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Partners in Education: Rabobank Boasts History of Working with Youth

An array of bank-supported programs helps area students learn money management, job skills

[Noozhawk’s note: The Santa Barbara Partners in Education relies on its President’s Council to help expand participation opportunities in our schools. As a proud member of the President’s Council, Noozhawk is helping to promote the organization with a series of features on our fellow members and their commitment — as businesses — to public education. We hope you’ll consider joining us on the council. Fifth in a series.]

Rabobank N.A. is a California community bank that has provided personalized service and a myriad of top-notch products for individuals, businesses and agricultural clients for almost 50 years. The bank is a part of the Rabobank Group, one of the world’s safest banks with more than 110 years of trustworthy service.

Through its 93 retail branches, which include four in Santa Barbara and one each in Carpinteria and Goleta, along with 15 financial service centers, Rabobank serves the needs of communities from Sacramento to the Imperial Valley. Earlier this month, Rabobank acquired Napa Community Bank as a division of Rabobank N.A., expanding into the Napa Valley wine country. In the last two years, Rabobank has opened 12 new branches in California.

Local decision-making and active community involvement by employees make the bank a powerful asset to the Santa Barbara community.

With the help of Ed Heron, who sits on Rabobank’s advisory board and is a Santa Barbara School Board member and former board member of Mid-State Bank, which Rabobank acquired a few years ago, the bank got involved with Partners in Education.

The bank’s support is not limited to monetary and technological donations. Various staff members have given presentations to different grade levels in all of the communities in the Santa Barbara area. In addition, Rabobank is currently an active participant in the Santa Barbara County Education Office’s Regional Occupation Program.

“It has been a terrific union between the two organizations that we have been fortunate to be a part of,” said Sean McCulloch, senior vice president and regional manager of the Santa Barbara area. “It continues to help us better understand what the children of our communities do and what they continue to need to help them grow.”

McCulloch encourages those not familiar with the Partners in Education program to attend some of the functions, interview active members, and attend a class session.

“I think once they have thoroughly checked out the overall program they would not hesitate to join,” he said.

Many area schools have benefited from a donation by Rabobank of refurbished computers.

This is not the only community involvement for Rabobank N.A.

In the past, the company has sponsored various programs, some of which include the Music Academy of the West, the Peoples’ Self-Help Housing “Stuff the Bus” campaign, the Carpinteria Education Foundation, Santa Barbara Young Professionals, the Lobero Theatre, the Santa Barbara Choral Society, the American Red Cross-Santa Barbara County Chapter and the UCSB Economic Forecast Project.

Steven Loeffler of Rabobank serves as board chairman of Goodwill Industries of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties Inc., an autonomous member organization of Goodwill Industries International. The organization helps people who have workplace disadvantages and disabilities by providing job training and employment services, as well as job placement opportunities and post-employment support.

In March, Rabobank donated $10,000 to Women’s Economic Ventures’ new Thrive-in-Five program, which will initially aid 25 business owners. The program is designed to assist small businesses with start-up, growth, and long-term prosperity through long-term, individualized training, consulting and coaching.

Also in March, Rabobank provided free bank accounts for 350 youth countywide as a part of the Summer Youth Employment program hosted by the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County. The program will employ at least 350 youth this summer throughout the area. Youth will be placed into county, municipal and nonprofit jobs during the summer months. Rabobank also will provide training on how to dress, act and work in an office setting or an outdoor job.

Rabobank partnered with the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation in April to establish the Rabobank-Santa Barbara County/Ventura County Scholarship Fund, in an effort to encourage more young people to pursue a college degree.

“Scholarship awards help worthy students excel in their education and in their career, creating a better-informed workforce and a more vibrant community,” said Don Toussaint, Rabobank regional president. “Rabobank is committed to supporting education and our local community.”

Any company has the opportunity to participate in Partners in Education, but the President’s Council is limited to no more than 25. Click here for more information about Partners in Education. Click here for more information on how to become a President’s Council member or contact Michelle Magnuson, development and membership director, at 805.964.4710 x4417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

In addition to Rabobank, current President’s Council members are ABC-CLIO, American Riviera Bank, AT&T Foundation, ATK Space Systems, Bacara Resort & Spa, Coastal Management Resources, Community West Bank, Cottage Health System, Cox Communications, Earl Warren Showgrounds, ExxonMobil Production Co., Frank Schipper Construction Co., MedBridge Development, Montecito Bank & Trust, Noozhawk, QAD, Raytheon, Santa Barbara Axxess, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Santa Barbara Catering Co., Maryan and Richard Schall, Southern California Edison, Venoco Inc. and Verizon.

Noozhawk intern Lindsey Weintraub will be a sophomore at the University of San Diego in the fall. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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