May 29, 2024
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Our View: Honoring the region’s best this Philanthropy Day


With the season for giving upon us, we take pride in recognizing the honorees at the National Philanthropy Day Awards across the region.

On Nov. 16, the Museum of Ventura County in downtown Ventura will host the Association of Fundraising Professionals Santa Barbara/Ventura awards at an in-person program beginning at 4 p.m. On Nov. 18, the AFP chapter for San Luis Obispo County will host its awards with a live presentation on Zoom over the lunch hour. COVID-19 vaccine or test protocols will be followed at the Ventura program.

The Santa Barbara/Ventura awards will honor longtime Santa Barbara donor Barbara Fowler and community leader and farmer Ellen Brokaw as Philanthropists of the Year. In San Luis Obispo County, small business owner and marketing expert Mary Verdin will take home the President’s Award for her efforts to support nonprofits through brand development.

The Santa Barbara/Ventura chapter will also recognize the volunteer efforts of Lucille Boss in Santa Barbara County and Susan Burgos of Casa Pacifica for Ventura County. We’re pleased to see Stacy Swanson of Interface Children & Family Services take home the Fundraiser of the Year award, and Gateway Educational Services is being honored for its work in social justice.

Both chapters are working on engaging a new generation. In San Luis Obispo County, Clair Guyader is being recognized for her neighborhood-focused efforts; the Jordan ELF Project is being recognized in Santa Barbara/Ventura counties with its Youth in Philanthropy Award. The Foothills Forever campaign in Santa Barbara County is receiving a special award.

You can learn more about the Santa Barbara/Ventura program at and the SLO program via email to

We’re taking time to recognize these winners in part because the pandemic has put extraordinary pressure on many nonprofits to meet expanded needs and also raise funds in an uncertain environment.

Kudos to the award winners and to Ventura County Museum Executive Director Elena Brokaw. Elena’s mom, a legendary agribusiness woman, is being honored this year. And thanks to all who support our nonprofits, with gifts big and small.


As we’ve learned over the past year, it’s easy to discount the Black experience in the tri-county region because the numbers are small. But as we’ve also learned, there is an abundance of leadership in our communities from Black residents.

That’s why we endorse an effort by U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Thousand Oaks, to name the post office on North C Street in Oxnard after John R. Hatcher III.

“John was a pillar of our community … He was instrumental in establishing and founding many of the organizations that, to this day, support, encourage, and empower the Black American community throughout Ventura County,” Brownley said in a statement.

Hatcher was the son of a civil rights leader in Alabama, a longtime president of Ventura County’s NAACP chapter and a U.S. Air Force veteran. He’s been recognized by CSU Channel Islands and helped launch many initiatives on behalf of the Black community. This is a great way to remind us of his many achievements.