women dedicated to making a difference, one tea at a time


Cindy Chupack wanted to promote FINCA's village banking program (she was on the advisory board), Laura Saade was committed to CASA (she is a long-time advocate in the court system for a foster child), and Shannon Fopeano was interested in a charity that supports Chinese orphanages because she adopted her daughter from China. We realized a lot of women probably feel the same way about organizations they love, and maybe it would be inspiring and refreshing to hear from people who are making positive changes in our community and around the world.

So in September 2007 we founded Tea & Empathy.  We meet every two months (usually the second Sunday of the month) except over the summer, and it's meant to be a fun, easy way for women to get together and learn about different charitable organizations.

The host can invite additional friends and colleagues if she would like to expose more people to her cause, plus we have an ever-expanding mailing list (currently 282 women) who have been to a tea in the past and would like to be invited to future teas. We supply the host with the guest list, Laura’s china tea cups, moral support and our official Tea & Empathy silver tea urn.  The host chooses the topic and plans the program.  

We are sometimes fortunate to have a spokesperson from the organization there, but a video and passion for the cause can be just as effective.  Guests are asked to bring a plate of treats for the tea, and a suggested $25 donation for the cause.  Beyond that there's no pressure or expectation (although often people are moved to give more or get more involved). 

Ideally, we thought Tea & Empathy might be a great way to get great women together, hear from people who are making a difference, talk about things we don't get to talk about on a daily basis, and expand our worlds.  And that is exactly what it has become.

We created this website to help us keep local members up to date, educate hosts and speakers, and hopefully inspire women in other cities to start their own Tea & Empathy.



SUNDAY, June 4, 2017


Kathleen Felesina highlights Hollygrove, one of the oldest child services agencies in

Los Angeles, having served 

countless abandoned, abused, and neglected children since 1880, including 9-year-old Norma Jean Baker, who lived at Hollygrove in the 1930s when it was an orphanage.

Norma Jean later changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. Hollygrove changed as well: evolving into a vital organization that now serves the growing social-emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs for more than 1,400 children, teens, and their families each year.

our story

Tea & Empathy began because three friends in Los Angeles (all women) realized we each had organizations and causes that we loved and supported, but there was no real forum to share our passion for these causes with other women.

Tea and Empathy founders Laura Saade, Cindy Chupack and Shannon Fopeano with CASA spokesperson Patti McGovern (second from left) at our first tea