Sandra (Sandy) Segerstrom Daniels, businesswoman and children’s advocate, has championed the welfare of children for nearly 15 years, first by founding the national, non-profit Festival of Children Foundation in 2003, and then in 2008, by spearheading the effort behind National Child Awareness Month each September. Both were created to serve the same purpose: to improve the lives of all children in the United States. Sandy also serves as a co-managing partner of C. J. Segerstrom & Sons, a family-owned real estate partnership, which owns and operates South Coast Plaza, a renowned, luxury international shopping destination in Orange County, California, and the largest shopping center on the West Coast.
From a young age and inspired by her parents Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom, Sandy has long been inspired by the incredible work of charities, especially those that support the needs and dreams of children. With experience in the business and non-profit community, she also understands that charities often need help when it comes to running an efficient, well-marketed, and well-funded organization, and that their ability to succeed in these areas translates directly into their ability to help children.
To that end, Sandy founded Festival of Children Foundation in 2003 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the dream of bringing together a national community of children’s charitable organizations of all shapes and sizes to collaborate, access resources, share knowledge, focus their efforts and ultimately, roll up their sleeves and work together to improve the lives of children. Since its founding, Festival of Children Foundation has built a network of nearly 500 charities across the nation that serve millions of children each year. With committed funding covering 100% of administrative expenses, every dollar raised by the foundation goes directly to helping these charities thrive through innovative programs and services, including free professional training, financial support and programs to help raise awareness and funds for individual missions.
Sandy is also the catalyst behind designating September as National Child Awareness Month. Since 2008, the designation has served as a rallying call to children’s charities across the country, their benefactors and supporters, and the public to set aside their individual agendas and unite and collaborate to raise awareness and inspire action for all children’s causes in the country. Since 2008, National Child Awareness Month has received bipartisan support of the U.S. Senate with unanimous consent each year. Since inception, National Child Awareness Month has inspired thousands to action, including more than 18,100 volunteers resulting in 70,431 volunteer hours given to improve the lives of children in the country. Nearly 2 million children have benefitted from the National Child Awareness Month Youth Ambassador Program, a collaboration with Youth Service America, that trained 150 high school and college students from 2012-2015 from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to create projects that address critical issues facing the children in their communities.