Donor Spotlight: Ashley and Eli Parker Continue Family Legacy of Philanthropy through Donor Advised Fund

From left to right: Eli Parker, Ashley Parker-Snider, Tim Snider and Kristopher Parker.
Photo courtesy of Pacific Coast Business Times.

The Parker family is well known throughout Santa Barbara County and the country for their award winning wines, beautiful vineyards, and significant presence in the hospitality industry. Local residents and tourists experience the many facets of the late Fess Parker’s legacy and entrepreneurship every day, and it’s no surprise that their good will extends back into the community through their philanthropy and volunteerism.

“I’ve had the privilege of serving as a Board member for organizations that have meaning to me and my family,” shared Ashley Parker. “My grandmother, father, mother and sister-in-law all benefited from the services and therapy provided by the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital. Often organizations like these are overlooked because they lack the ‘glamour’ of other, more well- known nonprofits.”

There are many groups of which the family has had long-time affiliation including the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Bishop Diego High School, Direct Relief, Life Chronicles, and the Old Yeller Ranch Rescue. “The work of Life Chronicles also touched my heart for personal reasons. Having lost a spouse under circumstances that did not allow for a taping or capturing of memories, it means so much to me when I see a young family be able to have a video recording of their loved one. It’s even proven to be very therapeutic for them,” said Parker.

The vineyards are frequently approached with requests for in-kind donations of their product. With all of the worthwhile community events, auctions and fundraisers benefitting local organizations, they could donate ten cases of wine per day. Instead, they have decided to be more purposeful and personal in their giving. They have selected several organizations every year to support with in-kind donations.

To further their philanthropy, the Parkers recently transitioned from a family foundation to a donor advised fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation which comes with several financial advantages, and allows them to be more thoughtful and efficient in their grant making. “We are able to offer support to our fundholders that provides a seamless transition from a foundation to a donor advised fund. This enables families to not have to bear the burden of administrative oversight or having to meet private foundation requirements for annual distribution of funds,” expressed Jan Campbell, Chief Philanthropic Officer.

Parker concurred that, “The process at the Santa Barbara Foundation could not be easier. Jan and her team were so kind and helpful, and signing up was not complicated at all.” The Parkers are looking forward to continue their family legacy of philanthropy, and are excited about the prospect of engaging their children and third generation in their giving.
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