SMF Board of Directors

Saddleback Memorial Foundation has three new board members, effective July 1, 2018, who will bring their passion for philanthropy to help further the organization’s mission to raise funds for MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center.

Sandy Benson was already closely connected with the Foundation prior to becoming a board member, as a member of the Heritage Society. Heritage Society members have included Saddleback Memorial Foundation in their will, trust or estate.

“I have a history with Saddleback and always felt very good about my experience,” said Benson. “I live in Laguna Woods, so the hospital is right in my backyard, and by volunteering and serving on the board, I feel like I’m helping give back to the people in my own community.”

Benson currently works for Resources Global Professional, an integrated solutions consulting firm. Prior to that, she worked for Pacific Investment Management Company for 20-plus years. Previous volunteer work included service to hospice organizations and also assisting AIDS patients with estate planning.

Giving back runs in the blood of new board member Heidi Stoops, a real estate professional from Aliso Viejo with First Team Real Estate. Originally from Tennessee, known as “the Volunteer state,” Stoops says, “I wake up each day asking what I can do to make a difference in people’s lives.”

For the past two years, Stoops has been a member of Beauty In Grace, Saddleback Memorial Foundation’s women’s giving circle, which raises funds for program or equipment related to women’s health at Saddleback Medical Center. She understands the value of philanthropy on patients, as a patient herself and having two grandsons who were born at the nonprofit hospital.

“I’m super excited to serve on the board,” she added. “My father was in the healthcare industry and my sister is a nurse, so they would be really proud of me.”

Stoops also volunteers as president of the Aliso Viejo Chamber of Commerce, as well as CureDuchenne, which supports patients with a form of muscular dystrophy that affects only boys. She works with the City of Aliso Viejo supporting the U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton through various events.

Also joining the board in July is Gus Alvarez, a seasoned insurance services professional from Santa Ana. Alvarez often helps physicians who are retiring with their insurance needs, and specializes in Medicare.

As a founder of Team Alvarez Insurance Services, he leads an organization that trains and provides marketing support to more than 600 agents that services over 20,000 Medicare beneficiaries in California, Nevada and Arizona. Alvarez personally recruits and trains new agents, while representing numerous types of individual, group, life and supplemental health plans.

In regards to serving on the Foundation board, Alvarez says, “I saw an opportunity to do something I haven’t done before, and I feel it’s an honor and a privilege.”

He added that he hopes to open more doors for the Foundation to help expand their donor base. Alvarez’s wife, Theresa Henry, is an emergency room physician assistant, and he hopes to tap into her knowledge to help the Foundation serve the hospital’s needs.

“I know these three new board members will bring special energy to our mission,” said Cecilia Belew, president of Saddleback Memorial Foundation. “I’m looking forward to utilizing their expertise and fundraising with them in support of Saddleback Medical Center.”