It’s been an eventful month at the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara. In one sense I’d describe it as a fitting capstone to 2017.
The organization kicked off December in spectacular fashion with this year’s Community Leaders Luncheon at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort. The annual event recognizes Scholarship Foundation volunteers and donors. Featured speakers this year included Gerd Jordano, who was named Santa Barbara’s Woman of the Year in 2011, and Jonathan Cleek, a Westmont College student and Scholarship Foundation recipient. Board Chair Don Logan and I also addressed the 320 or so attendees. I can’t say enough about my team for putting together such a successful event.
The very next evening the Scholarship Foundation received this year’s Community Impact Award from the Goleta Chamber of Commerce in a ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. The 12 other Goleta’s Finest Award recipients for 2017 included the United Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County (Nonprofit of the Year) and Scholarship Foundation Board member Lisa Rivas (Volunteer of the Year). For me it was the perfect conclusion to a year of arduous but satisfying work. Again, our thanks to President and CEO Kristen Miller and her colleagues at the Goleta Chamber of Commerce for honoring the Scholarship Foundation in this way.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment briefly on the Thomas Fire. Like our friends and neighbors up and down the coast, we revere the thousands of firefighters whose fearlessness, indefatigability, and skill have been truly inspirational. It is one of life’s ironies that tragedy should so often beget renewed faith in the inherent nobility of humankind.
On a personal note, I will step down as president and CEO of the Scholarship Foundation next month. It has been a tremendous honor to lead the foundation during this exciting period of change, and I believe the organization is well-positioned to continue its critically important work. I feel very good about all that we accomplished over the last two and a half years, including modernizing and streamlining our scholarship application process, and increasing the organization’s focus on student outcomes. The Scholarship Foundation’s mission will always be near and dear to my heart, and I am proud to have worked alongside such a dedicated and talented group of people, from the staff and board to our community partners and donors. It has been a privilege to be part of this exceptional organization.