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Neighborhood Series: The Hutton Parker Foundation

Pam Lewis, CEO Hutton Parker Foundation

“Being a neighbor means carrying out unwarranted acts of kindness with no expectation that you will receive anything in return, but with the trust that, if you are ever in need, a neighbor will do the same for you.” – Madison Martin, Executive Assistant to CPO/SVP and CI Leadership

Previously in the Neighborhood Series, we talked to the SBCC Foundation and learned that even self-contained campus neighborhoods rely on the support of their neighbors in other sectors to spark innovation and inspire new ideas. For example, the SBCC Foundation was inspired to model the Hutton Parker Foundation in its strategy of purchasing office buildings and renting them out to nonprofit organizations at below-market rents. So, we asked the CEO of the Hutton Parker Foundation, Pam Lewis, what neighborhood means to them.

“Being a neighbor means being a friend and a partner and looking out for each other,” said Lewis. “For the Hutton Parker Foundation, this means looking out for our tenants, who are our neighbors, and creating a community for them to share ideas, lean on each other and solve problems.”

The Hutton Parker Foundation has its roots in 1975 when Betty Hutton’s husband, Harold, whom she ran a large oil company with, passed away. Upon his death, she decided to close the company’s oil operation and return to her hometown of Orange, California, and establish Hutton Companies, a commercial real estate development corporation. In 1984, Betty Hutton asked Tom Parker to help her run the company and they worked together to grow and stabilize Hutton Companies and then activate and fund the Hutton Parker Foundation. Betty Hutton passed away in 1995, but the Hutton Parker Foundation maintained its mission to promote organizational stability to nonprofits in Santa Barbara County, specifically by providing quality office space for nonprofits to work. The Foundation has now grown into one the largest private family foundations located in Santa Barbara County, awarding nearly $4 million in grants, donations and discounted rent to approximately 300 nonprofit organizations annually.

“Our accessible downtown location helps eliminate the mystique around being a funder because it allows us to be physically near our grantees and makes us more approachable,” said Lewis. “By providing spaces for nonprofits to work, we also inspire face-to-face interactions, which can be more effective in spurring ideas, building trust and creating an understanding that can sometimes be lost over email or the phone.”

The foundation itself is located at 26 West Anapamu in a building that was once a piano store, later an ice cream parlor and, at one point, even a basement cigar bar. Today, it shares the building with the Fund for Santa Barbara, the Community Environmental Council, the June G. Outhwaite Charitable Trust and Westmont College and provides a conference space for nonprofits and funders to meet and discuss ideas. However, the foundation also partners with many other neighboring organizations, such as the J.S. Bower Foundation, the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Orfalea Foundation, to launch nonprofit projects, like NPRN, and host trainings and events.

“In all of our buildings, we offer shared conference spaces for nonprofits to host different events,” said Lewis. “I believe that this creates comradery, inspires synergy and provides opportunities for organizations to become part of unique and sometimes unexpected neighborhoods. Sometimes, it is the neighbors that you least expect, such as those you meet during your lunch runs to Jersey Mike’s or the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Café, that can provide true inspiration or a new idea that really encompasses the value of being in a neighborhood.”

Stay tuned for the next Neighborhood Series as we continue the conversation with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where Hutton Parker Foundation staff sometimes enjoy lunch, and learn what this neighborhood means to them.
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