Gold Coast Veterans Foundation Among 5 Organizations Awarded MB&T’s Michael Towbes Community Impact Grant

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 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.

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 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).

Source: Santa Barbara Independent article from November 23, 2020)

Additional Press Releases on the Michael Towbes Community Impact Grant: