Orange County United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society hosted Zest of OC on Oct. 29, raising more than $500,000. All funds raised will help with the Orange County United Way’s key initiatives, including supporting local students’ efforts to achieve academic and personal success, aiding struggling OC families in their efforts to gain financial security, and helping Orange County’s unhoused find a place to call home.

Zest of OC, which took place at the Marriott Irvine Spectrum, celebrated the “zest” of Orange County’s philanthropic spirit. The event also recognized honorees that have continually exemplified “The OC Way” by going the extra mile to help and support Orange County residents in need. Among those receiving awards were Linda Mussallem, member, board of advisors, Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, and her husband Mike Mussallem, chairman and CEO, Edwards Lifesciences Corp., who received the Taking Action medal for their ongoing support up to help address the critical issues facing Orange County (see story, page 12); Artyn and Max Gardner, members, Orange County United Way’s Million Dollar Roundtable, who received the Legacy medal for embodying the spirit of philanthropy over the years; and Maya Patel, CEO, Tarsadia Foundation, and the Tarsadia Foundation received the Inspiration medal for their dedication to breaking barriers and inspiring change.