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Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club: Making Philanthropy Fun

Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club 2007

Roaring laughter, inside jokes and generous sentiments overtook the Santa Maria Inn during the early morning on June 8 for the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club’s weekly meeting. While the fun and games carried on throughout the meeting, there is no question that the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club is serious when it comes to making Santa Maria Valley the best it can be.

“This is a place where we can come to have fun and not take ourselves too seriously, while also working to improve the quality of life for our community,” said Patrick McDermott, CPA at McDermott & Apkarian, LLP, charter member, past president of the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club and president of the club’s Foundation. “We like to offer a hand up, not a hand out and really show our fellow community members that we are here and that we care.”

The members of the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club show how they care about the community in a variety of different ways. Each meeting, members are allowed to “brag” about anything they would like, as long as it is accompanied by a donation to the Rotary Club’s foundation, which sponsors its scholarship program and is made possible through an agency endowment with the Santa Barbara Foundation.

The agency endowment program at Santa Barbara Foundation is a perfect vehicle for nonprofit organizations that wish to grow their money a bit more than can be done in certificates of deposit or traditional savings accounts. Sixty nonprofit agencies use this service and have come to rely on the Santa Barbara Foundation for investment and gift expertise, assisting with planned giving marketing and gifts, when needed.

This year, with the support of the Roy and Ida Eagle Foundation, the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club was able to award $30,000 in scholarships to 30 local high school students. Supporting youth and the next generation of leaders and philanthropists is of particular importance to not only Santa Maria Rotarians, but to Rotarians in the over 33,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide who want to make the world a better place to live.

“The scholarship program is something that is near and dear to our hearts because most of us are parents and we want to support and enrich the lives of the youth in our community because we have watched them grow up,” said Mike Gibson, Chair of the Santa Maria Breakfast Club’s Scholarship Committee. “We also hope that we can increase the visibility of our service club among the younger generations and get them involved as they grow older so that we can sustain all the great work we do in the community.”

The youth that the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club supports are definitely taking note of all of the philanthropic work that the Rotary Club supports, as evidenced by a letter from one of the scholarship recipients, Mario Zubia, who is now pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of California San Francisco.

“Volunteering is still near and dear to my heart; when I get the chance, I try my best to give back,” wrote Zubia in his letter. “This letter does not really do my gratitude any justice, but I just wanted to provide an update and let you know that your support is appreciated and does make a difference.”

In addition to helping youth like Zubia, the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club provides support to youth in organizations like CALM, the Santa Maria Valley Boys and Girls Club and the Santa Barbara County Education Office’s Special Education Vision Program, who came to speak at the June 8 meeting. Overall, the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club provided $80,000 to support over 40 local organizations with varying missions in 2016. Beyond charitable contributions, the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club collaborates on many service events, such as the Christmas Parade of Lights, that encourage Rotary members to volunteer their time and talents in the community.

“These Rotarians are very supportive of one another, actively work to improve the lives of those in their community and make a positive impact together, even in the smallest of ways,” said Kathy Simas, North County Director of the Santa Barbara Foundation and member of the Club.

Regardless of who they are supporting through philanthropy or voluntarism, the members of the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club are continually making a positive impact in Santa Maria Valley that not only betters the lives of those in the community, but is also a whole lot of fun.

For more information about setting up an agency endowment with the Santa Barbara Foundation, please visit the website or contact Lynette Muscio at
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