Variety — The Children’s Charity of Southern California has appointed Murray Wood as its new executive director. Mr. Wood spent nearly 30 years in the field of development and fundraising, with executive leadership experience in higher education, nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, and public affairs.

Most recently, Mr. Wood served as director of development and marketing for New Directions, Inc., raising record support for the leading drug and alcohol addiction recovery agency for homeless U.S. veterans in Southern California. Prior to that, he served as the associate vice president for university development at California State University, Northridge where he achieved an outstanding record in fundraising – including several major gifts over $1 million. While at Cal State Northridge, Murray was also a member of the faculty for the Certificate Program in Fundraising and Development at the Roland Tseng College of Extended Learning.

“I am pleased that we have succeeded in attracting an executive director with Murray’s outstanding credentials. The Board of Directors and I look forward to working with him, and I am confident he will help us move forward in this critical position,” said Variety President Mary Nakagawa.

Working alongside with Murray will be Maria Schmidt, the outgoing executive director, who has served Tent 25 for more than 20 years. She will continue her involvement with variety in an advisory capacity handling special projects as executive director emerita. While enjoying a career in Investment Banking she served on the Board of Directors from 1986 – 1990 then in 1990 she accepted the position of executive director so that she could devote all of her time to Variety’s special needs children. She is well known and respected in the community as well as by everyone in Variety who has had the privilege of working with her. Nakagawa said, “we thank her and are pleased that she will continue to serve the children – always her first priority.”

“I am honored to be part of an organization with such a wonderful legacy and long tradition of caring for children across the globe,” said Mr. Wood. “I look forward to working with the charity’s distinguished board and devoted volunteers.”

Mr. Wood received his Masters Degree in Social Service from Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and his Bachelor of Arts in English-Education from La Salle University.

Long considered the “Heart of Show Business,” Variety – The Children’s Charity finds its roots in the entertainment Industry. The Variety Club, established in 1927 by eleven Vaudeville showmen, still exists today for one reason – to help children in need. In its 7-decade legacy of caring for children, Variety has become the largest and most effective children’s charity in the world. The organization has grown to 53 chapters in 14 countries, and has raised over $1 billion worldwide.

The Southern California Chapter – Tent 25 was formed in 1941 and has since raised over $60 million to help children in Southern California. More information is available at