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Partners in Education: Montecito Bank & Trust Branches Out to Schools

The bank's support extends beyond monetary contributions, with many of its employees giving time and resources

[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. One in a series.]

In 35 years of business, Montecito Bank & Trust has established itself as a prominent Santa Barbara icon. Since opening its doors on March 17, 1975, the bank (formerly known as the Bank of Montecito) has grown to encompass eight branches that employ 172 people in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The bank’s founder, Michael Towbes, has been a longtime advocate of the nonprofit community for more than 50 years. Towbes and Montecito Bank & Trust have expanded their support for the community through multiple programs and organizations — namely, Santa Barbara’s Partners in Education.

The bank has had a hand in Partners in Education since 2003, when Montecito Bank & Trust’s Community Dividends program began, with Partners in Education being a primary component. Since the partnership commenced, Montecito Bank & Trust has offered numerous programs and events to help benefit local youths.

“In addition to our monetary contributions to Partners in Education, our associates have started to get involved in their programs as well,” bank president and CEO Janet Garufis said. “We have had several students come to the bank and shadow our marketing department, our training department, our community outreach department and our accounting department. Associates, such as Goleta branch manager Russ Llewellyn, have also visited local high schools to do mock interviews and guest speaking.

“The bank has also contributed computer hardware to the Computers for Families program over the years.”

Montecito Bank & Trust’s vast array of community support has branched out to local high schools, including Santa Barbara, Dos Pueblos and San Marcos.

“Montecito Bank & Trust’s mission is to make the communities we serve better places to live and work,” Garufis said. “Our public schools are an essential part of the success of our community. The children of our community are the future of our community, and educational opportunity and access is the cornerstone.”

While being a part of Partners in Education focuses on benefiting local students, Garufis said participating has a positive effect on the businesses, too.

“Our associates and indeed the entire community benefit when our community’s children have access to educational opportunities,” she said. “Our associates benefit from their direct experience with volunteerism. Our customers’ and associates’ children may also be benefiting directly.”

Garufis added that there is a multitude of ways to be active in the Partners in Education organization.

“(Partners in Education) provide(s) many diverse opportunities for companies to get involved: There is something to fit every organization’s ability to help,” she said. “Help one student by participating in one activity, or support many through a contribution of time and or resources, and you are making a positive and lasting impact on the lives of local children, an impact that has the potential to change a student’s life forever.

“As long as we all do what we can, we are on our way to building brighter futures for our community’s children.”

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 Montecito Bank & Trust, 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, Frank Schipper Construction Co., MedBridge Development, Montecito Bank & Trust, Noozhawk, QAD, Rabobank, 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 Michael Goldsholl will be a sophomore at Loyola Marymount University in the fall. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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