In 2001, Kathy Burnham – now Executive Director of the Foundation – established a volunteer support group in response to input from Judge Wendy Lindley regarding the needs of participants in the Orange County Collaborative Court programs. While these programs were very effective, Judge Lindley realized that participants with substance abuse and/or mental health issues had an even better chance of success – in the program and after graduation – if there was a way to address their educational and other needs. Over time, the Courts asked the Foundation to address other needs such as housing, dental services and vision care.
In 2003 and to better address participant needs, Kathy formally established the Drug Court Foundation – a project of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Three years later, she established the Community Courts Foundation, now named the Collaborative Courts Foundation. The Foundation now provides a wide range of support and services including housing, dental and vision care, scholarships, supplemental mental health counseling, tattoo removal, transportation, cultural programs and recreational activities that enable participants to re-establish relationships with family and friends.
As the years have passed and the first programs proved incredibly successful, the Superior Court added four mental health courts, four juvenile collaborative courts, a dependency drug court, five DUI courts, a Combat Veterans Court, a Military Diversion Court and a Homeless Outreach Court. With the addition of these new Court programs, the Foundation has had to work even harder to find resources to meet the ever increasing participant needs. The Foundation has secured funding from the Assistance League of Laguna Beach, the Orange County Bar Association and the Bureau of Justice Administration. However, these grants fall short of our financial needs and reduce the chances that participants become productive members of society.
The Collaborative Courts Foundation Board of Directors are well-respected members of the community and business organizations. Each member of the Board of Directors supports the Foundation’s mission and the Collaborative Court programs.
Anthony Maurillo —
Chairman of the Board
Anthony became involved in the Collaborative Counts Foundation (CCF) as a result of his son, Anthony Jr.’s participation in Judge Wendy Lindley’s Drug Court in 2011. Anthony and his wife Lynn were very grateful for the various benefits offered by the Collaborative Courts Foundation. Anthony JR’s brightest and most promising times were a direct result of the CCF’s support. Tragically, Lynn and Anthony’s son lost his battle and passed away in 2013. So determined to prevent others from experiencing the same tragedy both Lynn and Anthony joined CCF’s Board and have dedicated themselves to continuing the work that they see as crucial in assisting their son’s recovery at that time.
Anthony is a senior Boeing 777 Caption for American Airlines at Los Angeles, flying international routes around the globe.
Leslie Howard – Secretary
Leslie joined the board after retiring from 27+ years with Orange County Superior Court, 16 of which was with Collaborative Courts. During this time, she witnessed firsthand the benefits the Foundation provided to the Court participants. When invited to the board, there was no question but to continue to help with the amazing work and assistance that the Collaborative Courts Foundation provides.
Christmas 2013, Susan witnessed the tragic and untimely death of her nephew —struck down by an accidental drug overdose.
This tragic loss galvanized Susan to join others in the battle against substance abuse.
Since then, Susan has dedicated herself to the Collaborative Court Foundation, becoming a Board Member in 2016.
In addition, as a Chaplain and Board Member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Post 281, Susan has been instrumental in bringing awareness of the Collaborative Courts program to Veterans in need.
Deborah Schlesinger, RN
Deborah became involved with the Collaborative Courts Foundation after meeting founder, Kathy Burnham, at a dinner party in Laguna Beach in 2017. Deborah’s interest in the Collaborative Courts Foundation’s mission stems from the loss of her younger sister to an accidental prescription drug overdose in 2010. In 2018 Deborah joined the CCF board with the goal of creating public awareness of the Collaborative Courts Programs, the work of the Collaborative Courts Foundation and the public health crisis surrounding substance use disorders.
Rita joined the foundation this year after learning about Collaborative Courts from founder, Kathy Burnham. Rita is honored to be part of a foundation that assists people in overcoming addiction and suffering in their lives. After the tragic death of her daughter in law, Rita experienced firsthand the desperation and tragedy of addiction, and how it tears families apart. Rita wants to help others in similar situations get their lives back on track and become productive members of society again.
Jenifer was introduced to the Collaborative Courts Foundation in her role as a Patroness with the Monarch Chapter of the National Charity League and joined the CCF board in 2017. Jenifer has been practicing civil defense law in the community for 22 years and jumped at the chance to take a board position to better support the men and woman who are courageously seeking a second chance through the strenuous alcohol, drug, homeless and veterans programs offered by the courts as alternatives to incarceration.
Jenifer and her daughters Ava & Mia consider it their greatest privilege to partner with the Collaborative Courts Foundation and offer their time and hearts to the hard working judges, court staff and program participants who all share a common goal: conquering substance abuse and living to one’s fullest potential.
Kay has been on the Board of Directors of Collaborative Court Foundation for over five years. She had attended some CCF events previous to joining the board, and also participated in presentation of financial literacy, and attended the graduations of the participants as they completed their program with the courts. Kay was always very impressed with their assistance to the Courts, and was honored when asked to join the board.