By Brooke Holland

Noozhawk Staff Writer


Montecito Bank & Trust has awarded $20,000 in grants to 10 local nonprofit organizations, including Solvang Theaterfest, that were hand-selected by employees during a celebration of the bank’s 43rd anniversary.

Bank employees awarded $2,000 to each grantee after they nominated the organization, campaigned and voted for the nonprofit they value most.

More than $305,000 has been awarded since the program began in 1993, bank spokeswoman Jamie Perez said.

The gathering at the downtown branch of Montecito Bank & Trust in mid-March marked the first Anniversary Grant reception since the bank’s founder and owner, Michael Towbes, died in April 2017.

President and CEO Janet Garufis said Towbes created the program to celebrate the “philanthropic work of our associates in the communities we serve and to give each of them a choice in the direction of our corporate giving.”

Programs like the Anniversary Grant continue Towbes’ legacy and values, Garufis said.

She thanked the associates for honoring Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue and the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation in wake of December’s Thomas Fire and Montecito’s debris flows.

“The community response to the disasters, including the actions of these two organizations, has been remarkable and is a true testament to the pride and commitment we all feel for this wonderful place we call home,” Garufis said.

The 2018 grant recipients were:

In addition to the financial grants, each nonprofit received a brief promotional video produced by Cox Communications showcasing its work.


Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at