Marshall Rose grew up in a family that volunteered. His father and uncle, who established a women’s clothing business in the 1930s, subscribed to Henry Ford’s principle: “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.” Both of Rose’s parents were involved in what was then called “charity work.”
“It was a given that I would participate,” Rose recalled.
Rose was recruited for the family business right out of college, and stayed for 30 years until the business was sold in 1993. He retired and began volunteering full time, until he was asked to head the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization in 1997. Now armed with business and volunteer experience, he was able to apply his keen sense of social awareness, generosity and compassion to some of the social challenges that plagued the community in those days.
One of the biggest challenges — homelessness — raised passions on all sides. Rose served as the mediary between frustrated business owners and those preferring a compassionate approach. He helped bring together a grand coalition to create Casa Esperanza, a nonprofit homeless shelter that offered street people a meal, a shower and sometimes a safe place to sleep. Rose stepped forward to co-chair a capital campaign to purchase a building on Cacique Street on the Lower Eastside.
Rose also lent his expertise to CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation). Child abuse was not well understood in the early 1970s and Rose was chagrined when a potential donor questioned the need for such an organization in a place like Santa Barbara. Child abuse was just one of the many social problems that remained hidden from view and understanding. Increased social awareness gave rise to a number of grassroots nonprofit child abuse organizations, which were supported by volunteers.
Rose served on the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Student Aid Committee where he proposed the Fleischmann Awards, need-blind scholarships awarded to students who combine a good grade-point average with a high level of community service. He found it invigorating to be involved with so many bright students grateful for the foundation’s assistance, and he was later named a trustee and served for nine years.
One of the high points of his volunteer efforts began when Rose was invited to join the Campaign Cabinet for the rebuilding of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. He agreed to a five-year commitment, and partnered with his childhood friend, Joanne Rapp, successfully raising millions of dollars from foundations.
For Rose, volunteering offers new opportunities every day and he enjoys sharing his time with people who care. It was a great honor to be named Man of the Year in 2004 but he regrets that many good people who devote their time, treasure and expertise do not get recognized.
Looking back on a long volunteer career, Rose said, “I’ve benefited far more than I gave.”
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Join the Santa Barbara Foundation, Noozhawk and KDB in celebrating those who enrich our lives by donating their time and talent, making a significant and positive impact in the Santa Barbara community, at the 71st Annual Man and Woman of the Year Awards luncheon. The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Montecito.
Click here to purchase tickets online, or call 805.963.1873.
— Suzanne Farwell represents the Santa Barbara Foundation.