the foundation


Board of Directors

Kajsa James – Co-founder and President
Ms. James is Maddie’s mother.  Prior to devoting her time to raising Maddie, Ms. James was employed by Pacific Life Insurance Company as an Event Planner in the Annuities and Mutual Funds Division.  She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Ocean Institute.  Ms. James graduated with a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from California State University, Fullerton.

Collie James – Co-founder and Treasurer
Mr. James is Maddie’s father and is a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.  Mr. James also serves on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Bar Foundation and Orange County Marathon Foundation.  Mr. James graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Dartmouth College and received his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.

Wendy Peloso – Executive Director
After a successful career as a corporate attorney at Latham & Watkins LLP, Ms. Peloso devoted herself to philanthropic projects, developing and executing strategic plans for various non-profit organizations including the Discovery Museum of Orange County and the San Clemente Junior Women’s Club.  In addition to her duties with the Foundation, Ms. Peloso is the Director of the Arbonne Charitable Foundation.  She graduated with a B.A. in Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and received her J.D. from the University of Southern California School of Law.

Lisa Fields – Secretary
Ms. Fields is Maddie’s aunt and Assistant Vice President at Pacific Life Insurance Company.  Ms. Fields also serves on the Board of Directors of the Aliso Viejo Little League and graduated with a B.A. in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.

Justin Alderson
Mr. Alderson is Founder and President of Alderson Broadcasting, where he is currently the Executive Producer of the leading luxury hotel in-room video television show, “WITHIN”.  He also serves as the lead play by play announcer for Cal State Fullerton Athletics, where he earned his B.A. in Radio TV/Film.  He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Cal State Fullerton Athletics, TACA (Talk About Curing Autism), and Hope 4 Hanna.

Shane P. Brosnan
Mr. Brosnan is the Founder and President of Brosnan & Associates Financial & Insurance Services, LLC.  He serves on the Board of Directors for AYSO Region 97.  Mr. Brosnan earned his B.S. from Arizona State University.

Jeff Cova
Jeff Cova is Founder and CEO of Winspire Inc.  Winspire assists non-profits in the United States and Canada by providing unique experiences and travel-related packages for charity auctions and fundraisers. Prior to Winspire, Mr. Cova was co-founder of The Gavel Group in 2001, a company specializing in producing charity auctions for non-profits. In addition to his professional career helping non-profits, he is an ambassador for TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) and supports St Joseph Hospital Regional Cancer Center.  Mr. Cova graduated from Fresno State University with a degree in Sports Administration.

Jacqueline Dupont
Dr. Dupont is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Dupont Residential Care and Assured InHome Care Inc.  In addition to serving on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association, she also serves or has served on the boards of  St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel, JSerra Catholic High School, National Parkinson’s Foundation, South County Senior Services (now called AgeWell), Salvation Army, Woman’s Sage, the UCI MIND Institute Alzheimer’s diseases institute, and the Magis Institute.  She has chaired close to twenty fundraising galas, including  the Alzheimer’s Association Gala (founder) and chair of The Captain’s Ball for Meals on Wheels (founder) , University of California Irvine MIND Clinic Gala (founder), and will be the 2011 Mission Hospital Gala Chair.  Dr. Dupont is a Gerontologist with a Bachelors, two Masters and two PhDs from the University of San Diego and the University of Southern California.

Mernie Empalmado
Ms. Empalmado is the Principal of Ink Loves Paper, a graphic design firm.  Her past non-profit work includes Boys Hope Girls Hope Orange County, CHOC, and Habitat for Humanity.  Ms. Empalmado earned a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.

Susan Hoover Miller
Ms. Hoover is Vice President of Major Gifts at the Ocean Institute.  A fund development professional for more than 24 years, Ms. Hoover worked with several non-profits including The Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Human Options before coming to the Ocean Institute.  She is past Board President of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, Orange County, and was named Outstanding Nonprofit Professional for Orange County in 1999.  Ms. Hoover graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Jodi Yamane
Ms. Yamane is the Communications Coordinator in community outreach for the Wyland Foundation.  Prior to working for Wyland, she worked in early childhood education, as an emergency room admitting counselor, and in marketing and customer service.  In her spare time, she teaches yoga.  Ms. Yamane earned a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, Advertising Management from California State University, Fullerton, as well as a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education from Irvine Valley College.

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Mission Statement

The mission of the Maddie James Foundation is to raise funds for the construction and ongoing operation of The Maddie James Seaside Learning Center at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, CA.  In addition, we provide scholarship funding and program support for educational initiatives focusing on marine biology education and conservation.