BY JORDAN KILLEBREW | April 26, 2019
Santa Barbara County lost a true friend on April 17, 2019 with the passing of Jean K. Schuyler. Supporter of the arts and education, a defender of the environment, and an advocate for women’s issues, Jean’s close, long-term relationship with the Santa Barbara Foundation leaves us feeling grief at her loss and gratitude for her life.
“As the archetypal volunteer, Jean set the bar for everyone who supports our local nonprofit sector,” shared Chuck Slosser, friend and former President & CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “I can’t think of a single aspect of life in our community that Jean did not touch — education, healthcare, culture, the environment. She was a true renaissance philanthropist.”
Many of the most recognizable community action success stories in our area, such as the Center for Urban Agriculture, the Douglas Family Preserve, Ellwood Mesa, and the Sedgewick Reserve, were projects championed, supported, and sometimes led by Jean.
In addition to her work and support for organizations such as the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, Domestic Violence Solutions, Planned Parenthood, and the Maritime Museum, she served on numerous boards of trustees, including for United Way of Santa Barbara County. We are honored that she also served as a trustee of the Santa Barbara Foundation.
“Jean Schuyler was of a tradition to which community service and philanthropy was expected, and she did that tradition proud,” said Ron Gallo, President & CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “Her very essence was one of generosity, kindness, and thoughtfulness. To the very end she made her presence felt. We will miss her mightily.”
Over the course of the 1980s and 90s, Jean served on our Scholarship Committee, Student Aid Committee, Executive Committee, Nominating Committee, Appropriations Committee, Special Grants Committee, Special Ad Hoc Committee, Personnel Committee, and Civic Art Subcommittee for the Foundation.
Jean and her husband, Barry Schuyler, became major donors in 1987, giving an unrestricted gift to the Foundation. Committed to honoring the past and investing in the future, Jean and Barry also joined the Max & Clara Legacy Society, which the Foundation established as a way to thank forward-thinking individuals who have made a gift through their will or estate plan.
In 1997, Jean was recognized as our 56th Woman of The Year, an honor bestowed for outstanding achievement in volunteerism. An outdoors enthusiast who grew up on horseback and pursued a career in teaching, Jean would turn her exceptional energy and empathy into a life of service.
“There is simply no replacement for this unique and special woman,” said Joanne Rapp, friend and 57th Woman of the Year. “Jean’s steady vision, orientation towards fairness and a down to earth, non-flashy personal comportment coupled with an opportunity to participate financially in the causes with which she resonated rendered her irreplaceable and a tower of excellence.”
When awarding Jean the Abercrombie Community Excellence Award in 2014, United Way’s Flannery Hill wrote, “For 40 years, she has been a founder, major supporter and guiding hand in creating and sustaining organizations to preserve our fragile environment and improve the education, health, safety and quality of life for Santa Barbara’s most vulnerable women, children and families.”
Jean was fond of saying that she was happiest on horseback, but she clearly also took great pleasure in helping others. That is a legacy we are proud to be associated with. Farewell, Jean, and thank you.
Jean’s family and friends want to celebrate the life of this remarkable woman and the indelible mark she left on the people and places she loved. Please join us in Santa Barbara for a celebration of Jean’s vision and energy from 3 to 6 pm on Sunday, June 30th. For additional details and to rsvp, please visit the website: jeanschuyler.forevermissed.com or call 805-450-2613.