Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 11:28 pm | Fair 65º


United Way Honors Integral Partners at 95th Annual Event

Stellar programs include tax assistance, children’s literacy

United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) honors Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB). Rob Fredericks, left, and Frank Quezada, HACSB; Steve Ortiz, and Melinda Cabrera, UWSBC; and Charla Bregante, HACSB. Click to view larger
United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) honors Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB). Rob Fredericks, left, and Frank Quezada, HACSB; Steve Ortiz, and Melinda Cabrera, UWSBC; and Charla Bregante, HACSB. (Courtesy photo)

United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) honored the volunteers, businesses, schools and organizations who make the local nonprofit’s community programs and activities possible.

The recent 95th Annual Awards Celebration, held on the Hotel Californian rooftop, recognized supporters who played instrumental roles in UWSBC’s 2017 campaign through fundraising, partnerships and more.

The 10 honorees were key in UWSBC’s ability to provide programs and services such as United for Literacy and United for Financial Empowerment.

Among the 2017 milestones, 100 percent of the 300 academically and financially at-risk children participating in UWSBC’s Fun in the Sun summer learning program improved their literacy skills in just six weeks.

“It has been a very difficult and challenging year with unprecedented loss and damage, and I’m seeing so many of the same people and organizations who help United Way year-round step up again to meet these new needs,” said Steve Ortiz, president/CEO of UWSBC.

“I’m proud of what we have accomplished together and am humbled to honor your dedication to this community,” he said.

Two of this year’s key honorees were:

Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara — Community Impact Organization of the Year: The Housing Authority has partnered with United Way for some 10 years to provide the community with needed free tax assistance with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

In recent years, UWSBC and the Housing Authority have expanded the partnership to include various educational programs and partnerships, including Power Reading literacy improvement curriculum and the Campaign for Grade level Reading Initiative, which aims to improve early literacy skills to help more students reach critical reading benchmarks in third grade.

Hundreds of children and families are impacted every year through these educational partnerships.

AGIA Affinity - Most Outstanding Employee and Corporate Campaign: Every year, AGIA supports United Way in a multifaceted way that encourages engagement, volunteerism and philanthropy.

AGIA matches employee gifts, and last year, its campaign raised more than $90,000. This was an increase for the third consecutive year.

With a Hawaiian theme, activities, strong leadership giving, and year-round engagement with United Way events and volunteer opportunities, AGIA modeled what a great campaign should look like.

Awards list:

General awards
Maurene Donner — United for Literacy Partner of the Year
Assistance League — Fun in the Sun Partner of the Year
Cottage Health — Outstanding Leadership Workplace
Carmela Arstill — Outstanding Employee Campaign Manager (UCSB)
Division Awards
UCSB — Outstanding Division Award Education
Goleta Sanitary District — Outstanding Division Award Public Organization
Aera Energy — Outstanding Division Award Business
Montecito Bank & Trust — Outstanding Division Award Finance

— Angel Pacheco for United Way of Santa Barbara County.


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