Habitat Santa Barbara Denim & Diamonds gala
Honoree Leslie Meadowcroft-Schipper, left, was presented the Community Transformation Award from emcee Janet Garufis at Habitat Santa Barbara’s annual Denim & Diamonds gala last Friday. (Habitat Santa Barbara photo)

Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County celebrated its commitment to rebuild communities, build homes and transform neighborhoods at the sold-out annual Denim & Diamonds gala last Friday.

Nearly 200 guests came out in their best denim blues and dazzling jewels to celebrate Habitat Santa Barbara and raise money to support its mission to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope. This event honored community member Leslie Meadowcroft-Schipper for the gift of land she donated to Habitat Santa Barbara, which will serve as a future site for new Habitat homes.

Meadowcroft-Schipper is a distinguished honorary board member at Habitat Santa Barbara and a leadership volunteer engaged in neighborhood revitalization, which includes projects ranging from construction of new affordable housing to home repairs and neighborhood beautification.

Meadowcroft-Schipper, who was born in Washington state and grew up in Switzerland, was inspired by the skills-based training available in European schools. She has now lived in Santa Barbara for more than 20 years and is the founder of TRADART Foundation, a Santa Barbara nonprofit that supports career pathways in construction technology through investing in schools.

Meadowcroft-Schipper was honored with the Community Transformation Award at the gala and presented with the award by Janet Garufis, chairman and CEO at Montecito Bank & Trust and a Habitat Santa Barbara honorary board member. Assemblywoman Monique Limón also provided remarks and awarded Meadowcroft-Schipper with a Certificate of Recognition from the State of California.

“Leslie’s donation of land means we get to construct more new Habitat homes. It is also a launching point for community revitalization. This donated land will become ground-zero for community-building,” said Jessica Wishan, CEO of Habitat Santa Barbara.

Garufis served as master of ceremonies for the evening and inspired guest with her enthusiastic support of Habitat Santa Barbara in her themed outfit including denim overalls and sparkling jewels. With Garufis’ support from the podium, Habitat Santa Barbara raised a record-breaking $171,000 in net proceeds, thanks to generous event donors and sponsors.

The Denim & Diamonds Gala thanks its event sponsors:

Revitalization Sponsors

US Bank
Hotel Californian
Wall Raising Sponsors
Maureen McDermut & Associates
Montecito Bank & Trust
Pacific Western Bank
S&S Seeds
Union Bank

Foundational Sponsors

Frank Schipper Construction
The Schowe family
Sunrise 805
Zia Group

Housewarming Sponsors

Bank of the Sierra
Citizens Business Bank
HUB International
SBCC Foundation

In-Kind Sponsors

Au Bon Climat
Grassini Family Vineyards
M. Special Brewing Company
Margerum Wine Company
Meadowcroft Wines

The Denim & Diamonds gala directly supported Habitat Santa Barbara, a local nonprofit established in 2000. Habitat is committed to building strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter and partners with low to moderate-income individuals and families in Southern Santa Barbara County to build or improve a place to call home.

Homeowners build alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Habitat Santa Barbara has built 22 new homes for 84 people, 50 percent of whom are children, as well as helped rebuild and repair 150 homes on the South Coast.

In response to the January 2018 Montecito debris flow, Habitat Santa Barbara mobilized 2,000 volunteers to support more than 100 devastated homes, and removed more than 42,000 tons of mud.

Habitat Santa Barbara also operates a ReStore, a social enterprise entity serving as a home improvement center. The ReStore is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Inventory is donated and prices are discounted at 50 to 80 percent off retail value. All purchases support Habitat’s program operations while reducing waste in landfills.

Click here for more information, or contact Lauren Winnewisser, director of development and communications, at 805.692.2226 or lauren@sbhabitat.org.

— Lauren Winnewisser is the director of development and communications for Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County.