Philanthropy and generosity run in Justene Pierce’s genes. Orchestrating charitable acts since the tender age of 5 and following decades of volunteering on behalf of dozens of causes and organizations, Pierce will be honored with the prestigious President’s Award at the annual National Charity League Juniors of San Marino gala Saturday, March 11, at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles. The gala will benefit Huntington Memorial Hospital’s Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Units.
Pierce, who served as president of NCL Juniors of San Marino during 2012-13, credits her philanthropic achievements to her family, which was very active in religious, political and charitable groups.
“When life opens a door for us, you have to have the courage to walk through it,” she says.
The Northern California native reminisces about as a child, she rode with her father on the back of his bicycle 50 miles to raise funds for the Jerry Lewis Telethon supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She also helped coordinate home carnivals and lollipop sale fundraisers during those childhood years. She knew then she had found her life’s calling in helping others through charitable work.
Pierce moved to San Marino in 2006 to be closer to her husband Jason DuNah’s family. She’s the mother of two, Sierra DuNah, a 10th-grade student at San Marino High School and Drew Pratt, a 2008 SMHS graduate.
Shortly after moving into the San Marino community, she was asked to accept the very challenging role of chairing SMHS’s Grad Night. She continued to take on other large scale positions over the years.
Pierce was drawn to NCL Juniors of San Marino in 2010 because of their charitable work outside of San Marino. The group focuses on fundraising through its annual gala to assist Pasadena’s Huntington Memorial Hospital’s Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units, the Parent Connection support network and the Helen Hancock Memorial Scholarship for Advanced Degrees in Nursing.
What Pierce enjoyed most about her leadership days in NCL Juniors was the close knit nature of the small group of women which allowed her to get to know each member on a personal level.
Pierce also serves on other charity groups in the surrounding area, including Friends of Foothill Family Services, Valentine Elementary, Huntington Middle School and San Marino High School PTA’s, San Marino PTA Council, Friends of the San Marino Schools Foundation, PTAffiliates, Partnership for Awareness, San Marino Public Library Foundation, Planned Parenthood of San Gabriel Valley, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles in both San Marino and Arcadia, San Marino National Little League, Young & Healthy, Pasadena Children’s Guild, and San Marino Junior Alliance.
Pierce also works full-time as an assistant to a retired lawyer who is visually impaired. She finds this job equally as rewarding as any of her other roles since she enjoys helping those “under the age of 5 and over the age of 70.”