Stephen Hicks and Ralph Iannelli have been elected to the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Board of Trustees, each beginning a three-year term in January.

Stephen Hicks

Stephen Hicks

Selected for their diverse interests, experience and leadership in both professional and volunteer arenas, trustees establish policy, set priorities and are responsible for guiding the foundation’s activities.

“We are thrilled to welcome our newest trustees, who will bring a wealth of experience and commitment to the many communities throughout Santa Barbara County,” said Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “They join our distinguished Board of Trustees in strategically guiding the foundation’s financial stewardship, philanthropic services and commitment to Santa Barbara County’s social sector.”

Hicks enjoyed a 30-year career in the computer and software industries with various responsibilities in marketing, finance, new product development and management. Beginning with IBM, he was subsequently a partner in four software firms, all of which were acquired.


Moving with his family to Santa Barbara from McLean, Va., in 1994, he became an active community volunteer, serving in various board positions including board president of CALM, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, the Channel Islands YMCA and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. He also served on the boards of Noah’s Anchorage and the Family Service Agency.

He was recently named an honorary trustee of the Museum of Natural History and was the Santa Barbara Foundation Man of the Year in 2007.

He currently serves on the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics board, YMCA audit and investment committees, and the Museum of Natural History strategic planning and audit committees.

He has a bachelor of science degree from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from the University of Southern California.

Ralph Iannelli

Ralph Iannelli

Iannelli is the chief executive officer of Essex Capital Corp., a firm he founded in 1993. Essex Capital Corp. provides equity and debt financing for venture backed companies, and partners with and maintains relationships with some of the largest and well-known venture capital firms in the country.

He began his career as a social worker with the New Jersey State Department of Public Welfare. He later held management positions at IBM and served as an executive vice president at Nixdorf Computer and Pitney Bowes. He was a partner at American Computer Leasing Corporation and a principal at RAM Capital Corporation.

Iannelli is an investor and active board member for a broad range of companies, including Neos Therapeutics LLC, Emida Technologies Inc., Givezooks, and a number of other startup and later stage companies. he serves on the boards of several nonprofits both nationally and in Santa Barbara that are focused on education and law enforcement.

He teaches classes at UCSB and Loyola Marymount University. Ralph is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College and attended the University of Chicago.

The Santa Barbara Foundation was established in 1928 to enrich the lives of the people of Santa Barbara County through philanthropy. As the largest community foundation in the county, and one of the largest sources of funding for area nonprofits and agencies, the foundation is committed to building philanthropy, strengthening the nonprofit sector and solving community problems. Guided by compassion for those most in need of help, excellence in what it supports and integrity in all relations, the Santa Barbara Foundation is invested in creating a more vibrant and engaged Santa Barbara County.

— Judy Taggart is the communications director for the Santa Barbara Foundation.

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