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John and Peggy Maximus Fund

Peggy Maximus

Known for her extraordinary energy, intellect, and compassion, Peggy Maximus touched the lives of every person with whom she came into contact. Born in Poltava, Ukraine, Peggy immigrated to the United States with her family. She graduated from the University of Southern California and quickly established herself as one of the leading interior designers in Los Angeles. Near the end of World War II, she met her future husband, commercial artist John Maximus. The two were married in 1948 and relocated to New York City where they worked together in John’s design practice in Rockefeller Center. Peggy and John eventually retired to Santa Barbara in the late 1970s.

In 1999, Peggy established the John and Peggy Maximus Fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation. Even though she passed away in 2004, her generous heart and giving spirit continue to live on in perpetuity through an estate fund. Every year, distributions from her fund positively impact numerous lives as she continues to support the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Santa Barbara Public Library, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Music Academy of the West, and scholarships for foster youth.

Since 2005, the John and Peggy Maximus Fund has provided fellowships and scholarships for Music Academy of the West students and for the engagement and support of ensembles. This support is critical to the success of these burgeoning talents. Only 10% of applicants are accepted into this highly competitive program, but the cost of summer academies can often rule out participation. For a student like Julie Thayer, who received a scholarship from the Maximus Fund, the Music Academy of the West experience had a lasting impact on her development as a professional musician. She considers the deeply collaborative and broader focus more realistic of what is expected of musicians today. “To master an instrument takes real dedication and no one has done this without the support of a patron,” stated Thayer. “We rely on the generosity of patron’s like Peggy Maximus to keep music alive.” Today, Thayer continues to play music as the fourth horn in the Houston Symphony, performing 52 weeks a year.

Peggy Maximus felt strongly that access to knowledge is central to a free and civil society, deeply valuing the role libraries play in disseminating this knowledge. Because of this sentiment, Peggy continues to support the Santa Barbara Public Library. “This fiscal year, the Maximus Fund provided for 38% of the entire materials budget,” said Irene Macias, library director. “As the library provides services to all ages from children to seniors, and attempts to meet a variety of needs from literacy services for adults to the latest technology such as e-books, the gift to the library has a far reach into the community.”

As the Greek Statesman Pericles stated, “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” Peggy Maximus has very thoughtfully woven her spirit into the lives of others, making a positive impact on those living in Santa Barbara County.
North County Headquarters:  (805) 346-6123  |   2625 S. Miller Street, Suite 101, Santa Maria, CA 93455
South County Headquarters:  (805) 963-1873  |  1111 Chapala Street, Suite 200, Santa Barbara, CA 93101