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Garden Court Endowment Fundraiser to Benefit Local Seniors in Need

'Homegrown & Santa Barbara’s Own' will celebrate residents and plans for an assisted-living facility

Garden Court on De la Vina, an independent living community for frail, low-income seniors, will present the “Homegrown & Santa Barbara’s Own” Garden Court Endowment fundraiser from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24 at The Canary Hotel, 31 W. Carrillo St.

The event will honor residents of Garden Court and will celebrate the expansion of the endowment from a funding program for emergency medical needs, to serving the community at large with plans to create an assisted-living facility to fill the most critical gap in care for low-income seniors.

“Homegrown & Santa Barbara’s Own” will benefit the Garden Court Endowment, which is dedicated to providing assistance to support quality of life for frail, low-income seniors in Santa Barbara. The “Homegrown & Santa Barbara’s Own” theme suggests the need for us all to step forward to help care for each other in the unique Santa Barbara community.

The Garden Court Endowment will continue to raise funds for individual grants for housing, medical and other needs so that frail, low-income Santa Barbara seniors can live independently for as long as possible, The endowment also will focus on creating sustainable funding for the first assisted living facility to provide care for seniors in need who can no longer live independently, now in planning.

“We are delighted to welcome past and new supporters of the Garden Court Endowment to this unique celebration of our quality of life here in Santa Barbara,” said Detty Peikert, Garden Court Endowment board president and architect of Garden Court on De la Vina. “Together we can help make it possible for everyone in our community to have access to the quality of care we would want for our own loved ones.”

“On the heels of Garden Court’s 10-year anniversary, we found it particularly fitting to honor our residents who make Garden Court the vibrant community that it is,” said Tamara Erickson, executive director of Garden Court on De la Vina.

The event will feature Master of Ceremonies Michael McGuire, and KEYT’s John Palminteri will return as auctioneer. Guests will be treated to hors d’oeuvres, a “farm-to-table” dinner, local beer and wine. A short live auction will feature a lakeside Idaho resort vacation stay, local islands three-day deluxe sailing tour, tri-tip barbecueparty for 25, a front-row Fiesta Bowl package and more. The event will also feature an extensive silent auction.

The Henderson Brothers Band will bring the sounds of the Santa Barbara “locals only” surf scene to the event. The real “Gidget,” Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, honorary co-chair of last year’s event, will return as a guest.

The Garden Court Endowment has supported more than 150 low-income, frail seniors in critical areas of health and well-being, including crisis intervention for mental health, providing assistive devices for visually impaired residents, emergency medical treatment for beloved pets of residents, on-site health and wellness programs, ongoing support for housekeeping and companionship, and other critical needs that Garden Court residents could not otherwise afford. In 2010, dental care was the top health assistance need funded through the Endowment’s individual scholarship grants.

The “Homegrown & Santa Barbara’s Own” event is generously sponsored by Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Montecito Bank & Trust, Hollister & Brace, Merrill Lynch, Thomco, Brown & Brown Insurance, Nasif, Hicks, Harris & Co. LLP, and Mark and Felisa Manion.

Tickets are $125. For tickets or more information about the Garden Court Endowment, click here or call 805.884.0095.

Who Are the Low-Income Seniors at Garden Court and in Santa Barbara?

Residents of Garden Court are the people in the community who worked all their lives in Santa Barbara to make it a better place — as laborers, nurses, business owners, teachers and others — who deserve to be able to enjoy their golden years as an active part of the community they helped to shape and tend. Some residents have moved to Santa Barbara in more recent years, to be closer to their families who live here, and to enjoy those relationships without “becoming a burden.” Some are people who never imagined they would be without options; and others who struggled throughout their lives at extremely low income levels and are now able to fully enjoy life for the first time. In October, Garden Court celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Recent reports* identify some key factors contributing to the challenges for the Santa Barbara community to care for its seniors, including:

» Santa Barbara County has a greater proportion of the population older than age 75 with 7 percent, compared with 6.1 percent of the United States and 5.3 percent of California’s population.

» The higher percentage of people older than age 65 has led to increased referrals to adult protective services and an increased demand on all Santa Barbara County agencies.

» The gap between elderly’s annual cost of living need and the income gap resulting if Social Security was their only source of income is $26,568 for an individual renting a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Barbara County, or $36,659 for a couple. The average SSI income for an elder person is just $870/month or $1,524/month for a couple.

» The high cost of housing in Santa Barbara County leaves our elder population at greater medical risk, risk of physical and mental neglect and abuse, and financial abuses due to inability to pay for care and services.

*Sources: County of Santa Barbara Department of Social Services; 2010 Aging Symposium; American Community Survey, 2009; Elder Economic Security Standard Index, CA 2009.

About Garden Court on De la Vina

Garden Court opened in 2000 to provide service enhanced independent living for frail, low-income Santa Barbara seniors to live independently for as long as possible. Garden Court provides the freedom of independent living, while offering the peace of mind of community living and includes amenities such as dining and housekeeping services, and access to social and community services.

The Garden Court Endowment

The Garden Court Endowment is dedicated to providing assistance to support quality of life for frail, low-income seniors in Santa Barbara by providing grants for housing and funded support. Money raised through the endowment assists extremely low-income seniors in paying rent and costs of medical emergencies, purchasing medical supplies and clothes, and helping meet other essential needs. The endowment will also support an initiative to fill one of the most critical housing and service gaps in our community through the creation of an assisted living facility for low-income seniors in Santa Barbara.

The endowment is supported by donations from individuals and companies in the community, as well as by grants from foundations and other sources. Click here for more information.

— Candice Tang is a publicist.

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