors in identifying and establishing appropriate educational programs and governance structures for multi-generational families in order to prepare family members to steward wealth, to enhance family unity and to help sustain all aspects of the family’s capital - financial, intellectual, human and social. She works with families to create their legacy of wisdom, wealth and giving through multiple generations.
She is the former President and Board member of the Pepperdine Legacy Partners at Pepperdine University, a Life Associate of Pepperdine University, Former Board member of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute, Emeritus Advisory Board member of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, Board Chair and Trustee of The Nicholas Endowment, and former President and current member the Los Angeles Council for Charitable Giving (formerly the Planned Giving Round Table of Southern California. Claudia is a faculty member for the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies for California State University, Long Beach. She is a Founding Partner of LA Social Venture Partners and served as a volunteer Board Chair and Director.

Daniel T. Stetson

Trustee and Executive Director

is the Executive Director and a trustee of The Nicholas Endowment. In these roles, Dan works to provide support to the charitable organizations that exemplify its mission and vision. Dan also currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Community Engagement Panel for the decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. This panel was convened by Southern California Edison to serve as a conduit for public information and community involvement.
Dan served as President and CEO of the Ocean Institute from 2005-2015, after having joined the Institute in 1992. During his tenure the Institute rose to national prominence and received numerous awards including the Inaugural Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence and two awards from the National Science Foundation. Immediately prior to his tenure at the Ocean Institute, Dan consulted for the law firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro representing a foreign shipping company involved in an oil spill incident. Dan managed the compensation process for over 2,000 claimants from the largest oil spill in the LA Harbor’s history.
Dan earned a BA from UC Santa Barbara and a MBA from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). In 2007, as part of CSUF College of Business and Economics’ 50th Year Anniversary Celebration, he was recognized as one of their top 100 alumni with their “Alumni at The Top Award.” Together with Roxanne, his wife of 34 years, Dan is an avid diver, sailor and tennis player.

Daniel T. Stetson

Trustee and Executive Director

Daniel T. Stetson

Trustee and Executive Director

Daniel T. Stetson

Trustee and Executive Director

is the Executive Director and a trustee of the Nicholas Endowment. In these roles, Dan works to provide support to the charitable organizations that exemplify its mission and vision. Dan also currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Community Engagement Panel for the decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. This panel was convened by Southern California Edison to serve as a conduit for public information and community involvement.
Dan served as President and CEO of the Ocean Institute from 2005-2015, after having joined the Institute in 1992. During his tenure the Institute rose to national prominence and received numerous awards including the Inaugural Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence and two awards from the National Science Foundation. Immediately prior to his tenure at the Ocean Institute, Dan consulted for the law firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro representing a foreign shipping company involved in an oil spill incident. Dan managed the compensation process for over 2,000 claimants from the largest oil spill in the LA Harbor’s history.
Dan earned a BA from UC Santa Barbara and a MBA from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). In 2007, as part of CSUF College of Business and Economics’ 50th Year Anniversary Celebration, he was recognized as one of their top 100 alumni with their “Alumni at The Top Award.” Together with Roxanne, his wife of 34 years, Dan is an avid diver, sailor and tennis player.

Paula Tomei

Trustee

Paula Tomei

Trustee

Paula Tomei (Managing Director) is responsible for the overall administration of SCR and has been managing director since 1994 and a member of the SCR staff since 1979. She is a past president of the board of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for theatre. In addition, she served as treasurer of TCG, vice president of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and as a member of the LORT Negotiating Committee for industry-wide union agreements. She represents SCR at national conferences of TCG and LORT and served as a theatre panelist and site visitor for the National Endowment of the Arts and California Arts Council.
Paula’s teaching background includes a graduate class in non-profit management at UC Irvine (UCI) and as a guest lecturer in the graduate school of business at Stanford University. She was appointed by the chancellor to UCI’s Community Arts Council and serves on the Dean’s Leadership Society Executive Committee for the School of Social Sciences at UCI. She is also on the board of Arts Orange County, the county-wide arts council, and the board of The Nicholas Endowment.
Paula graduated from UCI with a degree in economics and pursued an additional course of study in theatre and dance. In March 2017, she received the Mayor’s Award from the City of Costa Mesa for her contributions to the arts community. In 2018, she received the Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award from Arts Orange County. In 2019, she was awarded UCI’s Distinguished Alumna in the School of Social Sciences at the Lauds & Laurels Celebration.

Paula Tomei

Trustee

Paula Tomei (Managing Director) is responsible for the overall administration of SCR and has been managing director since 1994 and a member of the SCR staff since 1979. She is a past president of the board of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for theatre. In addition, she served as treasurer of TCG, vice president of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and as a member of the LORT Negotiating Committee for industry-wide union agreements. She represents SCR at national conferences of TCG and LORT and served as a theatre panelist and site visitor for the National Endowment of the Arts and California Arts Council.

Paula Tomei

Trustee
Claudia collaborates with clients, their advisors in identifying and establishing appropriate educational programs and governance structures for multi-generational families in order to prepare family members to steward wealth, to enhance family unity and to help sustain all aspects of the family’s capital - financial, intellectual, human and social. She works with families to create their legacy of wisdom, wealth and giving through multiple generations.
She is the former President and Board member of the Pepperdine Legacy Partners at Pepperdine University, a Life Associate of Pepperdine University, Former Board member of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute, Emeritus Advisory Board member of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, Board Chair and Trustee of The Nicholas Endowment, and former President and current member the Los Angeles Council for Charitable Giving (formerly the Planned Giving Round Table of Southern California. Claudia is a faculty member for the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies for California State University, Long Beach. She is a Founding Partner of LA Social Venture Partners and served as a volunteer Board Chair and Director.

Robert Feller

Trustee, Chairman of the Investment Committee

Robert Feller is a Principal of RDF Advisors LLC which provides investment advisory services for a family office and serves as the General Partner for a series of private funds.
Previously, Mr. Feller spent over 20 years working in senior roles with leading asset management and alternative investment firms.
Mr. Feller earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
He is actively involved in supporting environmental organizations and improving public education.

Robert Feller

Trustee, Chairman of the Investment Committee

Robert Feller

Trustee, Chairman of the Investment Committee

Robert Feller is a Principal of RDF Advisors LLC which provides investment advisory services for a family office and serves as the General Partner for a series of private funds.
Previously, Mr. Feller spent over 20 years working in senior roles with leading asset management and alternative investment firms.

Robert Feller

Trustee, Chairman of the Investment Committee
Mr. Feller earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
He is actively involved in supporting environmental organizations and improving public education.

Supported Organizations

Only pre-selected organizations are eligible for grant consideration. The Nicholas Endowment is honored to provide meaningful support to the following organizations:

Contact us

The Nicholas Endowment

5319 University Drive, #314

Irvine, CA 92612

Contact Number

949-338-9611

Project DULCE

This is a clinic-based intervention that addresses the healthcare, social services, and legal needs of families. The Nicholas Endowment provided critical bridge funding to sustain the program at CHOC’s Clinica Para Niños in Central Santa Ana. This was one of only five sites in the nation piloting this evidence-based program supporting the development and safety of infants and stabilizing vulnerable families.

Early Mental Health Program

The Nicholas Endowment was at the forefront of a new effort to improve the mental health of young children in Orange County. Consistent with CHOC’s Mental Health Initiative, the Early Childhood Mental Health Program (now called Start Well) is a collaborative effort with community partners to help childcare and pre-school providers effectively address challenging behaviors and recognize potential mental health issues as early as possible.

Palliative Care Program

This is often incorrectly associated with the end of life. Instead, palliative care provides longer-term support for any patient whose condition may be life-limiting, even as curative treatment continues. The Nicholas Endowment funded program development, training, and materials to establish this important service at CHOC that is now supporting patients and families by reducing symptoms, addressing needs, and improving quality of life.

Child Protection Program

The Nicholas Endowment is a critical partner in expanding CHOC’s prevention and intervention efforts to keep children safe and assist as-risk families. In addition to staffing, the Endowment has supported an outpatient follow-up clinic and annual education programs for community partners, including pediatricians, school personnel, law enforcement officers, and social service providers.

Orange county community foundation

The Orange County Community Foundation partners with generous individuals, families, foundations, and businesses to fulfill their philanthropic and financial objectives while supporting the causes they care about most. Together we have awarded more than $732 million in grants and scholarships in Orange County, across the country, and around the world.

OCCF’s mission is to inspire a passion for lifelong philanthropy, faithfully steward our donors’ intentions, and catalyze sustainable community impact.

ACT Anaheim

College, career, mentoring, prevention and other services for older youth (ages 13-18) in Anaheim.

OC Veterans Initiative

Assessment, referral, transition support, and career advancement for veterans and their families returning to OC. The Nicholas Endowment in particular supported “The State of the American Veteran: The Orange County Veterans Study.”

OC Opportunity Initiative

Outreach, education and legal services for eligible residents to apply for immigration relief and citizenship.

OCCF Press Release

Spectrum News Story on Workforce grantee Hope Builders

School of Theater Film & Television Summer Institute

Scholarships were provided for disadvantaged high school students to study filmmaking and theater.

School of Nursing
Skills Simulation Lab

Funded the purchase of two full-size robotic models designed to simulate childbirth.

Social Enterprise Academy

Program links student teams with nonprofits to develop mission-related entrepreneurial enterprise.

Veterans Legal Clinic

Providing pro bono legal and social services to veterans.

Generation Xchange

Recruited and trained volunteers in disadvantaged K-3 grade classrooms where they work with students to improve their academic and social skills.

The Ocean Institute

The Ocean Institute, founded in 1977, is a community-based 501(c)(3) organization that educates 100,000 children, teachers, parents, and visitors annually through over 60 marine science and maritime history programs.

The Institute includes state-of-the-art teaching labs, the spectacular Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, a historic tall ship, and an oceanographic research vessel. Immersion-based field trips range from one-hour science labs to multi-day programs at sea. All programs are designed to maximize immersion, spark curiosity, and inspire a deep commitment to learning.

Marine Mammal Cruises

Trained marine biologists take students to sea learn about whales, dolphins, sea-lions and other ocean creatures.

Girls in Ocean Science
Teen Conference

A day long conference connecting successful female scientists and leaders with the next generation of ocean ambassadors.

Adopt A Class Program

Providing free marine science programs for underserved students in low income areas.

Research Partnership with CSULB Shark Lab

Using cutting edge technology to study white sharks and to educate the public.

Marine Science Aboard the R/V Sea Explorer

Beall Applied Innovation Student Startup Fund

Program brings campus-based discoveries together with Orange County’s vibrant business community to support job creation and economic growth.

Achieve Learn Mentor Asire
Science Academy
(ALMA)

ALMA is a multi-leveled approach to improving the Science Technology Engineering Arts & Math (STEAM) pipeline for youth from groups who are underrepresented in science education and in science careers.

OC Veterans & Military Families Collaborative

The Collaborative serves as a bridge connecting the mission of the Orange County Veterans & Military Families Collaborative is to serve as a bridge connecting veterans, active duty and reserve service members, and military family members to quality benefits, services, and opportunities within the community of Orange County, California.

Eye Mobile for Children

This mobile unit visits schools in disadvantaged areas and provides free vision care services.

Stepping Back in Time

Visiting students engage with history and gain a comprehensive understanding of the Mission’s role in shaping California today.

Journeys into the Past

Native American descendent Jacque Tahkua Nunez takes students on a journey into the lifestyle and contributions of the indigenous people of California.

Adopt A Class “Thank You”

Students from low-income backgrounds are able to participate in the many educational programs free of charge.

Goal Setting

Nearly all Breakthrough SJC students are from low-income backgrounds and will be the first in their families to go on to college.

Program Graduates

96% of Breakthrough SJC students are on track to graduate college.

Breakthrough SJC Summer Program

American Mariachi

Jose Cruz Gonzalez’s heartwarming story about a group of women determined to break through gender barriers to make music.

Where the Sun Meets the Moon

A musical adaptation adapted from Grace Lin’s best selling book based on Chinese folklore.

Theater for Young Audiences
The Velveteen Rabbit

SCR’s production of Margery Williams’ story of a stuffed rabbit’s desire to become real through the love of his owner.

The Siegel

Michael Mitnick’s featured production in the Annual Pacific Playwrights Festival

The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana

The Bowers Museum enriches lives through the world's finest arts and cultures.

Bowers Museum Virtual Family Festivals

Acclaimed tabla player Robin Sukhadia performs for the virtual audience of over 1,000 viewers.

The Bowers Museum Art Access Program

The program delivers art kits to Title I schools that enable learning and creativity in conjunction with the virtual school tour program at the Bowers Museum.

Virtual International Drum Festival

DAFRA West African Drums and Dance Company with Willy Souleny and Company performs at virtual event.