January 31, 2023
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New faces, new money at nonprofits throughout the region


After raising more than $2 million in funding, the Foundation for the San Luis Obispo Performing Arts Center opened its fundraising effort, called the Encore Campaign, to the public on Jan. 22, with a sold-out show at the center called “Curtain Up!”

The endowment campaign has been in the works since 2013, and the group estimates that it has reached about 80 percent of its fundraising goal after gathering donations from 87 foundation members.

Each year, the foundation provides the center with about 55 percent of the funding necessary to continue its operations; the other 45 percent is generated by hall rental and technical fees. With supplemented funding, the PAC provides discounted rental rates for local artists and youth.

New VCCF leader

As for nonprofit news further down the coast, the Ventura County Community Foundation has named Vanessa Bechtel its president and CEO.

Bechtel most recently served as executive director of the SBCC Foundation, which has $49 million in assets and benefits Santa Barbara City College. During her time there, the organization’s annual fundraising numbers doubled.

At the VCCF, Bechtel will oversee $137 million in charitable assets and a scholarship program that awarded $1.2 million to local students in 2014.

She will be replacing Hugh  Ralston, who previously left the foundation to take on a leading role at the Fresno Regional Foundation.

Once named Business Woman of the Year by the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, Bechtel graduated from UCSB with a degree in law and society and is currently pursuing an MBA at USC.


Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care in Santa Barbara has hired Julie Posada as director of personal care services. With more than 25 years of experience in operating nonprofits, Posada will bring expertise to the position in dealing with non-medical assistance for patients such as providing post-injury support for recovery.

She has a bachelor’s degree in business from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.


The Santa Barbara Community College District Board of Trustees elected Marianne Kugler as president of the board for 2015, with Marty Blum as vice president.

Kugler has acted as an adjunct professor of sociology of education and urban education and dean of the School of Education and Human Service at the University of Michigan Flint.

She has a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, an elementary teaching credential from UCLA, a master’s degree from the University of New Mexico, and a doctoral degree from Michigan State University.

Blum is a two-time mayor of Santa Barbara and former member of the city’s planning commission. She has worked in Santa Barbara city government for more than 20 years.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Purdue University, a master’s degree in education from UCLA, and her J.D. degree from Loyola Law School.


Gil Stork, the superintendent and president of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, has been elected chair of the governing board at Sierra Regional Medical Center for 2015.

Stork has served on the board for five years, most recently as secretary and treasurer.

Other new members to the board include Tom Jones, director of corporate affairs at Pacific Gas and Electric, as vice chair; and Scott Bisheff, medical director of Sierra Vista’s Emergency Department, as secretary and treasurer.

Botanic Garden

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has elected James O. Koopmans as chairman of its board of trustees, in addition to welcoming three new officers.

Koopmans is a tax partner with Damitz, Brooks, Nightingale, Turner & Morrisset in Santa Barbara, and the new officers are Marc Fisher, John Parke, and Susan Spector.

Fisher is the vice chancellor for administrative services and campus architect at UC Santa Barbara and previously was the campus architect and director of design at UCLA.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

Parke is a partner at Allen & Kimbell in Santa Barbara, with his practice focusing on civil litigation dealing with real estate and trust law.

He has more than 30 years of experience in law; he received a bachelor’s degree from UCSB and graduated from the UCLA School of Law.

Spector is currently active in community service, having retired from his occupation as an interpreter and translator for the United States Department of State.