November 21, 2023
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Michael and Anne Towbes give $5M to Granada Theatre group


Developer and banker Michael Towbes and his wife, Anne, have made a $5 million gift to the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts. The gift is irrevocable, the organization said in a March 17 announcement, and is in addition to the $15 million the couple has previously given to SBCPA.

“Anne and I hope to inspire others to think about giving in a way which supports and sustains The Granada Theatre and the Santa Barbara arts and cultural community for generations to come,” Michael Towbes said in a statement. “With this gift, we hope to underscore the importance of long-term focus for the SBCPA by building the organization’s endowment through planned gifts which will sustain it and its resident company partners far into the future.”

Towbes is chairman of development and property management firm The Towbes Group, chairman of privately owned Montecito Bank & Trust and chief financial officer of his philanthropic organization, The Towbes Foundation. He is well-known as one of the region’s most prolific developers and philanthropists. Towbes is one of the SBCPA’s founding board members and was deeply involved in the historic restoration campaign for downtown Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre.

Anne Towbes has been involved with numerous South Coast community groups, including the Granada Theatre, Cate School, Santa Barbara City College, Lobero Theatre, Girls Incorporated and Unity Shoppe. She is a former trustee of the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Hutton Foundation and on the board of KDB Radio.

“We are honored and inspired by this gift from Anne and Michael Towbes to the Alhambra Society,” SBCPA Executive Director Craig Springer said in a statement. “Over the years their contributions of personal and financial support have made it possible for The Granada Theatre to become a world-class performing arts venue and for the SBCPA to evolve into a professional support organization for many of Santa Barbara’s performing arts organizations.”

SBCPA’s Alhambra Society honors donors who make a planned gift of $10,000 or more. Membership is reserved for supporters who communicate to the SBCPA their intention to make a contribution through a bequest, life insurance, retirement fund or gift of appreciated assets.

SBCPA also said that the Santa Barbara Foundation will now steward its endowment funds. The partnership means “the SBCPA Alhambra Society can now provide customized giving options to meet each donor’s individual needs and interests,” the group said.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this article misspelled Anne Towbes’ name.]