Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 4:02 am | Fog/Mist 53º


Santa Barbara Foundation Honors Ed Birch, Vicki Hazard as 73rd Man & Woman of the Year

Both recipients are recognized for their years of dedicated volunteerism in the Santa Barbara community

Santa Barbara Foundation President Ron Gallo, right, celebrates with 73rd Man of the Year Ed Birch and 73rd Woman of the Year Vicki Hazard.
Santa Barbara Foundation President Ron Gallo, right, celebrates with 73rd Man of the Year Ed Birch and 73rd Woman of the Year Vicki Hazard. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)


[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery of the event.]

More than 300 supporters enjoyed a sun-drenched seaside reception on the Coral Casino patio prior to the Santa Barbara Foundation’s 73rd Man and Woman of the Year Awards ceremony luncheon held at the Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore.

The audience was bolstered by an amazing 25 former men and women of the year in attendance as the community celebrated this year’s honorees: Ed Birch and Vicki Hazard.

Santa Barbara Foundation President & CEO Ron Gallo said, “Our goal is to build a more resilient community. But we do it as a team and with partners. It’s a ‘we’ mentality.”

Event sponsors included the Santa Barbara Foundation, Noozhawk, Montecito Bank & Trust, and Bryant & Sons Jewelers.

Sansum Clinic President/CEO and Medical Director Dr. Kurt Ransohoff introduced the 73rd Woman of the Year Vicki Hazard.

Ransohoff described how he met Hazard when she just moved to town over a decade ago.

“After we observed how many skills she had, we asked her to serve a two-year term as board president — which has stretched out to eight years!” Ransohoff said.

Although Hazard was gently promised a “quiet term as president,” a lot of major changes and challenges came to local health care: Obamacare, the proposed merger of Cottage Hospital and Sansum Clinic, Sansum Clinic merging with the Cancer Center, the installation of electronic medical record keeping, and the new campus being constructed on Foothill Road.

It has not been a quiet time, but Hazard has taken it all in stride, Ransohoff said.

Hazard graciously and humbly accepted the honor as Woman of the Year.

“I credit my late parents, my husband Bob (who hasn’t had a home cooked meal in ages), Tom Fly, Maryann Schall, and the Santa Barbara Foundation for their unwavering support and guidance,” she said.

Hazard has dedicated more than three decades to leadership roles in volunteerism and public service, with the past 15 years devoted to Sansum Clinic, the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara, and the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara. 

Dr. Kurt Ransohoff, the President, CEO & Medical Director of Sansum Clinic, and Cottage Health Board President Bob Norris attend the Santa Barbara Foundation event. Click to view larger
Dr. Kurt Ransohoff, the President, CEO & Medical Director of Sansum Clinic, and Cottage Health Board President Bob Norris attend the Santa Barbara Foundation event. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Hazard has worked to make the organizations more efficient and able to better reach and help their clients.

She grew up in Walla Walla, Washington and received a bachelor’s degree in sociology/psychology from Washington State University and a master’s degree in accounting/finance from American University in Washington, D.C.

“I have lived in many interesting and wonderful cities during my career and lifetime, but no community has the soul of Santa Barbara,” she said. Hazard said she believes the people of Santa Barbara are committed to finding solutions, with a civic pride here unlike anything she has experienced in other communities.

Next, Ed McKinley introduced and presented the 73rd Man of the Year Award to Ed Birch. 

McKinley described Birch’s philanthropy and leadership, as well as his commitment to a cycling group founded decades ago. 

Birch has provided a variety of volunteer service and leadership to nonprofit organizations in Santa Barbara over many decades, including the UC Santa Barbara Foundation, Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, Community Arts Music Association, Westmont College, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Music Academy of the West, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and Child Abuse Listening & Mediation.

This work is in addition to his role as president and CEO of the Samuel B. and Margaret C. Mosher Foundation.

Upon acceptance of the award, Birch said, “I am truly humbled. Those preceding me have been such strong advocates for Santa Barbara, including Dwight Murphy, Pearl Chase, Michael and Anne Towbes, the Emmons, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, and so many others. 

“I credit any accomplishments to my partner of 67 years Susie who I met in the fifth grade,” he said.

“My wife has been my moral compass. I have been truly blessed to work side by side, hand in glove with so many of the dedicated citizens and volunteers in this room today.” 

The Santa Barbara Foundation was established in 1928 to enrich the lives of the people of Santa Barbara County through philanthropy.

As the largest community foundation in the county and a major source of funding for local nonprofits, the foundation is committed to building philanthropy, strengthening the nonprofit sector, and solving community problems.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >