Montecito Bank & Trust upped the ante for the 2020 round of its corporate philanthropy, giving away $1.175 million at its 18th annual Community Dividends program on Nov. 23.
The program was presented virtually on Zoom, and around 350 people participated from 194 organizations in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
The program was the creation of the late Mike Towbes, the bank’s co-founder, former chairman and sole owner for many years.
Montecito Bank & Trust is the largest of four independent banks based in the tri-county region, with assets of $1.95 billion and 13 branches. The bank, which was founded 45 years ago, has nearly tripled in size during the three years since Towbes’ death in 2017 at age 87.
“This is not how we envisioned the 18th annual Community Dividends,” said Janet Garufis, the bank’s chair and CEO. “But no matter how many challenges we are facing there is always somebody who has bigger challenges.”
The 2020 program presented five Michael Towbes Community Impact grants, following a tradition begun last year when it presented a $100,000 impact grant to the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.
The 2020 impact grant recipients received between $25,000 and $50,000 and included: People Helping People in the Santa Ynez Valley, Gold Coast Veterans Foundation in Ventura County, Organic Soup Kitchen in Santa Barbara, Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in Santa Barbara and CALM, or Child Abuse Listening Mediation, in Santa Barbara County.
Gold Coast Veterans Association said its grant would be the fulcrum that enables construction to begin on its residence for homeless veterans in Ventura County.
The 2020 program honored longtime bank board member and Santa Barbara attorney Jerry Parent, who persuaded Towbes to invest in the bank during its formation. A grant in Parent’s honor went to the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.