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Bill Macfadyen: Best of Noozhawk 11.25.11

This week on Noozhawk: Inspiring tales of leadership and generosity make this Thanksgiving a special one

Fittingly for Thanksgiving, gratitude was the theme of the week.

1. Montecito Bank & Trust Doles Out $1 Million at Community Dividends Awards Luncheon

Santa Barbara has a rich tradition of individual philanthropy that I’ve always found fascinating. Less well-known are the many local companies that consistently match the standard, marshaling an impressive amount of resources to enrich our community.

Few exemplify the best of Santa Barbara more than Montecito Bank & Trust, which on Nov. 21 simply gave away a million dollars. For the ninth straight year.

Noozhawk staff writer Alex Kacik and iSociety columnist Melissa Walker were on hand for the bank’s Community Dividends awards luncheon, where 159 local nonprofit organizations learned they had been selected to divvy up this year’s $1 million giveaway. How significant an impact is that generosity? Just do the math.

Ben Romo, executive director of Santa Barbara Partners in Education, summed up the feeling in the room: “In the corporate world, Montecito Bank & Trust leads the way in terms of philanthropy.”

2. Bank Representatives Trot Over to Foodbank to Deliver 291 Turkeys for Holidays

Santa Barbara Bank & Trust is another mainstay of local corporate philanthropy, with the tireless Randy Weiss often leading an army of volunteers on behalf of one cause or another. Weiss was back at it earlier this week, but the troops he had mustered weren’t from his bank but from its competitors.

After learning the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County was short quite a few turkeys for Thanksgiving donations to needy families, Weiss quickly organized a last-minute turkey drive.

On Nov. 21, Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli was at the Foodbank to observe Weiss, Jeff DeVine of American Riviera Bank, Heidi Cougoule of Montecito Bank & Trust, Russ Llewellyn of Kinecta Federal Credit Union and Bibi Moezzi of Business First Bank deliver the goods. Nearly 300 families benefited from the donation.

3. Jon Lovelace, Mutual Fund Pioneer and Philanthropist, Dies at 84

The late Jon Lovelace, who died last week at his Montecito home, was best-known as a mutual funds pioneer and the powerful head of The Capital Group Companies. When it came to money management, his innovations and strategies were legendary.

Although Lovelace diligently shunned publicity, he was quite generous with his time, talent and treasure for good causes throughout Southern California. Locally, he was an honorary trustee of Sansum Clinic and a longtime supporter of Antioch University Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Speaking of Stories and UCSB Foundation.

4. Santa Barbara Rescue Mission Spreads Love to Homeless Over Thanksgiving Dinner

The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission took on a festive atmosphere Nov. 23 as several dozen volunteers cheerfully served Thanksgiving dinner to about 300 people in need.

Patrick Pastoret, who runs the Rescue Mission kitchen and who was once homeless himself, told Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper that he wanted people to leave feeling as if they’d been loved and cared for.

“You can’t fake love,” he said. “You can give homeless people meals, backpacks, all kinds of things, but if you don’t do it with love, it doesn’t mean anything.”

5. Women’s Fund Members Get a Close Up View of the Power of Collective Giving

Earlier this month, more than 100 members of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara made site visits to some of the nonprofit organizations that received $565,000 from the group’s pooled grants program. Women’s Fund member and Noozhawk contributing writer Leslie Dinaberg took the tour and wrote up a report.

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