January 28, 2023
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Bechtel named new VCCF leader


The Ventura County Community Foundation has a new leader. Vanessa Bechtel, previously executive director of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, is taking over as president and CEO of VCCF starting Feb. 9.

Vanessa Bechtel was recently named president and CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation. (Courtesy Photo)

Vanessa Bechtel was recently named president and CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation. (Courtesy Photo)

The Foundation’s board of directors announced the appointment Jan. 8.

“Vanessa represents the next generation of leadership for the foundation,” said VCCF Chairman Gary Erickson. “She has shown a passion for bringing together people who believe in removing the obstacles that block individuals from realizing their potential. In Santa Barbara, she worked one-on-one to energize traditional donors and used technology to engage young people and diverse populations in philanthropy.”

At SBCC Foundation, the 35-year-old Bechtel oversaw the organization’s more than $50 million in assets. While there, she was responsible for doubling the organizations annual fundraising.

With VCCF, Bechtel will oversee $137 million in charitable assets, as well as a scholarship program that awarded $1.2 million to local students in 2014 and 600 funds that grant more than $4 million annually to local nonprofits, according to a release from the nonprofit.

She also will be responsible for the continued growth of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership that trains nonprofit staffers and volunteers. Last year the center, which houses more than a dozen nonprofits under one roof in Camarillo, trained individuals from nearly 830 nonprofits.

“VCCF has a history of taking on ambitious community goals and partnering with the people and organizations to accomplish those goals. I look forward to all we can do together,” Bechtel said in the release.

She succeeds Hugh J. Ralston, who left the foundation last fall for the chief executive post at the Fresno Regional Foundation.

The national search led by the VCCF Search Committee and conducted by nonprofit recruitment specialist Morris & Berger yielded almost 60 candidates.

Bechtel is the post of president of Santa Barbara Rotary North. She has been named Business Woman of the Year by the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce and to the list of Top Women in Business by the Pacific Coast Business Times.

A Sonoma County native, Bechtel graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in law and society. She is enrolled in the Executive MBA program at the University of Southern California.