[Noozhawk’s note: This is the second in series of stories about the history of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The foundation inspires, encourages and supports Santa Barbara County students in their pursuit of college, graduate and vocational school through financial aid advising and scholarships. Since 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has awarded more than $65 million in scholarships. Click here for the first article.]
1990s: Accelerating Change
The 1990s were a transformational decade for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, a decade when it became much more sophisticated in everything it did. The foundation hired professional, full-time staff, raised lots of money, and increased its visibility in the community tenfold.
After spending most of the decade staging elaborate, time-consuming fundraising events, the foundation realized by the end of the 1990s that it could spend that time in a more useful manner: cultivating donors directly. The motto “quiet, continuous cultivation,” first coined by board president Joanne Rapp, became its rallying cry.
In the first year of the decade, board president Hugh Vos continued his quest to reshape the foundation into a more business-like and professional organization. Most significantly, in May 1990, the foundation hired Billie Maunz as its executive director.
Already an experienced fundraiser and administrator, Maunz is credited by many board members for much of the incredible increase in fundraising during the 1990s. Together, Maunz and Vos were a formidable team.
“Hugh Vos was the one who first had the vision of what we could become,” Maunz said. “He understood relationship building. He started the process of educating the board, and I was ready for that.”
Popular Events Take Center Stage
The foundation continued with a busy event calendar through the 1990s. In 1991, a fresh opportunity presented itself: the local Santa Barbara Concours d’Elegance car show, which needed a new group to be the event organizer. Despite the huge time commitment, the board decided to add the Concours to its fundraising activities.
In the fall of 1992, the foundation presented its first Concours, honoring Lamborghini. The event attracted 7,000 people to the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria. Even before the financial results were tabulated, the board realized it needed more help if it was going to continue presenting the Concours in future years. So in December 1992, another hire was made: Colette Hadley became the events director (she would later go on to become the executive director, a position she currently holds). While the Concours d’Elegance received “rave reviews” from car enthusiasts and exhibitors described it as “one of the best in the country,” the event proved to be too much work for the foundation and ran its course after five years.
With the end of the sponsorship of the Concours d’Elegance, the foundation took on a new fundraising event — the classical music radio station KDB’s Sweethearts’ Ball.
“The Sweethearts’ Ball was very successful,” said Leon Bartholomew, a former foundation trustee. “Although I do remember one year it was raining cats and dogs and the tent was leaking!”
Dancing to the orchestra and swing bands at the Sweethearts’ Ball was quite popular, but after five years that event had come to its conclusion, too.
Quiet, Continuous Cultivation
“We realized that as much as we liked the public awareness of those events, we were transitioning from an events-based fundraising model to a relationship-based model,” said Hadley. “The organization needed to mature. Billie Maunz had a laser-sharp focus on cultivating donors for the long term, so the board decided not to pick up another fundraising event.”
However, the appreciation events that fit well with the “quiet, continuous cultivation” motto — the Community Leaders Luncheon, Annual Awards Ceremony and Annual Dinner — thrived during this time and have become long-standing traditions.
“These are the events that connect us to the community and the students,” said Rapp. “They are our soul.”
Applications for scholarships increased steadily each year during this decade, as did the amount of awards the foundation could give away. From 1991 to 1995, scholarship awards rose 211 percent, while administrative expenses went down 1 percent. Maunz ran a tight ship.
A Name Change Clears Up Confusion
In the early to mid-1990s, the foundation was still working hard to increase its presence in the community. John Davies, an expert on strategic marketing and public relations, helped immensely during this time by energizing the foundation’s marketing strategy and by heading up a long-range planning and development committee.
First, he recommended changing the organization’s name to the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara; the original name of Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation was too similar to the Santa Barbara Foundation, and many in the community found it confusing.
In 1995, the foundation’s relationship with Dale and George Cavalletto proved to be hugely significant to its future. That year, the couple announced an unexpected gift: a piece of industrial property in Santa Maria worth $1.7 million, the largest single gift to date for the foundation. This donation was used to establish an endowed scholarship fund in conjunction with the Goleta Rotary Club.
The late 1990s marked another significant event in the history of the foundation: a collaboration agreement with the Santa Barbara Foundation. For years, local students needed to apply to both the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Scholarship Foundation for grants and loans — each foundation ran similar but separate programs. In the fall of 1995, talks started with the Santa Barbara Foundation to find a more efficient way for students to apply for aid. It helped matters that Rapp, a former Scholarship Foundation president, was then serving as chairwoman of the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Board of Trustees. With Michael Towbes serving as the facilitator between the two foundations, an agreement was finalized in 1997. It was a win-win for both organizations, as well as students and their families, who now faced a much less daunting task when assembling the paperwork involved in applying for a scholarship.
“It’s a much fairer process and better for everybody involved,” Maunz said of the collaboration. “The Santa Barbara Foundation, and its (then-)executive director, Chuck Slosser, generously chose to think of what was best for the community.”
Click here for more information on the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, or call 805.687.6065. Click here to make an online donation. Connect with the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara on Facebook.