Families Forward assists with housing and operates a food pantry for those in need.

Ringing the ‘good news’ bell

Families Forward CEO Madelynn Hirneise rings the organization’s good-news bell.

Clang, clang. A ship’s bell is ringing inside the offices of Families Forward. “That’s good news,” says CEO Madelynn Hirneise.

The good-news bell is a longstanding tradition here. It means they’ve helped another Orange County family find housing.

“Our strength is permanent housing for families and services to keep them housed,” Hirneise says.

Hirneise has big shoes to fill. In October, she replaced Margie Wakeham, who over 26 years of service created one of the most impactful nonprofits in the county.

“Margie is a legend in this county,” says Hirneise, who’s worked at Families Forward for seven years.

Last year, the nonprofit helped 244 families find permanent affordable housing, while providing support services for nearly 10,000 adults and children.

“There is no better person to lead the organization as we navigate the changing landscape of homelessness in Orange County,” Families Forward board Chair Gary Cohn says.

Learn more at families-forward.org.