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$1 million given out to nonprofits by Montecito Bank & Trust

A $1-million donation from Montecito Bank & Trust is helping 194 non-profits in the Central Coast .
Community Dividends
John Palminteri
A $1-million donation from Montecito Bank & Trust is helping 194 non-profits in the Central Coast area.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- A Thanksgiving week gift of $1 million came early from Montecito Bank & Trust to nonprofits on the Central Coast.

Because of the coronavirus, the Community Dividends lunch was not held in person.

Instead it was in a Zoom presentation with more than 300 attendees.

It was hosted by Chairman and CEO, Janet Garufis who held up the awards, champagne and gifts each organization received in addition to the bank donation.

194 organizations received checks to supplement their budgets during these tough times. For many, the income from donations and other sources over this year, has fallen off significantly.

The fund was created in 2003 by Montecito Bank & Trust owner and Chairman Michael Towbes.

The goal was to assist designated organizations which serve low and moderate-income individuals and families in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. There are also awards to organizations that serve the arts, youth and education, social services, and medical and health services sectors.

Below is a list of the recipients and further information from Montecito Bank & Trust:

November 23, 2020

194 Local Nonprofit Organizations Receive Community Dividends® Awards and Share of $1 Million at Montecito Bank & Trust’s 18th Annual Luncheon

Santa Barbara, Calif. – Montecito Bank & Trust kicked off the holiday season on Monday November 23, 2020, with a special annual tradition and a new twist – a virtual Community Dividends celebration. Now in its 18th year, this unique giving program has granted a total of $18 million to local Santa Barbara and Ventura County nonprofits. In lieu of the traditional Thanksgiving meal that is typically shared among nonprofit friends at each year’s celebration luncheon, Montecito Bank & Trust donated 200 turkeys to Central Coast nonprofit organizations, including Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People, Food Share of Ventura County and Manna Conejo Valley.

The virtual gathering was filled with over 320 attendees, including Central Coast nonprofits, MB&T associates and media. Recipients received a special hand delivery from bank associates, which included a bottle of celebratory bubbles from several local wineries and a mask with the message “Choose Kindness”, tying together the theme of supporting and keeping each other safe during these times. Nonprofit leaders cheerfully reconnected through Zoom chat and watched videos showcasing impactful photos of their own teams at work in the community.

Chairman & CEO, Janet Garufis, welcomed and praised everyone for their dedication to our communities during this time, “Our community has experienced disaster, but this year has been like no other. You, our nonprofit community, took your previous experience and quickly mobilized. You activated partnerships and networks to help meet the needs of our community.  You are caring for the most vulnerable, healing the sick and the lonely, educating our children, meeting basic needs such as food and rent and lifting our spirits with music and arts that remind us of the beauty around us.  You are an integral part of our community wide resilience.”

The Community Dividends grant program was created in 2003 by Michael Towbes, Montecito Bank & Trust’s late owner and Founder, with a primary focus on supporting organizations or programs that serve low- and moderate-income individuals and families in Santa 

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Barbara and Ventura Counties. Dividends are awarded to organizations that serve youth and education, social services, medical and health services, and the arts. 

The Michael Towbes Community Impact Grant was created in 2019 to honor the legacy of Montecito Bank & Trust’s founder, whose vision inspired the Bank’s philanthropic giving programs and made a significant and meaningful impact on the Central Coast communities. This grant is intended to do the same by gifting $100,000 to one or more nonprofits that deliver critical and sustainable services to a large amount of the most vulnerable people in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. In its second year, the Michael Towbes Community Impact Grant was increased to $175,000 due to the overwhelming needs that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was distributed to 5 organizations that are providing critical community aid during this time. The 2020 recipients were announced on the call and included Child Abuse Listening Mediation, Inc. (CALM), Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA), Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People, Organic Soup Kitchen and Gold Coast Veterans Foundation.

The inaugural Jerry Parent Anniversary Grants Legacy Award was also presented at this year’s Community Dividends celebration. Janet Garufis shared, “As we prepared for our 45th Anniversary in March, I was thinking not only about the legacy that Mike left, but how this Bank came to be. Most people know that Mike was one of the founders of this wonderful bank, but what you may not know, is that if it was not for our other founding Board Member, Jerry Parent, Montecito Bank & Trust might not be what is today. It was Jerry who invited Mike to invest in the bank over 45 years ago and what better way to celebrate this milestone Anniversary than by celebrating our very own Jerry Parent.” Mr. Parent has dedicated 45 years of his leadership and expertise to the Bank and local community at large and in his honor the award goes to an organization that creates sustainable change and positive impact just as he has. The 2020 recipient was the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, an organization which Mr. Parent has been supporting and involved in for many years.

A listing of all 194 nonprofit organizations that received Community Dividends follows.

Montecito Bank & Trust is the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in the Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Founded in 1975, the bank celebrated its 45th anniversary on March 17, 2020 and operates 11 branch offices in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura, Camarillo and Westlake Village. Montecito Bank & Trust has a 

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history of unwavering corporate philanthropy in the local communities it serves, annually donating $1.5 million dollars and volunteering over 7,500 hours to nonprofit organizations in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Awarded the 2017 Bank of the Year (Western Independent Bankers) from among more than 550 independent community banks headquartered in 13 western states 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; mortgage loans, consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides comprehensive trust services and full investment management for all branch office markets. The Bank has earned 20 Best Bank awards in the last 8 years, in addition to numerous accolades for Best Mortgage and Best Financial Services Company in Santa Barbara, Best Investment Company in Santa Ynez Valley and the third Best Bank to Work For in the United States (American Banker Magazine).

                                                                          For more information, please contact

                                                                   Jamie Perez, VP/ Marketing Manager                                                     (805) 564-0218 or     

2020 Community Dividends®

Recipient Organizations

AHA! (Attitude. Harmony. Achievement.)

Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara

Alzheimer's Association, California Central Coast Chapter

American Heart Association - Santa Barbara County

American Heart Association- Ventura County

Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara

Atterdag at Home, Inc.

Atterdag Village of Solvang

Boxtales Theatre Foundation

Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo

Boys & Girls Club of Moorpark & Simi Valley Inc.

Breast Cancer Resource Center of Santa Barbara


California Avocado Festival, Inc.

California Lutheran University

California State University Channel Islands Foundation

Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara

Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara

Carpinteria Children's Project

Carpinteria Education Foundation, Inc.

Carpinteria Valley Arts Council

Casa Del Herrero

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families

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Casa Serena, Inc.

Channel Islands YMCA

Child Abuse Listening Mediation, Inc. (CALM)

Children's Resource & Referral

City Impact, Inc.

Common Table Foundation


Community Arts Music Association of Santa Barbara Inc.

Community Conscience / Under One Roof

Community Counseling and Education Center

Community Environmental Council

Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation

Conejo Valley Senior Concerns, Inc.

Congregation B'nai B'rith

Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Ventura County

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Barbara County

Crane Country Day School

Direct Relief

Doctors Without Walls

Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County

Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation

Dream Foundation

Easy Lift Transportation

El Concilio Family Services

Elings Park Foundation

Elverhoj Museum of History & Art

Endowment For Youth Committee

Ensemble Theatre Company

Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara County

Fielding Graduate University

Food From The Heart

Food Share

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

Foundation for Santa Barbara High School

Fr. Virgil Cordano Center

Friendship Manor Inc.

Ganna Walska Lotusland

Girls Incorporated of Carpinteria

Girls Incorporated of Greater Santa Barbara

Goleta Education Foundation

Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation

Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County

Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County

Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center

HELP of Carpinteria

Hillside House

Hinchee Homes

Hospice of the Conejo

Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc.

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Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura

Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County, Inc.

Housing Trust Fund Ventura County

Independent Living Resource Center, Inc.

Isla Vista Youth Projects, Inc.

Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara

Kids & Families Together

Laguna Blanca School

Leading From Within

Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association

Lobero Theatre Foundation

Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization

Los Olivos School Foundation

Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties

Mental Wellness Center

Midland School

Mission Scholars

Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP)

Montecito Firefighters Charitable Foundation

Casa Dorinda

Montecito Union School

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation

Museum of Ventura County

Music Academy of the West

National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Santa Barbara Chapter

National Association of Women Business Owners, Ventura County

National Disaster Search Dog Foundation

New Beginnings Counseling Center

New House Santa Barbara

Old Mission Santa Barbara

Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Inc.

Opera Santa Barbara

Organic Soup Kitchen

Pacific Pride Foundation

Parks and Recreation Community Foundation


Peoples' Self-Help Housing Corporation

Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation

Planned Parenthood California Central Coast

Project Understanding of San Buenaventura

PublicSquare, Inc.

Sansum Clinic

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute

Santa Barbara Alternatives to Violence

Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Inc.

Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation

Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper

Santa Barbara Club Preservation Foundation

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Santa Barbara Community Housing Corporation

The Marjorie Luke Theatre

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation

Santa Barbara County Education Office

Santa Barbara Culinary Experience

Santa Barbara Education Foundation

Santa Barbara Foundation

Santa Barbara Hillel

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

Santa Barbara Meals on Wheels, Inc.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics

Santa Barbara Police Activities League

Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation

Santa Barbara Rescue Mission

Santa Barbara Symphony

Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation

Santa Barbara Zoological Foundation

Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation

Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People, Inc.

Buellton Senior Center

Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Riding Program

Sarah House

Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara

Solvang Friendship House

Solvang Senior Center

Solvang Theaterfest, Inc.

TV Santa Barbara

St. Vincent's Institution

Standing Together to End Sexual Assault

State Street Ballet

Storyteller Children's Center

Studio Channel Islands Art Center

Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International

Teacher's Fund

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation

The Arc Foundation of Ventura County

The Cecilia Fund

The Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens

The Foundation for Girsh Park

The Foundation For Santa Barbara City College

The Grace Fisher Foundation

The Howard School

The Oxnard College Foundation

The Rona Barrett Foundation

The Salvation Army of Santa Barbara

Tina Hansen McEnroe & Paul V. McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic at UCSB

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Transition House

UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division


UCSB Alumni Association

UCSB Arts & Lectures

UCSB Economic Forecast Project

UCSB Technology Management Program

United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County

United Way of Santa Barbara County, Inc.

United Way of Ventura County, Inc.

Unity Shoppe, Inc.

Ventura County Community Foundation

Ventura County Library Foundation

Ventura County Medical Resource Foundation

VNA Health

Westmont College

Wilderness Youth Project

Wildling Museum of Art and Nature

Women's Economic Ventures

Women's Fund of Santa Barbara

Youth and Family Services YMCA: Noah's Anchorage Youth Crisis Center


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