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 1411 N Broadway
 Santa Ana, CA 92706
[P] (714) 542-3577 x 112
[F] (714) 542-3653
[email protected]
Brateil Aghasi
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA SAFEPlace
Former Names YWCA of South Orange County (1999)
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Employer Identification Number 95-1684796 00000


Mission StatementMORE »

WISEPlace transforms lives! We Inspire, Support and Empower women to become positive contributors to the community.

Mission Statement

WISEPlace transforms lives! We Inspire, Support and Empower women to become positive contributors to the community.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2019
Projected Expenses $2,763,905.00
Projected Revenue $2,881,316.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Steps to Independence
  • SAFEPlace
  • Positive Step

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2018 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

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


Mission Statement

WISEPlace transforms lives! We Inspire, Support and Empower women to become positive contributors to the community.

Background Statement

Since its inception in 1924 as the South County YWCA, WISEPlace has been committed to providing care and concern to women, children and families. The doors of the first facility opened in 1929, and the current facility opened in 1951. In 1999, the agency disaffiliated from the national YWCA organization to focus on women’s homelessness in the community and became known as WISEPlace.  For almost 30 years we have changed and saved women's lives by providing a comprehensive shelter program for women who are single or living alone. Our heartland program is a transformational shelter program for unaccompanied homeless women. In our  program our residents receive shelter, food, clothing case management, financial empowerment, employment assistance, psychological counseling, life-skills classes, and opportunities for spiritual guidance and physical and  social activities. All aspects of the program are geared to improving the residents self-sufficiency, self-esteem and self-worth. 

Impact Statement

WISEPlace helps women help themselves. Our programs move women from homelessness and hopelessness to being long term participants in and contributors to the community. WISEPlace provides the tools our guests need to live independently and securely in the future. WISEPlace utilizes external community resources to move guests to permanent housing as quickly as appropriate for each individual situation. Guests who participate in our program are linked to employment, education and housing opportunities best suited for their needs. Guests who participate for at least 6 months have a higher success rate with leaving with full time employment and moving into permanent supportive housing. Seventy nine percent of all residents who spend any time in our program get employment. 100% of the women who take our financial empowerment curriculum improve their knowledge of financial matters.

Needs Statement

WISEPlace relies heavily on volunteers to supplement our staff to address the needs of homeless women ranging in age from 18 to over 80 and who experience homelessness for reasons ranging from emancipation from foster care, to domestic violence to substance abuse to elder abuse. We need support for our guests in areas including overeating disorders,  difficulty sticking to a budget, healthy eating, shopping wisely, resume writing, interview techniques, computer software training,  cosmetic services (including hair and makeup,)  etc.
We need building repair and maintenance services, including plumbing, electrical, fire alarm system upgrade, woodwork, flooring, indoor and outdoor painting, and other general contractor work. We need appliances and furnishings including  outdoor awnings and deck furniture.
We need volunteers to help maintain our computer network, assist with our fundraising, work in the business office or with the program staff working directly with our guests. We need funding and fundraising support to bridge the gap that has resulted from funders including HUD and United Way moving funding support away from transitional shelter programs.

CEO Statement

We give our guests the tools they need to remain independent for the rest of their lives. Women who have struggled for years leave our program feeling good about themselves and proud of the progress they have made in learning how to navigate life. While they know they will not necessarily live "happily ever after," they are confident that they have the wherewithal to withstand future challenges.  In some cases the women have never completed anything before in their life and their WISEPlace graduation shower is a huge milestone in their lives. Others have accomplished much including professional degrees and work experience. For them, WISEPlace provides the time, place and structure they need to regroup and believe in themselves again.  We recognize that we cannot cookie cutter our services because everyone comes to us with their own unique struggles and issues. Our programs range from short to medium to long term depending on the work that needs to be done to improve the likelihood of long term success.

Board Chair Statement

When a woman "takes action" she is an independent thinker and decision maker. When a woman decides to become part of the WISEPlace family she will move forward and step into independence. Now she has a "Choice" and that is a "Powerful" thing!

Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

There are many ways to donate to WISEPlace. For a full list of options, please refer to our website at accept traditional forms of payment such as cash, check and credit card. Online donations are accepted at We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express, payable through third-party and PayPal processing. In addition to financial contributions, we accept donations of gently used women's clothing, shoes, accessories and work-wear. We also accept many home-goods. For a full list of in-kind donation needs, please see our website at We have many options available for you to donate your time to WISEPlace. For a full list of volunteer opportunities, please refer to our website at, or call 714-542-3577. 

Geographic Area Served

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

WISEPlace serves unaccompanied homeless women, ages 18 to senior women, from throughout Orange County, California, and from neighboring communities, particularly in the instance of women leaving domestic violence or other abusive situations.

Organization Categories

  1. Housing, Shelter - Homeless Shelters
  2. Human Services - Homeless Services/Centers
  3. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Community & Neighbourhood Development



Steps to Independence


WISEPlace is a shelter program for unaccompanied homeless women from throughout Orange County. WISEPlace offers programs that help homeless and destitute women move  into a productive place in our community. Our programs correspond to the four major groups of women that are served:


  1. “Steps to Independence” targets women who are victims of domestic violence, are recovering from drug and/or alcohol abuse or who have been referred by an emergency shelter program.  It also serves women who have survived a devastating financial reversal. Along with safe and affordable housing, residents receive  support services including case management, financial literacy training, employment assistance, clothing, meals, transportation, individual  counseling and referrals to medical resources;
  2. “First Step” targets the growing number of young women who emancipate from the foster care system and are literally landing on the streets with no support system and very few survival skills. “First Step” provides the  services of our “Steps to Independence” program  with more intensive life-skills training and mentoring opportunities;
  3. “Senior Step” provides solutions to the health and job related challenges facing senior, homeless women. “Senior Step” provides the  services of the “Steps to Independence” program along with helping the women create a secure future for themselves. 
  4. “Positive Step” provides second stage housing for up to 5 WISEPlace graduates at a time. Positive Step serves women with the most intensive service needs; women that have been chronically homeless with a contributing condition.  Positive Step  is a short term permanent housing project and women who reside there will be able to stay as long as they chose to providing they are continuing to pay rent and adhere to their lease agreement.


Through the Steps to Independence program, WISEPlace serves more than 90 women per year. 

Budget  $624,000.00
Category  Housing, General/Other Homeless Shelter
Population Served Homeless Adults Females
Program Short-Term Success 
100% of Steps to Independence program participants know how to create an individual budget. 70% are actively saving and managing to their budget.
Program Long-Term Success 
100% of the women that complete our Steps to Independence Program obtain full time employment, or establish another secure source of income, over 70% move to permanent housing.  100% of our residents who left our Positive Step program in 2014 exited with a job and permanent housing.
Program Success Monitored By 
WISEPlace administers pre and post test in all life-skills modules, including Health and Wellness, Education, Finances, Employment, and Relationships . In addition progress is monitored through program case management notes, Financial Empowerment notes on budgeting, etc., psychological counseling progress, employment verification, and data that is available through the  Orange County Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)
Examples of Program Success  In her early thirties, and fleeing a lifetime of domestic violence and substance abuse, Kimberly came to WISEPlace looking for a safe environment in which to heal. Encouraged by counseling sessions, she quickly gained strength and self-confidence – and to her own surprise, she found employment within a month of her arrival.

Learning to budget with the help of her financial empowerment coach, she saved enough money to buy a car and insurance. By the time she completed her Steps to Independence program, she had also begun to heal shattered family relationships, especially with her son.

With the help of WISEPlace and the City of Santa Ana’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) she was able to move into permanent housing, where she received ongoing case management support for  90 days as she continued her transition to independence. 
Now on her own, Kimberly is thriving in her own place having both the confidence and the skill set to live an independent live. 


SAFEPlace provides a low barrier emergency shelter with supportive services and an opportunity for women to enter into transitional housing also operated by WISE Place for Women. SAFEPlace houses up to 60 unaccompanied women and their pets. 
Budget  2,000,000
Category  Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Public Assistance
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Alcohol, Drug, Substance Abusers Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Program Short-Term Success  Provide emergency shelter for unaccompanied women and their pets.      
Program Long-Term Success  SAFEPlace started in March 2018 as a result of the county's response to the riverbed situation. In 2018 SAFEPlace served 192 women while assisting them with links to employment, education and transitional housing.       
Program Success Monitored By  Number of women served and how many are linked to stable housing.   
Examples of Program Success  --

Positive Step

Our Positive Step program operates out of a 5 bedroom home in a residential neighborhood. Each resident has her own bedroom, shares a bathroom with one or two other women, and shares an internet equipped office, a kitchen and indoor and outdoor communal areas with the other women in the house. The participants have been chronically homeless with a contributing condition such as domestic violence or a mental health diagnosis. They pay a maximum of 30% of their income in rent which also includes case management, financial empowerment, individual psychological counseling, life skills training and mentoring.
Budget  $50,000
Category  Housing, General/Other Affordable Housing
Population Served Adults Females Homeless
Program Short-Term Success  100% of the women who have lived in the Positive Step house for over 6 months in the last year moved to another permanent housing situation.
Program Long-Term Success    When Zelda came to WISEPlace she was in her mid-40’s and had been drug-free  for 90 days. She grew up with a  mother who was addicted to pain medications, and she followed in mom’s footsteps. She was never treated for her addiction and her own daughter followed her down the path of addiction.


After coming to WISEPlace she found employment and promoted and is now a manager in a treatment program. Her daughter Judy has again followed in mom’s footsteps, but this time in living drug-free. Judy is now the mother of a beautiful baby girl. Both mother and grandmother  are determined this baby girl will follow a much better path in life. After completing the Steps program, she went to our Positive Step Program. Three years later, she has now moved to her own permanent housing, continues with her employment and has a whole new life and lifestyle. Zelda credits WISEPlace with not just the turnaround in her own life, but also with providing a pathway of hope for future generations.

Program Success Monitored By   Success is monitored by case management notes and financial empowerment notes along with input from mentors and life-skills providers.
Examples of Program Success  --


CEO/Executive Director Brateil Aghasi
CEO Term Start Dec 2018
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Brateil Aghasi is a dynamic leader in the Orange County nonprofit community. Immediately prior to WISEPlace she was the Executive Director for Forever Footprints and has also served as the Director of  Enrollment, Recruitment and Corporate Partnerships for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County & the Inland Empire, and Chief Operating Officer for WHW. Ms. Aghasi also serves on several boards including the EliteOC, UC Irvine's Division of Continuing Education, and Cal State University, Fullerton's alumni Board of Directors. Ms. Aghasi  has received numerous awards and nominations for her involvement and has dual BA's in Sociology and Women's Studies from Cal State Fullerton. 

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Kathleen Bowman June 1996 Aug 2018
Mary Douglas Jan 1979 June 1996

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Community Recognition Orange County Office of Supervisor Andrew Do 2016


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


WHW/Men to Work
Consumer Credit Counseling
AIDS Foundation
Turning Point
Alta Med
Orange County Cancer Detection Partnership
Susan G. Komen Foundation
OC Health Care Agency
County of Orange 

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 8
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 150
Number of Contract Staff 33
Staff Retention Rate % 95%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 2
Hispanic/Latino: 4
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 1
Other (if specified): Middle Eastern
Gender Female: 10
Male: 0
Not Specified --

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Government Licenses


CEO Comments

The very small size of our staff makes succession planning difficult. Staff development and training has been implemented and will continue to be an area of focus/growth.

Foundation Comments



Board Chair Ms. Meg E. O'Toole
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired
Board Chair Term Aug 2019 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Kellie Aamodt Community Volunteer Voting
Brateil Aghasi WISEPlace Voting
Ashleigh Aitken Aitken, Aitken, Cohn Voting
Bob Bartlett Hanmi Bank Voting
Chuck Dow Pacific Mercantile Bank (retired Chief Technology Officer) Voting
Nancy Gray Pacific Mercantile Bank; VP Voting
Nicole Morse Hilmann Consulting LLC Voting
Debi Murray Community Volunteer Voting
Amber Omran Community Volunteer Voting
Meg O'Toole Community Volunteer Voting
Eileen Padberg Community Volunteer Voting
Michele Ryan Community Volunteer Voting
Traci Shirachi SmartStart Evaluation and Research Inc. Voting
Sue Staub Community Volunteer Voting
Rochelle Ward US Bank Voting
Dr. Janet Webb Benefits Consulting Solutions LLC Voting
Kristen Zampa-Dawson Behavioral Health Technician 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: 14
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 1
Other (if specified): Indian
Gender Female: 15
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 92%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments

WISEPlace is very blessed to having a group of men and women who are passionate about our mission. Each board member serves on at least one standing committee and commits to give or get at least $2,500 each year.

Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Board Governance
  • Capital Campaign
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2018 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $2,881,316.00
Projected Expenses $2,763,905.00
Form 990s

2018 Form 990

2017 Form 990

2016 Form 990

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

Audit Documents

2018 Audited Financial Statements

2014 Audited Financial Statements

2013 Audited Financial Statement

2012 Audited Financial Statement

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Revenue $2,564,572 $694,420 $645,508
Total Expenses $2,000,776 $811,124 $798,733

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$398,471 $384,975 $280,174
Government Contributions $1,393,625 $39,776 $45,801
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $1,393,625 $39,776 $45,801
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- $5,000 --
Earned Revenue $82,677 $92,350 $86,645
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- $1,818 $4,150
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $481,097 $136,121 $158,011
Revenue In-Kind $77,043 $34,380 $49,123
Other $131,659 -- $22,604

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Program Expense $1,728,077 $613,267 $598,868
Administration Expense $170,531 $142,720 $146,159
Fundraising Expense $102,168 $55,137 $53,706
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.28 0.86 0.81
Program Expense/Total Expenses 86% 76% 75%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 4% 10% 11%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Assets $1,470,687 $1,169,295 $1,245,084
Current Assets $1,098,464 $269,097 $275,478
Long-Term Liabilities $664,417 $919,340 $919,565
Current Liabilities $85,796 $92,097 $52,436
Total Net Assets $720,474 $157,858 $273,083

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 12.80 2.92 5.25

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 45% 79% 74%
Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Capital Campaign Purpose WISEPlace launched a $5 million Capital Campaign to expand our current facility to include a minimum of 30 permanent supportive housing rooms, provide much needed updated to our 1950's building, while keeping our 30 transitional housing beds. 
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

CEO Comments

Unaccompanied women remain our focus as 1-in-4 homeless adults in this country are unaccompanied women who remain vulnerable on the streets. Help us expand our current transitional housing to include permanent supportive housing. It is a critical time and we need your help! The expansion of WISEPlace will help us take a minimum of 125 women off the street each year!

Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the audited financial statements and Form 990s and consultation with the organization. For years 2009 and 2010, foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions. For years 2011, 2012 and 2013, Foundation and Corporation revenue includes government grants. 


Other Documents

Annual Report (2015)

Annual Report (2014)

Annual Report (2013)

No Other Documents currently available.