Stories of Philanthropy

The Santa Barbara Foundation celebrates donors who make a difference. Here, donors share their perspectives on the power of philanthropy and bringing about positive change in our community.

 

Diane Adam

If there is one thing Diane Adam enjoys more than volunteering her own time and talents, it is helping others experience the fun in giving. A keen observer and listener, Diane enjoys connecting people with causes that are a strong match for their interests. "One of my goals in life is to help people have a positive experience of giving," said Diane. "I want them to walk away from me thinking, 'Diane is having a good time volunteering. I should try it, too!'" Read More...

 

Tina and Paul McEnroe

Most of us do not remember the complexities involved with learning how to read. For many of us, it just happened as part of our childhood. But for those children who struggle with reading, developing this skill seems like an insurmountable challenge. Award-winning educator Tina McEnroe, and her husband Paul, both realizing the tremendous need in the community, were thrilled to be able to open the Tina Hansen McEnroe and Paul V. McEnroe Reading & Language Arts Clinic under the umbrella of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UCSB, so that children could receive the reading skills they need to develop into productive, engaged, responsible adults. Read More...

 

Anne Smith Towbes

Known throughout Santa Barbara County for her philanthropic efforts, Anne Smith Towbes has given time, energy, resources, and leadership to create positive impact in the community. For Anne, this spirit of generosity was largely instilled in her by a favorite aunt, Miriam Tabor. When Miriam passed away at the age of 99, she donated a large part of her estate to her alma mater and divided the rest among her family. With Miriam’s gift, Anne opened a donor advised fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation, and has since supported a variety of nonprofit organizations. “I admire those in the nonprofit sector, doing the hard work of addressing real community needs,” said Anne. Read More...

 

Mike and Diane Wondolowski

Like many, Mike and Diane Wondolowski were drawn to Santa Barbara for its natural beauty, perfect weather, beaches, mountains, and outdoor activities. They also saw a community focused on environmental responsibility – a cause for which they have become passionate advocates. “We strongly believe that we have an obligation to give back to the community,” said Diane. “Our support of issues and organizations includes a combination of our time and our donations, specifically focusing our attention on areas surrounding environmental issues, education, and social justice.” Read More...

 

Ron and Mary Nanning

Ron and Mary Nanning met in Tucson, Arizona while both were serving in the United States Air Force, eventually transferring to Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County. The Nannings have lived in Santa Maria for over 30 years, only leaving for a brief two-year period to live in Washington, D.C. while Mary was working for the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. Now both retired, Ron as a colonel and Mary as a lieutenant colonel, they remain active in the community, volunteering with several local organizations. “I have been volunteering for so long, it is just in my nature to stick my nose in other people’s business,” said Ron. “But in all seriousness, I enjoy it so much! I would not know what to do with myself if I did not volunteer.” Read More...

 

Nancy Schlosser

Nancy Schlosser grew up on the North Shore in Winnetka, Illinois, one of five children. Her father was a prominent member of the community, always doing his part to lend a hand. It was from his example, that Nancy learned the value of giving back. She would later attend Colorado College, where she met her husband on a blind date. William, a graduate of Williams College, went on to co-found a company called Western Forge, created with Sears & Roebuck to manufacture Craftsman handtools. The couple later moved to Defiance, Ohio, where the cold winters started to make Nancy think summer would never come. Nancy and William decided to pack up their children to spend winters in Santa Barbara, later becoming permanent residents. Read More...

 

Joe and Jean Olivera

Joe and Jean Olivera have called Santa Maria home for 92 years. They attended Santa Maria High School, married in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, raised four children, and recently celebrated their 70th anniversary. Throughout their lives, the Oliveras have epitomized a strong work ethic, commitment to family, and service to their community and country. Read More...

 

Sterling Morton

In the late 1950s, long before endowment funds became a popular vehicle for charitable giving, the Morton Salt family had the insight to set up a fund with the Santa Barbara Foundation that would benefit organizations they cared about in perpetuity. To date, the Mortons’ legacy has yielded more than $1.2 million in grants and continues to support beloved organizations including Cottage Hospital, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Santa Barbara Foundation. Read More...

 

Robert Isham

Robert Isham, Sr. has been a long-time donor and donor advised fundholder at the Santa Barbara Foundation. Usually, he makes contributions to his fund through gifts of stock. Recently, Robert found six Austrian Corona gold coins he bought 40 years ago collecting dust in a drawer. They were inexpensive at the time he bought them, and now that the price of gold is high, he thought he might be able to get a nice return on his investment. Wanting to turn the gold coins into a philanthropic gift, Robert entrusted the coins to the foundation’s Finance Department, who sold them by the end of the day, earning him $9800! Read More...

 

Helen Brown

A resident of Goleta for over 50 years, Helen Brown has always had a desire to give. Generous with her time and talent, she can be found serving cookies, tea, and coffee with a warm smile to patients at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara. Helen also pays a weekly visit to Direct Relief International, where she and a group of friends prepare bandages to be shipped to a clinic in need. Read More...

 

Cliff Lambert

What sets Cliff apart is his vision and commitment to making Santa Barbara a better place for young people to grow up and develop into young adults. Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Cliff’s earlier professional work as athletic director of the Boys and Girls Club and at Bishop Diego High School, and then his twenty year tenure with the City of Santa Barbara Youth Activities Program, has enabled him to personally touch and inspire many who were once unseen and unheard. Read More...

 

Ken Saxon

Ken and his wife, Jo, moved to Santa Barbara 14 years ago to raise their family. An active volunteer and an incubator of ideas, Ken is an articulate, compassionate, and talented person who has been giving to his community and building philanthropy since the day he arrived. He is an exceptional leader, inspiring people to be involved with philanthropy, from those with modest means to those with great wealth. Read More...

 

Jim Jackson

There are many strong traditions in the Jackson Family. One of them is a commitment to philanthropy for the betterment of Santa Barbara County. Since 1927, generation after generation of Jacksons have helped to steward our county’s welfare, from the building of important civic projects to addressing the county’s most pressing problems - devoting time, intelligence, and energy in addition to financial contributions. Read More...

 

Patricia Dillon Bliss

Raised in Sacramento, Patty later attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she met her husband, Terry. It did not take long for her to begin making a positive impact in our community. Patty has been a full-time community volunteer since 1967, helping people in need through an impressive list of nonprofits - Planned Parenthood, Junior League of Santa Barbara, Family Service Agency, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, and the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara. Read More...

 

Léni Fé Bland

Music crosses all borders, and so does Léni Fé Bland. A petite, silver-haired woman with perfect posture, Léni speaks with a British accent and lively enthusiasm for her twin passions: music and philanthropy. A native of England, Léni Fé Bland has traveled widely and lived in France and Switzerland. She grew up in a family where music was highly valued. A classically trained vocal artist, she was once invited to perform for a group of blind people. Her performance was enthusiastically received and thus was born a passion for helping others through music. Read More...

 

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. Read More...

 

Dr. Perfettino Paul Riparetti

Dr. Perfettino Paul Riparetti occupies a unique niche in the history of the Santa Barbara Foundation - a scholarship recipient in the 1930s, a trustee in the 1980s, and a scholarship funder in the 1990s. Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Dr. Riparetti attended local schools, and the University of Southern California’s medical school. Twenty-one students received aid from the Foundation in the 1930s. One of them was young P. Paul Riparetti. “Money from the Santa Barbara Foundation kept me in medical school,” he said. “It was a loan I was very happy to repay. Read More...

 

Gwendolyn Mae Shelley Floro

Gwendolyn Mae Shelley Floro was born in a farming community near Farnam, Nebraska in 1913. The oldest of six children, she spent her childhood and received her education in rural schools in the area. She attended Stockville High School, graduating in 1930 at the beginning of the Great Depression. In 1934, she married Clarence Floro of Stockville and together they managed a general store. Nine years later, the couple created a family by adopting three children at once. Within the year, they sold their business and made plans to move the family to California. Read More...

 

Russell Bock

He kept a low profile in the community, but his name is synonymous with giving back. Russell Bock was well-known to tax attorneys and accountants for his Guidebook to Taxes (Commerce Clearing House), in print for more than 50 years. His charitable interests ranged far and wide. Mr. Bock provided significant local support for the arts as well as for numerous organizations that support children, seniors, and the environment. Read More...

 

More stories of philanthropy...

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