Montecito Bank & Trust held its 30th annual Anniversary Grants reception Thursday evening at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum to honor 11 local nonprofit organizations, awarding a total of $33,000.
This year’s event was the first to be held in-person in about two years, since the 2020 and 2021 Anniversary Grants programs were held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re so privileged to live and work in this community,” said Janet Garufis, Montecito Bank & Trust chairman and CEO.
Each year since the first Anniversary Grants program in 1993, Montecito Bank & Trust associates nominate and vote for nonprofit organizations to receive the grants. Ten organizations were chosen for the Anniversary Grants, and one was selected this year for the third annual Jerry Parent Anniversary Grants Legacy Award.
“Our late founder, Michael Towbes, created the Anniversary Grant program in 1993 to broaden our bank’s commitment to the communities we serve and to ensure each of the bank’s associates, now 265 strong, has a direct voice in the direction of our corporate giving,” a release from Montecito Bank & Trust stated. “Our community would not be the vibrant place it is without these organizations and their dedicated teams.”
The release also explained that the Jerry Parent Anniversary Grant Legacy Award honors nonprofit organizations that “create sustainable change and positive impact in making communities we serve better places to live and work.”
Normally, the grants are $2,000 each, but in honor of this year being the 30th program, the grants were increased to $3,000.
“I want to thank Montecito Bank & Trust, not just for the generous contributions financially, but for the time that they spend in the community,” said Margo Byrne, president and CEO of the Channel Islands YMCA. “It’s very powerful.”
In 2021, Montecito Bank & Trust associates volunteered more than 5,400 hours in the community, and the bank’s annual donations amounted to more than $1.6 million in the past year.
In addition to the monetary grants, a short promotional video was made for each organization to show off its work and goals.
“I so enjoy getting this little glimpse into the passion that runs throughout each of these organizations and the individual drive that causes these teams to do what they do every day — making a difference in the lives of so many people in our communities,” Garufis said. “It’s that passion and drive that sparks innovation in tackling the task at hand and finding new and creative solutions and continuously working to inspire change that makes our communities better.”
This year’s Anniversary Grants went to the California Central Coast chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, C.A.R.E.4Paws, the Channel Island YMCA, Flamenco Santa Barbara, El Centro Santa Barbara, the Free Clinic of Simi Valley, kidSTREAM, the Santa Barbara Choral Society and Zaca Center Preschool. The Jerry Parent Anniversary Grants Legacy Award went to the Alpha Resource Center.
“We are so very grateful for the exemplary, philanthropic spirit of Montecito Bank & Trust,” said Lindsey Leonard, executive director of the Central Coast chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “This is a very heartfelt, meaningful evening.”