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Constitutional Rights Foundation Orange County

 4101 Westerly Place, Suite 101
 Newport Beach, CA 92660
[P] (949) 679-0730
[F] (949) 679-0740
[email protected]
Shara Witkin
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA CRF-OC
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
Employer Identification Number 33-0068500 00000



Mission StatementMORE »

Our mission is to provide civic education today for a stronger democracy tomorrow.  We do this through our programs which engage and empower nearly 8,000 youth each year to become active, responsible members and leaders in our community.  We are dedicated to allowing teens to explore opportunities, develop life skills, succeed in mastering academic standards, and gain the confidence to be productive members of the community. We fill a critical need for civics education for middle and high school students.  

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide civic education today for a stronger democracy tomorrow.  We do this through our programs which engage and empower nearly 8,000 youth each year to become active, responsible members and leaders in our community.  We are dedicated to allowing teens to explore opportunities, develop life skills, succeed in mastering academic standards, and gain the confidence to be productive members of the community. We fill a critical need for civics education for middle and high school students.  

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2019
Projected Expenses $310,000.00
Projected Revenue $341,316.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Peer Court
  • Mock Trial
  • Constitution Day
  • Law Day
  • Orange County Career Forum

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide civic education today for a stronger democracy tomorrow.  We do this through our programs which engage and empower nearly 8,000 youth each year to become active, responsible members and leaders in our community.  We are dedicated to allowing teens to explore opportunities, develop life skills, succeed in mastering academic standards, and gain the confidence to be productive members of the community. We fill a critical need for civics education for middle and high school students.  

Background Statement

CRF-OC has operated continuously in Orange County since 1981. We are a local, non-partisan, nonprofit organization. We fill a critical need for civics education for Orange County middle and high school students.  Our five interactive programs are positive, motivating experiences that allow teens to explore their potential, prepare to face new challenges, and contribute their unique talents as future leaders of their communities.  
We work with volunteers from the local business,  education, and legal communities, as well as partner organizations including the Orange County Superior Court and the Orange County Department of Education.
Our five civic, law, and business related education programs are not offered by any other organization in Orange County.  The programs include: (1) Mock Trial - a law related academic competition where students use a hypothetical criminal case to prepare for and conduct a trial in actual courtrooms before actual judges, (2) Peer Court - a juvenile diversion program where cases are heard by a peer jury and a sitting judge, (3) Law Day - a one-day conference that challenges students to consider and debate controversial legal issues, (4) Constitution Day - an outreach program where volunteer attorneys and judges present an interactive lesson in classrooms across Orange County focused on the U.S. Constitution, and (5) Orange County Career Forum - a one-day conference that links high school students with local business professionals and community leaders as they explore diverse career opportunities and pathways. 

Impact Statement

In the past year, we have helped address the critical need for civic learning in in secondary education, helped students develop academic and leadership skills, and increased student understanding, interest and appreciation for our judicial system and government institutions.  We have done this through our five interactive education programs:  Mock Trial, Peer Court, Orange County Career Forum Conference, Law Day Conference and Constitution Day. We have increased the size and reach of our programs.  We have also engaged in a strategic planning process to provide short and long term goals for the organization.  
Our top goals for the current year are to: (1) add more schools and students to our programs, especially the high school Mock Trial competition, (2) expand our Constitution Day outreach program to middle schools, (3) expand our Peer Court juvenile diversion program to include more school campuses and additional case referrals from the Orange County Department of Probation, (4) diversify our funding sources, and (5) improve the engagement of younger legal and business professionals in our programs through our newly formed Associate Board. 

Needs Statement

CRF-OC offers several opportunities for local companies to sponsor CRF-OC individual programs, our special events or our work as a whole.  For more information, please visit:  1. We need to find additional funding sources.  Civics education is crucial to the continued success of our society, yet funding is scarce when compared to other educational areas.  A single foundation provides more funding for STEM based programs than all other funding sources nationwide for civics education.  2.  We need to subscribe to a donor tracking software program.  This will create an ongoing cost of at least $2,000-$3,000 per year.  3. We need additional attorney volunteers to serve as attorney coaches and scorekeepers for our high school mock trial competition. 4.  We need connections to administrators at various high schools and districts throughout Orange County so their students can receive the benefits of participating in our life-changing program.  5.  We need the financial support to hire additional staff.  We rely heavily on volunteers to make our programs succeed with only 3 staff members.  We would like to add another staff member, but are not in a financial position to do so.

CEO Statement

The focus of CRF-OC is on our interactive, education programs for students.  These programs not only address the need for civic learning in our community, they have tremendous impact on the lives of the teen participants.  
We have juveniles who have committed a crime but are given a chance to get their lives back on the right track by participating in our Peer Court program.  But in addition to the juvenile offender, there are 50-100 additional students who participate in the Peer Court session who have a new respect for the justice system and a new understanding of the consequences of their own decisions, behaviors and obligations as a member of the larger community.
We have students who participate in Mock Trial who not only gain knowledge of our legal system and democratic institutions, but also improve their public speaking, critical thinking and self-confidence.  For some of these students Mock Trial exposes them to professional role models and mentors, encouraging them to pursue a college education.
There are students who attend Law Day who realize that when faced with controversial issues, people can have opposing views, but they can discuss and debate them in a civil, critical way without resorting to shouting or personal insults.
Students attending the Orange County Career Forum are exposed to career fields and pathways they didn't know existed that align with their interests.  The Career Forum gives them the opportunity to interact with a professional in those fields, find out more, and explore the educational pathways they can take to work in their area of interest.
Our volunteers are passionate about our programs because they see firsthand the impact on the students' lives. 

Board Chair Statement


Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

Donations may be made by credit card on our website and then click on the donate tab.  Donations may also be made by check mailed to CRF-OC, 4101 Westerly Place, Suite 101, Newport Beach, CA  92660.  You may also contact us at 949.679.0730.We have volunteer opportunities for various programs throughout the year.  Interested volunteers may visit our website at  

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
North Orange County
Central Orange County
West Orange County
South Orange County
We serve schools and students throughout Orange County.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Secondary & High Schools
  2. -
  3. -



Peer Court

Peer Court – This ongoing juvenile diversion program reduces criminal activity by first-time juvenile offenders who have committed non-violent misdemeanors. A sitting judge presides, attorneys act as advisors and students are selected from the 6,500 participants serve as jurors to assess the case and assign sanctions to approximately 80 young offenders from high schools other than the Peer Court site. An interactive curriculum educates students about the juvenile justice system and helps them make responsible decisions.
Budget  $48,000.00
Category  Crime & Legal, General/Other Juvenile Justice
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success  Each year, over 2,700 youth and adults participate in Peer Court, with approximately 80 youth offenders turning around their lives and over 2,600 youth who participate as jurors or bailiffs. The youth offenders have committed non-violent misdemeanors and this must be their first offense.
Program Long-Term Success  With over 94% of participants completing their court-ordered sanctions within four months, CRF-OC's Peer Court Program reduces juvenile delinquency and helps prevent recidivism.       
Program Success Monitored By  CRF-OC partners with the Orange County Department of Education and Community Services Program, Inc. to provide evaluation of our Peer Court Program.
Examples of Program Success  Although each youth receives individualized sanctions, which are tailored to the offender's specific crime, sanctions include:  community service, legal education classes, financial and non-compensatory restitution and curfews.

Mock Trial

Mock Trial – This program combines law-related education with tournament style competition. Using an actual settled criminal court case, over 800 students, representing 46 teams enact every role in a trial, under the guidance of attorney and teacher coaches. Students can also compete in courtroom art and journalism contests.
Budget  $106,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Extracurricular Activities
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Each year, over 800 local students from 35-40 local high schools participate in Mock Trial.  Over 86% of students have improved their reading and listening skills.
Program Long-Term Success  Hundreds of CRF-OC Mock Trial participants go on to successful careers as lawyers, legal professionals and other business leaders.  In fact, two CRF-OC Board Members were Orange County Mock Trial participants and another of our attorney coaches was an Orange County Mock Trial participant.  Several Mock Trial alumni have become state and federal judicial officers and others have achieved success in the legal and business communities.
Program Success Monitored By  Mock Trial participants complete a post-program evaluation.
Examples of Program Success  Each year, the winning team of the Orange County Mock Trial competition represents Orange County at the California State Mock Trial.

Constitution Day

Constitution Day Conference – This outreach program reaches almost 2,000 students and complies with the U.S. Department of Education’s mandate that educational institutions accepting federal aid celebrate Constitution Day. Volunteer attorneys and judges visit classrooms throughout Orange County and present an interactive lesson related to the U.S. Constitution.  
Budget  $7,500.00
Category  Education, General/Other Education, General/Other
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Each year, almost 2,000 local middle and high school students participate in CRF-OC's  Constitution Day outreach program.
Program Long-Term Success  Students become engaged in relevant and important Constitutional issues and cases that have shaped society.
Program Success Monitored By  Constitution Day students complete an evaluation survey at the lesson's completion.
Examples of Program Success  --

Law Day

Law Day Conference – This one-day conference offers workshops on topical Constitutional issues, such as “Should teens be tried as adults?” or “Safety vs. Privacy – security measures on campus.” Over 500 students are challenged to debate their rights and how these rights are associated with civic responsibility.
Budget  $26,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Each year, at least 500 high school students will learn about relevant legal issues.
Program Long-Term Success  Orange County high school students become engaged in Constitutional and legal issues that affect their lives.
Program Success Monitored By  Students complete a post-conference evaluation.
Examples of Program Success  Our Law Day Conference features high-profile speakers and community leaders from our legal community.

Orange County Career Forum

Orange County Career Forum – This one-day conference, held in partnership with the Orange County Department of Education, links 1,100 Orange County high school students with local, prominent business professionals. Workshops range from traditional corporate and entrepreneurial business opportunities to managing credit and preparing for successful interviews.
Budget  $35,000.00
Category  Employment, General/Other Youth Job Training & Employment
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success  Each year, approximately 1,000 students from over 15 Orange County high schools participate in the Orange County Career Forum.
Program Long-Term Success  Over the years, Orange County high school students - particularly those from low-income communities - learn about various career options.  Many students are, unfortunately, from families who did not have the opportunity to attend college, making these youth first-generation college students.
Program Success Monitored By  Students complete an evaluation at the end of the conference.
Examples of Program Success  High-profile leaders have provided a plenary, keynote address to all students.


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Shara Witkin Esq.
CEO Term Start Mar 2016
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Shara Beral Witkin, Esq., became the Executive Director of CRF-OC in 2016.  Prior to becoming Executive Director, Shara was a long serving volunteer, board member and Past President of the organization.  Shara's background is in commercial litigation, but she has been an active community and philanthropic leader throughout her career.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Theresa Bernard LLM Program Manager --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Community Partner of the Year Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund 2017


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 500
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 75%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 2
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 2
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Semi-Annually

Government Licenses


CEO Comments


Foundation Comments



Board Chair Peter Villar Esq.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Troutman Sanders LLP
Board Chair Term July 2018 - June 2019
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Darren Aitken Esq. Aitken Aitken Cohn Voting
Jason Anderson Esq. Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth Voting
Michael Baroni Esq. Palace Entertainment Voting
Jason Bettendorf Esq. Wells Fargo Voting
Matthew Buttacavoli Esq. Minyard Morris LLP Voting
Denise Carter Esq. JAMS Voting
Ray Chips Ed.D. Irvine Police Department Voting
Randall Clement Esq. Clement & Ho, PLC Voting
Captain Cindi Coppock Orange County Sheriff's Department Voting
Alan Crivaro Esq. Law Offices of Alan J. Crivaro Voting
Var Fox Judicate West Voting
Todd Friedland Esq. Stephens & Friedland LLP Voting
Cynthia Garber Esq. Robinson Calcagnie, Inc. Voting
Jeffrey Goldman Esq. Pepper Hamilton LLP Voting
Richard Grabowski Esq. Jones Day Voting
Ursula Guzman Esq. CoreLogic Voting
Julie Hull Orange County Department of Education Voting
Joshua Jessen Esq. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Voting
Baraa Kahf Esq. Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear LLP Voting
Eoin Kreditor Esq. FitzGerald Yap Kreditor Voting
Allison Libeu Esq. Hueston Hennigan LLP Voting
Jason Moberly Caruso Esq. Newmeyer & Dillion LLP Voting
Geoffrey Moore Esq. Hyundai Motor America Voting
Cathy Moses Esq. Cox Castle & Nicholson Voting
Kristin Murphy Esq. Latham & Watkins LLP Voting
Brian Neach Esq. Theodora Oringher PC Voting
Brent North Esq. North, Nash & Abendroth LLP Voting
David Outwater Esq. Outwater & Pinckes LLP Voting
Eric Pezold Esq. Snell & Wilmer LLP Voting
Alan Slater Retired Voting
Adina Stowell Esq. Umberg Zipser LLP Voting
Steve Toretto Esq. Pacific Life Insurance Company Voting
Thomas Tuttle Seastrom Seastrom & Tuttle Voting
Hans Van Ligten Esq. Rutan & Tucker LLP Voting
Peter Villar Esq. Troutman Sanders LLP Voting
Jeffrey Wertheimer Esq. Orange County Superior Court Voting
Todd Wulffson Esq. Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger Voting
Michael Yoder Esq. O'Melveny & Myers LLP Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 37
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 10
Male: 30
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 70%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 95%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Board Development / Board Orientation
  • Executive
  • Program / Program Planning
  • Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Projected Revenue $341,316.00
Projected Expenses $310,000.00
Form 990s

2017 Form 990

2016 Form 990

2015 CRF 990s

2014 CRF 990

Audit Documents

2016 CRF-OC Audit

2015 CRF-OC 2015 Audit

2014 CRF-OC 2014 Audit

2014 CRF-OC Audit

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $329,388 $320,084 $285,383
Total Expenses $271,771 $275,210 $240,131

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$126,079 $146,401 $139,835
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- $0 $0
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- $0 $0
Earned Revenue $58,600 $57,500 $41,800
Investment Income, Net of Losses $159 $0 $207
Membership Dues -- $0 $0
Special Events $137,871 $116,029 $103,541
Revenue In-Kind $6,679 $0 $0
Other -- $-15,326 $-17,708

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $140,418 $183,101 $170,581
Administration Expense $85,875 $69,557 $50,792
Fundraising Expense $45,478 $22,552 $18,758
Payments to Affiliates -- $0 $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.21 1.16 1.19
Program Expense/Total Expenses 52% 67% 71%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 17% 9% 8%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $413,926 $320,995 $302,035
Current Assets $403,172 $310,778 $299,175
Long-Term Liabilities -- $0 $0
Current Liabilities $93,600 $58,286 $66,447
Total Net Assets $320,326 $262,709 $235,588

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 4.31 5.33 4.50

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%
Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the Form 990s and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.