Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 1:39 pm | Fair 63º


Westmont Hopes President’s Breakfast Speaker Will Help Fuel Local ‘Engine of Innovation’

Microcredit pioneer and international icon Muhammad Yunus is expected to share thought-provoking insight valuable at the community level

The first person since Martin Luther King Jr. to earn a Nobel Peace Prize, a U.S. Presidential Medal and the U.S. Congressional Medal will headline this year’s Westmont College President’s Breakfast.

Muhammad Yunus

International icon Muhammad Yunus has been called a social entrepreneur and the father of microfinance lending, empowering and uplifting those who typically cannot take out loans to start small businesses because of a lack of proper capital and “good credit.”

Organizers of the ninth annual event are touting the Feb. 28 talk at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort as one of the most stimulating conversations to happen in Santa Barbara in 2014.

Tapping a thought-provoking, world-renowned figure from Bangladesh breaks from the typical stream of speakers at the breakfast, which is sponsored by the Westmont Foundation and local businesses to promote a discussion of significant issues within the community.

Past speakers have historically been former U.S. cabinet officials, authors or other recognizable leaders, including retired Gen. Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Although Yunus doesn’t have the same name recognition, he has helped billions of poor people through micro-lending, according to Westmont President Gayle Beebe.

“He may not be as well known in Santa Barbara as he is around the world, but it’s just been impressive,” Beebe said. “I think there is so much creativity in this town. I think what he could do for us is really start that engine of innovation. This is really an opportunity to think together.”

Yunus founded Grameen Bank in 1976 to make fair loans to the poor and loaned to more than 8.4 million struggling borrowers. Since then, his model has been replicated at more than 250 institutions in nearly 100 countries.

In addition to other awards, Yunus accepted the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship last fall.

“I think that it’s a special opportunity for the community to hear a person who has done so much good for so many people in such a simple way,” Westmont Foundation board chairman John Ambrecht said.

A sold-out crowd of 700 to 800 listeners are expected at the breakfast, which will be held from 7 to 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28 in the Grand Ballroom of the resort. Tickets cost $125 per person and can still be purchased online by clicking here.

“The goal of the breakfast is to bring thoughtful and trusting ideas into the community and to Westmont,” President’s Breakfast committee chairman John Davies said. “The whole idea is to bring in proven leaders. This time, instead of bringing someone that’s mostly attracted by name and position, we thought we’d find someone who’s been a world changer.

"I think it will be very insightful.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • 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 >