Focus on Leadership

Michael Ruane
Executive Director

Michael Ruane has served as Executive Director of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County since it was founded in February 2000, following voter approval of the Proposition 10 tobacco statewide initiative.

Guided by the Commission's goal to ensure that Orange County's children enter school healthy and ready to learn, Mr. Ruane has used his tenure to establish the Commission as a respected clearinghouse for a large and growing network of compassionate individuals, organizations, and institutions throughout the county and state.

Working side by side with these community partners, under Mr. Ruane's leadership the Commission has made positive, lasting impacts in the lives of thousands of children and their families. Among them:

  • The number of children from birth to five served by the Commission has grown five-fold, from 41,105 to more than 200,000.
  • Immunization rates for Orange County children have increased 23% -- exceeding the statewide average.
  • Fatal injuries to young children in the county have fallen 39%.
  • Academic Performance Index scores have increased 15%.
  • The number of emergency homeless shelter beds nights provided has increased 10-fold, from 8,917 to 111,530.
  • This year alone, the Commission has leveraged its funds into more than $19 million in additional state and federal funds to expand services to young children.

"Children's health, early learning, strong families and expanding capacity for children's services - supported by prudent, long-term, responsible budgeting and planning - have been the guiding lights of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County," according to Mr. Ruane. "Those are among the reasons our Commission has garnered a high degree of respect."

Mr. Ruane also has been active statewide in issues involving Proposition 10 and the county First 5/Children and Families Commissions it has created. He served as President of the First 5 Association of California for two years, and is an officer of the California Children and Families Foundation, and Chair of the Orange County Health Needs Assessment and Health Funders Partnership.

Prior to becoming Executive Director of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, Mr. Ruane served the County of Orange as Assistant County Executive Officer for Strategic and Intergovernmental Affairs from 1996 to 2000. From 1989 to 1996, he served as Director of the Orange County Environmental Management Agency.

Mr. Ruane earned his Master's Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from UCLA, and is an Adjunct Lecturer in the Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning at UC Irvine. He lives in Irvine with his wife and two sons.