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Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation Honors the Work of Five Nonprofits

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month and to underscore the importance of philanthropy, the third annual Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation Dinner honored five Santa Barbara County nonprofits for their contributions to the community on Friday night at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom.

The annual dinner honors five local nonprofits for their contributions in five distinct categories: Community Enhancement and Environment; Culture and Recreation; Education and Personal Development; Health and Human Services; and Native American.

The five Santa Barbara County nonprofits that received $5,000 apiece in service awards were the Community Environmental Council, Arts Outreach, the Casa Esperanza Homeless Shelter, the Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Riding Program, and American Indian Health & Services.

“Tonight was about honoring organizations that serve as our partners in the community and sharing our philanthropic philosophy,” said Vincent Armenta, tribal chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “The tribal members from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians have always been generous people, and we will continue this lasting legacy through our foundation.”

The dinner featured the announcement of an upcoming resolution by the county Board of Supervisors that will declare November 2012 as National Native American Heritage Month in honor of the social, economic and philanthropic contributions made by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

The annual event also included a “money wheel” that gave nonprofits a fun way to win more funds for their causes, a video presentation that explained what Native American Heritage Month means to the tribe’s leaders, and a live performance by recording artist Martha Redbone.

“Our annual foundation dinner gives us an opportunity to recognize the groups that make significant contributions throughout Santa Barbara County, and it provides a great opportunity for nonprofits to win a little extra money and network with the influential leaders in our community,” said Veronica Sandoval, administrator for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation.

Community Environmental Council received the Community Enhancement and Environment Award for its mission to identify, advocate and raise awareness about the most pressing environmental issues that affect the Santa Barbara region. Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and the Santa Barbara Zoological Foundation are the previous recipients of this award.

Arts Outreach garnered the Culture and Recreation Award for its dedication in providing education and experiences in the visual, literary, performing, and musical arts to the students of Santa Ynez Valley, Los Alamos and Lompoc Schools. Past honorees in this area are the Lompoc Family YMCA and the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Casa Esperanza Homeless Shelter helps families and individuals achieve self-sufficiency by helping as many as possible gain access to the services they’ll need to transition to stable employment and housing. For this, it received the Education and Personal Development Award, which was given to the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara in 2010.

The Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Riding Program received the Health and Human Services Award for its multifaceted efforts to help individuals with impaired mobility through horseback riding. Past recipients of this award were Court Appointed Special Advocates and the Family Care Network.

American Indian Health & Services, which empowers the community by delivering accessible, socially responsive and culturally appropriate health care, received the Native American Award. The Ventura County Indian Education Consortium and Growing Solutions received this award in past years.

Through its foundation, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has donated more than $16 million to hundreds of groups, organizations and schools in the community and across the nation as part of the Chumash’s long-standing tradition of giving. Click here to find out more about the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation and its giving programs.

— Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

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