Montecito Bank & Trust scholarship recipients join Chairman Michael Towbes, President/CEO Janet Garufis and others from Montecito Bank & Trust during the bank’s annual College Scholarship Fund Luncheon held Monday. (Montecito Bank & Trust photo)

The Montecito Bank & Trust college scholarship fund for high school seniors has been helping local students reach their educational goals for the last 25 years. Created in 1990, this fund has awarded more than $195,000 in scholarships to 147 students through the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara. While the funds are certainly welcomed by students transitioning from high school to college, this tradition isn’t just about the money.

Each year the Scholarship Foundation selects the student recipients to receive the bank’s scholarships, and the bank extends to these students a special luncheon invitation hosted by Chairman Michael Towbes, President/CEO Janet Garufis and other members of the bank’s Executive Team.

The 2015 luncheon took place on Monday in the Library Room of the Santa Barbara Club, where each student shared their plans for the future before Towbes provided the history of the Scholarship Foundation and a very personal message for these young adults. He asked them to remember the fact that their community assisted them in fulfilling their dreams, and that in turn, when they become established in a community, they, too, give back to continue the tradition of support.

“The bank’s philanthropic events like this scholarship luncheon mean a great deal to me,” Towbes said. “Hearing the achievements and ambitions of these very bright young adults reminds us all that there is hope carried by this next generation to tackle ever-increasing challenges. Their energy, innovation and, most importantly, active community participation will make a significant difference.”

In 2015, the bank will provide $9,000 in scholarships, with an additional $2,500 specifically for arts scholarships. Created in the 2009-10 school year, this additional fund for arts scholarships has awarded $14,500 to seven students since its establishment.

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara began in 1962, founded by a small group of individuals, including Towbes. He was a board member for many years and was active in the interviewing process with the scholarship selection committee. In the early 1970s, Towbes’ late wife, Gail, along with Montecito Bank & Trust board member Jerry Parent and others, elevated the vision and activities of the Scholarship Foundation, taking it to a new level of substantial funding. Today, the Scholarship Foundation is the largest community funder of scholarships in the nation.

Montecito Bank & Trust received a 2014 designation of a Super Premier Performing Bank by The Findley Reports, an independent service which rates the annual financial performance of California banks. The Findley Reports has designated Montecito Bank & Trust as a Premier Performing or Super Premier Performing bank 29 times in its 40-year history.

Montecito Bank & Trust, an S Corporation, is the oldest and largest locally-owned community bank in the Tri-Counties. Founded in 1975, with branch offices located in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura and Westlake Village, and a Financial Services Center in Camarillo, the bank offers a variety of competitive deposit and lending solutions for businesses and consumers, including business loans and lines of credit; commercial real estate finance; SBA loans; consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides full investment management as well as trust services for all branch office markets.

— Megan Orloff is the marketing director for Montecito Bank & Trust.