Celebrate Philanthropy Past Honorees

Diane Adam, 2015

Diane Adam is the kind of person who sees beyond herself to focus on the needs of others. She is forthright, honest and takes commitments seriously.Her dancing blue eyes take in everything. As anyone visiting the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum will attest, she loves bringing people together. Diane is much appreciated as a catalyst for bringing North and South County together to collaborate on projects that have benefited many.Diane says that her “philanthropic heart” was born at St. Patrick’s School, which nurtured a culture of giving and caring about the community. Diane’s mother championed education and spent time at the school volunteering. Diane says she learned from her mother to process information quickly and distill it down to the essentials.


Gayle Pratt, 2015

Gayle Pratt is known for her warm heart. Her inherent empathy for people in need, coupled with a firm belief in their ability to improve their own lives is infectious. Gayle has a special gift for inspiring people from diverse backgrounds to get involved and remain involved. When inevitable setbacks occur, she learns from them and keeps moving forward. For over 20 years, Gayle has shared her passion for community service every day, in both her personal life and at work. The youngest of three girls, Gayle grew up in a Dallas suburb with parents who modeled exceptional lessons, placing a huge emphasis on treating people with respect and on giving back. She says they were happy people, authentic and honest with very high expectations. She strives to honor their love and example by helping others.

Nancy K. Johnson, 2015

Nancy K. Johnson is small in stature but she stands tall in the estimation of those who know her.When researchers suggest that people who volunteer and assist others live longer and healthier lives, they could look to Nancy. Now in her mid-80s, Nancy begins each day with the same enthusiasm and commitment to her community that she displayed in her youth. It would be hard to find a Santa Maria Valley resident who has not been touched by Nancy’s 52 years of generosity. For more than 20 years Nancy was an active member of the community planning process with the City of Santa Maria and the County of Santa Barbara. Her artistic influence can be seen throughout the city in the numerous front porches, plazas, fountains, pedestrian benches, decorative light fixtures and increased greenery.

Dan and Peggy Blough, 2014

Dan and Peggy Blough are partners in life and partners in philanthropy. The couple has been married for over 40 years, owned and operated real estate and construction businesses together, and through it all generously gave to numerous nonprofit organizations in the Santa Maria Valley. Collectively, the Bloughs have contributed to organizations including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Maria Valley, Child Abuse Listening Mediation (CALM), Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County (DVS), Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, GenSpan Foundation, Good Samaritan Shelter, Los Padres Artist Guild, Marian Regional Medical Center, Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary, Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, Santa Maria Valley YMCA and VTC Enterprises.


Georganne Ferini, 2014

Believing that access to a quality education and excellent health care are essential for each generation, Georganne Ferini has devoted her life’s work to improving these tenets in the Santa Maria Valley. In the early 1980s, Marian Regional Medical Center wanted to create a charitable foundation and approached key members of the community for help. While serving on the foundation board, Georganne and other members were tasked with raising funds for the hospital's newly established dialysis center. Their successful efforts generated over $150,000 to purchase eight dialysis machines. While serving on the Marian Foundation Board from 1983 to 2000 and on the Marian Hospital Community Board from 2001 to 2008, Georganne was also instrumental in raising funds to build a comprehensive cardiac care program and a new 191-bed hospital. Additionally, her work has extended beyond the hospital – making generous gifts to Mission Hope Cancer Center, the first integrated oncology facility on the Central Coast.


Tom and Jane Martinez, 2013

Tom and Jane Martinez are well-known in the community for volunteering with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley, the Rotary Club of Santa Maria, the Santa Maria Valley Sportsman’s Association, and others. Tom coached Little League and Babe Ruth baseball teams in North County for over 25 years, with Jane by his side as a team mom and fundraiser. Jane is renowned for her decorating skills with the Boys & Girls Club Annual Auction, having been involved with their decorating committee for more than 20 years. She is affectionately known as the ‘Card Board Queen.’ Tom and Jane founded Celebrity Waiters’ Night, a popular fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club that raises funds to benefit youth programs. “Supporting youth and community nonprofits are the overarching philanthropic goals for Tom and Jane,” said Bill Libbon, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley. In addition to their volunteer work, Tom and Jane have been instrumental in recruiting new leaders to serve in nonprofit organizations. The couple credit their record of service to a close network of friends and a philosophy of making volunteerism a fun experience.


Mike Gibson, 2013

Mike Gibson’s philanthropy has included 25 years of service as a board member for organizations including the Rotary Club of Santa Maria Breakfast; Santa Maria Valley YMCA; Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley; Allan Hancock College Foundation; Orcutt Children’s Arts Foundation; Orcutt Union School District; United Way of the Central Coast; Santa Maria Museum of Flight; and Child Abuse Listening and Mediation (CALM). Focusing his community service on providing opportunities for youth, Gibson’s favorite volunteer moments are spending time with Boys & Girls Club youth, speaking with Allan Hancock College students who have received life-changing scholarships, and hearing how YMCA participants are receiving the resources they need to overcome challenging situations. Gibson is currently serving his 19th consecutive year as co-chair of the Santa Maria Christmas Parade of Lights. His efforts are rewarded in the joy on children’s faces and the hope that he can be an example for others, just as his father was for him.


Stuart “Stu” and Jan Bartleson, 2011

Whether supporting education, animal welfare, youth, or senior citizens, there are few philanthropic projects in the Santa Maria Valley that Stu and Jan Bartleson have not contributed. With little or no fanfare, support was given to many agencies who would have struggled to provide services or operate in tough economic times without the Bartlesons generosity. They have sponsored many events and been the lead donors to various successful campaigns including providing the Luis Oasis Senior Center with its largest gift in agency history in 2009. Stu and Jan have been major contributors to service organizations and local nonprofit agencies providing vital services and programs to the benefit of area residents.


Edwin “Bob” and Jeanne Woods, 2011

Despite their many contributions to nonprofits in the Santa Maria Valley, Bob and Jeanne Woods were able to keep a low profile—just the way they wanted it. For decades they humbly supported organizations serving the community, particularly programs for youth, the arts, and animal welfare. The couple founded the Edwin and Jeanne Woods Family Foundations so that they could give back to the community where they had raised their family and where they spent their professional lives. The list of nonprofits that have benefited from the Woods Family Foundation is more than 20 deep and comprehensive. The community suffered a grave loss in 2011 when Bob passed away at 93, followed shortly thereafter by Jeanne, who passed away at the age of ninety.  The Santa Maria Valley was truly blessed to have had their support and generosity for so many years.


Royce Lewellen and Ann Foxworthy Lewellen, 2010

Royce and Ann have been major contributors to several local organizations in Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, and throughout the county. In recognition of Royce's substantial contributions to Allan Hancock college, he was given the Outstanding Benefactor Award by the American Association of Community Colleges' Council for Resource Development. In recognition of Ann's commitment to education and the community, she has received many awards including the Marian Medical Center Distinguished Service Award, Woman of the Year for the 18th California Senatorial District, and the Woman of Excellence Awrd from the Santa Maria Women's Network. Both Royce and Ann have been very successful in their respective careers, but they have especially distinguished themselves individually by their extraordinary contributions of time, talent, and financial support to their community.


Sue Sword, 2010

For over 60 years, Sue has been a strong, committed, and giving member of our community. She doesn't seem to know the word "no" and has been a very generous donor. Since arriving in Santa Maria in 1945, she has served as a president or board member of multiple civic organizations and has been a generous donor to many causes such as the PCPA Forever Legacy and Marian Medical Center Legacy Society.  Sue has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors such as the Santa Barbara County Outstanding Woman of the Year in 1993. She is the quintessential volunteer and community leader.


Jeanie and Henry Ardantz, 2009

Jeanie and Henri Ardantz are longtime community residents and strong supporters of innumerable community causes. Beneficiaries of the Ardantz' dedication include the YMCA, Marian Medical Center, and Domestic Violence Solutions.


Rosalie and Clarence Minetti, 2009

Perhaps most popularly known as the founders of the Far Western Tavern in Guadalupe, Clarence and Rosalie Minetti have been integral to the philanthropic efforts of more than 15 local organizations. The two have been heavily involved with and sponsored such groups as the Guadalupe Lions Club, the school board, Chamber of Commerce, Marian Medical Foundation, and the Agricultural Association Farm Board.


Franziska and Dennis Shepard, 2009

Frazinska and Dennis Shepard have been actively involved in the community of Santa Maria for over 30 years and given generously of their time and financial resources to a variety of worthy local causes. They are both well known for their leadership in many other local causes including the Good Samaritan Shelter, the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (PCPA), and the public library.


Dorothy and Mark Smith, 2008

Mark and Dorothy have been active in the Santa Maria Community for over 50 years. They are self-made success stories. They have been generous donors to many organizations in the Santa Maria Valley. Mark has also leant his leadership talent to board service. Mark and Dorothy agreed the important thing for people to do is give what they can. "The small lump of money is just as important and hard to come by for one person, as a large donation might be for someone else." The couple has recently created the family's own foundation for charitable giving. Their generosity will live on in perpetuity through their family foundation.


Anne and Jay Will, 2008

Both personally and through their company, Jay and Anne have donated to many organizations in town. Jay was always humble about his deeds, preferring to lead by example in order to draw people into philanthropic causes. He focused much of his efforts toward youth fitness opportunities. The Will family tradition of giving back to the community has carried on to the next generation of five sons and one daughter. "We've been so blessed, but you truly get more from giving than from receiving," said Anne.


Jean and Joe Olivera, 2008

Born and raised in Santa Maria (fourth generation natives), they have worked together to make this community a better place for more than eight decades. They have made gifts to many organizations in town and Joe has shared his leadership talents with numerous boards, committees, and foundations over the years. Joe said, "His 'make money to give it away' philosophy has meant his family has gone a little longer between new cars and taken fewer vacations over the years, but that giving has its own rewards."

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