Montecito Bank & Trust senior portfolio manager Charles Faulding proudly announces a $4,000 donation to the nonprofit Neal Taylor Nature Center, for which he also serves as a board member, during MB&T’s annual Anniversary Grants awards reception Tuesday evening. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

In honor of its 40th birthday, Montecito Bank & Trust gave nonprofits more money than usual during its annual Anniversary Grants awards reception Tuesday evening.

Ten bank employee-nominated organizations received a $4,000 donation, totaling $40,000.

Recipients appreciated the sizable bump. Montecito Bank & Trust employees typically handpick local nonprofits to receive $1,500 each, for a total of $15,000.

The charitable enhancement was made possible by the work of dedicated employees, who volunteered more than 2,000 hours in 2014, bank President/CEO Janet Garufis said.

“I want to brag about them,” she said.

Local supporters and employees working in branches from Solvang to Westlake Village celebrated the bank’s 40th anniversary during the 23rd consecutive Anniversary Grants awards reception at Montecito Bank & Trust’s downtown State Street office.

On hand — as always — was bank chairman and co-founder Michael Towbes, who established the anniversary awards program in 1993 to highlight the nonprofit organizations Montecito Bank & Trust employees so fervently support.

MBBT grants

Bob Yost, executive director of the Page Youth Center, accepts the nonprofit’s $4,000 grant during Montecito Bank & Trust’s annual awards reception Tuesday night. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

More than 200 employees selected nonprofits and then each campaigned for his or hers to win the most votes.

“I never get tired of this event,” Towbes said before handing the microphone over to employees, who introduced awardees and promotional videos produced by Cox Communications.

Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County Executive Director Charles Anderson thanked Towbes for his generosity, which would help the nonprofit serve thousands of women and children in need every year.

He also gave a shout-out to fellow awardees for their own great work.

Other nonprofits receiving $4,000 included the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, the Marjorie Luke Theatre, the NatureTrack Foundation, the Neal Taylor Nature Center, the Page Youth Center, the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, Project: Rescue Flight, the Rotary DreamCatcher Playground and What is LOVE.

As a first-time recipient, Neal Taylor Nature Center Executive Director Julie McDonald was excited for the opportunities the award could offer the educational center at Lake Cachuma.

The center was in the middle of a room-by-room renovation, McDonald said, and $4,000 will go a long way.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.