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Human Options celebrates Vivian Clecak

Jean Weiss and Julie Hill

Vivian Clecak, a pioneer of mental health services in Orange County as well as the co-founder and longtime CEO of Human Options, received the nonprofit organization’s 2016 Dove Award in front of 400 guests during its annual fundraiser. Held in May at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, the elegant black-tie affair netted $425,000 to support Human Options’ mission to stop the cycle of domestic violence in Orange County.

The fundraiser, “Rooted with Love, An Evening of Serious Fun,” was dedicated to Clecak, who retired at the end of January after almost 35 years at the helm of Human Options. In 1981, Clecak co-founded the organization with Carolyn Churm, Margaret Thoreau and Anne Wright, and the group has now helped more than 320,000 victims of domestic violence. Human Options CEO Maricela Rios-Faust presented the Dove Award  – a tribute book filled with messages and photos of the many people whose lives were touched during Clecak’s leadership.

Scott Allen and Ryan Wilkinson shared details about a legacy campaign in Clecak’s honor, which began last year with a $500,000 endowment challenge grant by the Swayne Family Foundation. While the endowment challenge was successfully completed in 2015, the second half of the campaign, kicked off at last year’s gala, brought the total to over $2 million, ensuring Clecak’s legacy and the continued success of Human Options.

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