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Santa Barbara Foundation’s Man, Woman of Year Awards Honor Community Tradition of Giving

The Santa Barbara Foundation, Noozhawk and KDB 93.7 FM are accepting nominations through Aug. 30 for the 71st Annual Man and Woman of the Year Awards.

This long-standing tradition in the Santa Barbara community can be traced back to its beginnings, revealing a history of giving and volunteerism within the Santa Barbara community.

In 1942, the first Man of the Year award was given to Harold Chase, who opened a War Bond campaign office in Santa Barbara County during World War II, selling more than $85 million in War Bonds for the country. He was also known for his work with the Hope Ranch community, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Cottage Hospital and the Knapp College of Nursing.

The program was hosted by the Santa Barbara Advertising Club at the time of Chase’s award. In the 1990s, however, there were talks that the Advertising Club could no longer give the awards.

“For whatever reason, they weren’t interested in continuing the program,” says Chuck Slosser, former CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “Larry, who was on the board at the time, approached them and was interested in taking over the program.”

Larry Crandell, aka Mr. Santa Barbara, was said to have been “instrumental” in the Santa Barbara Foundation’s current ownership of the program.

“For many years, the Advertising Club kept alive the No. 1 annual awards for volunteers,” Crandell says of the program. “It ranked among the most prestigious awards [in Santa Barbara] and it was a shame that it wouldn’t be continued.”

Crandell, a Man of the Year Award recipient in 1988 for his involvement with more than 50 local nonprofit organizations, sees the awards as a way to honor the outstanding volunteer efforts of the community.

“I’ve been here 53 years, and I’m always surprised and please to see how many people work without monetary compensation,” Crandell said. “Santa Barbara is a town with a lot of candidates.”

Over the last 70 years of the awards, this seems to be evident. There has never been a repeat awardee over the course of the program’s life, and each winner has contributed to the community not only in a major way, but in his or her own way, whether it be through starting a nonprofit, fundraising or giving a majority of their time to volunteer work.

“There are so many people that are dedicated to the community and the people here,” said Ken Saxon, the 2011 Man of the Year. “The more we tell these stories, the more we inspire people to get involved.”

Through Saxon’s continued involvement with his program for the development of nonprofit leadership, Courage to Lead, and the continued work of other men and women who have received the awards in volunteer work, it is safe to say that giving is part of the Santa Barbara lifestyle.

Nomination criteria and forms can be found online by clicking here, or call the Santa Barbara Foundation at 805.963.1873 to receive a form through email. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30.

All nominations will be kept confidential, and the Man and Woman of the Year will be revealed at a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore.

Noozhawk intern Frankie Victoria can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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