Jeff Shaffer
Jeff Shaffer
John Burnett
John Burnett

Jeff Shaffer was honored as the 2022 Citizen of the Year and John Burnett the 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year at the Downtown Santa Barbara Annual Awards Breakfast, presented by Southern California Edison at El Paseo Restaurant.

Community leaders and stakeholders gathered for the Feb. 15 event, which honors noteworthy businesses, organizations and individuals for their contributions to the downtown community.

Emcees included Anne Peterson, 2023 president of Downtown Santa Barbara’s Board of Directors and executive director of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation; and Robin Elander, Downtown Santa Barbara executive director.

Shaffer received the Citizen of the Year award in recognition of his work catalyzing progress surrounding the issue of homelessness. In 2022  he facilitated important conversations with downtown stakeholders and resource providers to mobilize more services, navigation centers, and shelters for hundreds of individuals without homes.

Shaffer has 17 years of dedication to this issue, previously working with SB ACT, and now with City Net – Kingdom Causes and Westmont College, to mentor and inspire future generations.

Entrepreneur of the Year Burnett, of Hook & Press Donuts, has delighted patrons with his one-of-a-kind creations, as illustrated by the lines of customers regularly frequenting his new location on Figueroa Street.

Mark Whitehurst of Voice Magazine, who presented the award, said: “It’s truly special what [Burnett] has accomplished … His heart and creativity is why people come back again and again.”

The Business Champion of the Year award, which celebrates organizations going above and beyond to champion and support businesses in the downtown district, was awarded to Women’s Economic Ventures, which this year opened a new facility downtown to support business innovation, collaboration and training.

Other notable initiatives of Women’s Economic Ventures this year included expansion of programming to be more inclusive of both English and Spanish speakers, a new mixer series called Strong Women, Strong Coffee, and other efforts to champion female business owners.

The George Gerth Volunteer of the Year award, named after the former Santa Barbara Streets, Transportation & Parking manager, was presented by last year’s winner Bob Stout, to Douglas Washington in recognition of his more than decade-long volunteership at DSB’s events and programs.

Dacia Romero Acosta

The Harriet Miller Youth Leadership Award was presented to Dacia Romero Acosta of Santa Barbara High School by Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse. The award recognizes a local high school senior for their leadership and community service.

Rowse commended Acosta on her leadership throughout the past year and said he hopes she continues to inspire and lead community members to follow in her footsteps and give back to their community just as Acosta she has done.

Presenting sponsor for the Downtown Annual Awards Breakfast is Southern California Edison. Supporting sponsors include: Santa Barbara Independent; Ruth Ann Bowe, broker associate, Village Properties; Visit Santa Barbara; Voice Magazine; Economic Development Collaborative; American Riviera Bank; and the city of Santa Barbara.

Downtown Santa Barbara has served as the champion for the stakeholders of historic Downtown Santa Barbara, with more than 1700 members since 1967. It also manages the Downtown Santa Barbara Business Improvement Districts.

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