Montecito Bank & Trust presented 184 area nonprofits with a share of $1 million, as part of its Community Dividends Awards. Now in its 15th year, this unique giving program has granted a total of $15 million to Santa Barbara and Ventura County nonprofits.
This year’s program marked the first awards celebration without MB&T’s late founder and local philanthropist, Michael Towbes, and included an emotional video tribute to the father of Community Dividends, one that reflected upon the history of the program, its impact on the community, what it meant to the man himself and a look at its bright future.
“To carry on this man’s legacy is an honor and a privilege,” commented Chairwoman & CEO Janet Garufis. “He set the bar high and I speak for everyone in the organization when I say that we will work hard every day to carry on his vision and we will never let him down. I want to thank the 184 of you that are here representing your organizations. You work tirelessly to serve the missions of your organizations and the value of your work does not go unseen—today, we celebrate and thank you!”
The Community Dividends awards were created in 2003 by Montecito Bank & Trust’s late owner and Chairman Michael Towbes, with a primary focus on supporting organizations which serve low and moderate-income individuals and families in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The program also awards dividends to organizations that serve the arts, youth and education, social welfare, and medical and health services sectors. One of the major reasons organizations look forward to this event is the opportunity to socialize with their nonprofit colleagues, share ideas, build stronger bonds within the community and reflect on their impact in the community.
Montecito Bank & Trust has a history of unwavering corporate philanthropy in the local communities it serves. This commitment was driven by Michael Towbes, who used to say, “We do this because we recognize and support the invaluable role your nonprofits play in enhancing the quality of life for all segments of our society. We do this to encourage other organizations to follow in our footsteps. We do this to encourage our employees to volunteer to support these worthy organizations. We do this because we think it’s the right thing to do.”
Marking another unique moment in this year’s program was the announcement by the Mayor of Santa Barbara, Helene Schneider, of Michael Towbes Day of Giving in Santa Barbara, on Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2017.
Montecito Bank & Trust, an S Corporation, is the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Founded in 1975, the bank celebrated its 42nd anniversary in 2017 and operates 10 branch offices. Awarded the 2017 Bank of the Year (Western Independent Bankers) from among 550+ independent community banks headquartered in 13 western states, the bank offers a variety of competitive deposit and lending solutions for businesses and consumers, including business loans and lines of credit; commercial real estate finance; SBA loans; mortgage loans, consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides comprehensive trust services and full investment management for all branch office markets.