Top Row: Honorable Bijan Kian, AMB Gaddi Vasquez (bottom), honoree Herb Nootbaar and NECO Chairman Nasser Kazeminy at 2014 Ellis Island Award Ceremony, which was sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Orange County. (Liz Maxson / May 21, 2014)

On this Fourth of July, it is appropriate to celebrate the World Affairs Council of Orange County joining with the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) presenting the Ellis Island Humanitarian Award to Newport Beach's Herbert V. Nootbaar. The Westin South Coast Plaza welcomed a full house celebrating Nootbaar in a program billed as "America: A Nation of Immigrants." The Ellis Island award honors a diverse group of American citizens for their contributions to American society in business, culture, education, science and humanitarian endeavors.

Nootbaar, 105, was noted for a life of accomplishment, among which was the establishment of the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics at Pepperdine University. Attending the celebration was Gaddi Vasquez, former director of the Peace Corps and ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, and Bijan Kian, immediate past director of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, appointed by Barack Obama. Also attending were Liz Maxson, Don Winton, David and Julie Meltzer, Hazem Chehabi and, presiding over the honors, Nasser Kazeminy, chairman of the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations.

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Children are America's greatest resource

As Americans, if we do not care for our young in a nation where there are abundant resources and the possibility of opportunity for many, then the future of the nation is in question. In Orange County recently, the Orangewood Children's Foundation held the 10th annual 44 Women for Children Scholarship Luncheon. The event co-chairs, Terri Ellison and Linda Thauer, welcomed more than 200 local citizens for a mid-week luncheon celebration on the Grand Terrace at Honda Center. Guest of honor was Cathy Rigby, world-class Olympic gymnast and actress. Rigby joined a host of local scholarship recipients, sharing with the audience the importance of education as a stepping stone to reaching life's goals.

Founded by Susan Samueli in 1999, the purpose of 44 Women for Children continues to be raising significant funds to support emancipated foster youth over the age of 18 who desire to attend college. In addition, the organization works year-round to foster community awareness about child abuse and neglect, specifically in the foster-care system. Statistics report that 70% of youth in the foster-care system desire to attend college, but only a few get the opportunity and less than 1% actually graduate. A significant stumbling block is the extreme financial burden of higher education, which 44 Women for Children helps to alleviate. Major sponsors of the annual luncheon included the Samueli Foundation, David Yurman jewelry and donor Wanlyn Bejach. Also helping to underwrite the event were the Anaheim Ducks and Honda Center, Disneyland Resort, Shirley Pepys, South Coast Plaza, Michelle and Bill Schmit, Sona Shah and Chris Simonsen, chief executive of Orangewood Children's Foundation.

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A fashionable Fourth

Fall arrived in the summer as Chloe opened its boutique doors at South Coast Plaza recently, hosting a chic in-store cocktail party and fall 2014 fashion show. Newport hostesses Irene Martino, Susan Croul and Ann Smyth welcomed the fashion-conscious crowd to view the newly designed boutique for the luxury retailer with only one store on the West Coast created in the new design. The mid-week evening reception June 5 benefited the Harvesters, a women's auxiliary supporting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. Moving to the beat of celebrity DJ Soko were local fashionistas including Jennifer Van Bergh, Jill Johnson-Tucker, Lourdes Nark, Michelle Horowitz and Jennifer Segerstrom.

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An All-American car show

The seventh annual Balboa Bay Club Father's Day Car & Vintage Motorcycle Show unfolded June 15, showcasing 100 vehicles for inspection. More than 1,000 local guests paraded the show, examining entries from some very impressive car collections. Sponsors included Crevier Classic Cars, Sterling BMW, Ferrari and Maserati of Newport Beach, Meguiar's, the Private Bank of Wells Fargo, Fletcher Jones Motorcars of Newport Beach, Saleen, Phillips Auto, Beverly Hills Motorsport and Nada Guides.

Celebrities in attendance included Steve Saleen, Gen. William Lyon and family, Dick and Donna Pickup, Olivia and Arthur Ostrowski, Michele, Elle and Steve George, the Bob Howard family, Allie and Brian Keene, and Andrew and Tom Dallape. The "Dad's Pick Favorite Car" Award went to Bill Maya for his 1950s-era Packard Caribbean Convertible. The "People's Choice Favorite Car In Show" Award went to Patrick Scruggs for his 1970 Mercedes Benz 280 SL Roadster.

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.