No matter your political persuasion, the welfare and education of our youth is something most of us can agree upon. In 1996, then-first lady Hillary Clinton published It Takes a Village, a book outlining what she felt matters most in people’s lives: children and families and how the larger community of business leaders, clergy, teachers and parents need to be part of that child-rearing process.
This message resonated profoundly with many, but especially with Madeleine and Peter Jacobson. When the Jacobsons moved to Montecito from Boston in 2006, the dynamic and charismatic couple found not just a dream house but a home for their time and talents for enhancing the lives of students at Santa Barbara City College.
The parents of two grown sons, they decided to give the West Coast a try after enduring one too many winters — as well as Jacobson's sale of his family real estate business. Active volunteers and philanthropists in Massachusetts for Boston Children’s Hospital, they chose Santa Barbara, not just because of its natural beauty and idyllic climate but because of its reputation for having such a high concentration of nonprofit organizations, signaling community activism and generosity.
After Jacobson retired from the real estate business, he decided he was ready to embark on his true passion: teaching about the Middle East. He attended Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government before leaving the Boston area. When he first arrived in Santa Barbara, he enrolled in a Middle East history class at UC Santa Barbara, and the following semester he audited Elizabeth Imhoff’s History of the Modern Middle East at SBCC.
Imhoff was so impressed with Jaconson's grasp of the region and its issues that she asked him if he would consider partnering with her the following semester and teach a portion of the class relating specifically to current events in the Middle East — of which there is no shortage of compelling news. The rest is history, literally. The two have been teaching together for the past five years.
Madeleine Jacobson, or Maddy as the girlfriends prefer to call her, wanted to continue her volunteerism in Santa Barbara as she had in Boston. After attending an informational evening at SBCC, she met Barbara-Ben Horin, former executive director of the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College, who suggested she give her time and affinity for children to SBCC's Gateway to Success tutoring program, which she did for two years.
As she had in Boston, Madeleine Jacobson went from enthusiastic volunteer to the head of the class in short order. First a committed foundation board member, by 2013 she had been tapped to become board president. Through its sustained philanthropy, the foundation funds scholarships, programs, books, grants, child care and tutoring that directly benefit SBCC students. The organization is now led by executive director Vanessa Patterson and a dynamic group of community leaders, along with an accomplished staff.
As part of the foundation's continuing effort to raise funds for the cause, a light-hearted fashion "fund raiser with a message" was held Aug. 27 at one of Montecito’s newest fashion-savvy destinations, Julianne’s, which hosted the event at its Upper Village shop, at 525 San Ysidro Road.
The Jacobsons' nephew, Michael Toccin, stylist for the contemporary high-end women’s line KaufmanFranco of New York City, flew in for the two-day trunk show (to order only), which culminated in a sunset cocktail-shopping event. Invited guests were served champagne, hors d'oeuvre and a fashion show by statuesque models.
The trunk show featured Cruise and Early Spring 2014 lines with a color story of sand, gold, soft greens and winter whites. They did have some body-conscious pieces that were very sexy and streamlined, one beige sheath modeled by Madeleine Jacobson and some glam sequin pieces favored by young music royalty-types like Taylor Swift.
KaufmanFranco’s mix of sophistication and edge, luxury and function, offers up a sensual line of clothing for the contemporary woman and items that are perfect for the Santa Barbara lifestyle. The KF line will be available at Julianne’s, and will be shipped to the Montecito store in October.
Chef Danny Douglas served up a menu that included an artisan cheese board, rosemary crackers, fig compote, Marcona almonds, heirloom tomato gazpacho and basil puree. Julianne's also auctioned off a $500 store gift certificate, a private dinner for six from Douglas and a piece from KaufmanFranco's RE14 collection.
A portion of the sales from the two-day trunk show went to the Foundation for City College. The Jacobsons hope their "lead by example" will encourage Santa Barbara's "village" of individual donors, families and corporations to give more time and financial support to our community college. SBCC is ranked No. 1 in the nation, and many of its students matriculate and go on to live, work and contribute to the economy of Santa Barbara County.