Cooney and Nordahl Named Cooking Up Dreams Event Co-Chairs, Yardi Systems Named Honorary Chair

Chef Competition Supports At-Risk Youth & Families

Santa Barbara, CA, February 25, 2019— Family Service Agency is pleased to announce that Marni Cooney and Sandy Nordahl will serve as Event Co-Chairs for the 5th Annual Cooking Up Dreams, a “flavorful” benefit for Family Service Agency. Yardi Systems Inc., a longtime supporter of FSA, will serve as Honorary Chair. Gordon Morrell, Executive Vice President, and Kelly Johnson, Culture and Philanthropic Coordinator, will represent Yardi at the festivities.  Cooking Up Dreams is scheduled for April 12, from 6 to 10 p.m., at the Carriage and Western Art Museum in Santa Barbara. Tickets can be purchased online at

Marni Cooney is a member of the Family Service Agency board of directors and serves on a variety of committees. A board member for more than 10 years, she was President from 2007 to 2010 and Co-President from 2011 to 2013. In addition to her work for FSA, Marni has raised funds for the renovation of Peabody Stadium at Santa Barbara High School. Previously, she served on the County Human Services Commission and has professional affiliations with Cold Spring School, Montecito Union, Outhwaite Foundation and Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons.

Sandy Nordahl has been a communications professional for 30 years and was most recently Director of Marketing and Communications for Chicago-based JLL, a global real estate firm. A Detroit native and Michigan State University graduate, Sandy was named Santa Barbara County’s Big Sister of the Year in 2016. She currently serves on FSA’s Development Committee, and is an avid tennis player, traveler, and Spanish language student.

Yardi has grown dramatically over the last three decades to become the leading provider of high-performance software solutions for the real estate industry. Established in Santa Barbara in 1984, Yardi employs over 6,000 dedicated professionals working in over 40 offices throughout North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Australia. For more information on how Yardi is Energized for Tomorrow, visit

Cooking Up Dreams is a unique fundraising event featuring a culinary competition between leading local chefs.  Celebrity judges and up to 300 guests will taste the thoughtfully prepared food made by each chef to vote on the top dish for the People’s Choice and Judge’s Awards.

Well-known local chefs will compete for the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice Awards. They represent establishments such as Bluewater Grill, Casa Blanca, Finch & Fork, Industrial Eats, Les Marchands Merchant & Wine Bar, Michael’s Catering, Outpost at the Goodland, Renauld’s Patisserie & Bistro, Santa Barbara FisHouse, Soul Cal Smokehouse, The Middle Child, and Uncorked Wine Tasting & Kitchen! Guests will also enjoy complimentary wine provided by Babcock Winery, The Brander Vineyards, Margerum Wine Company, and Santa Barbara Winery.  The event also features silent and live auctions, a premium photo booth by RUMOR Photo Media, and music by DJ Scott Topper.

This year, the event is sponsored by John and Tania Burke; Les and Zora Charles; John and Jill Bishop; Michael and Marni Cooney; Tisha Ford; Robert and Susan Manning; Montecito Bank & Trust; Maryan Schall; Sandy & Dave Nordahl; Union Bank; Bergquist Wang LLC; Tim and Ginny Bliss; Fred and Linda Gluck; Jim and Chana Jackson; Jim and Mary Morouse; Price, Postel & Parma LLP; SBCC Foundation; David Smith and Paulette Lambert; Fred and Jane Sweeney; Jon and Elen Vanderhoof; and The Point Market at Coast Village Chevron.

Proceeds from Cooking Up Dreams support programs for at-risk children, families and seniors—including Big Brothers Big Sisters, school-based counseling, youth behavioral health, and senior mental health.

There are many ways to participate. To learn more about the event, purchase tickets or to become a sponsor with reserved seating, please visit


Family Service Agency (FSA) is a nonprofit social service organization that has served Santa Barbara County since 1899, continually improving the health and well-being of the community’s most vulnerable children, families and seniors through their transformative and essential programs: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Senior Services, Family Support Services, Youth & Family Behavioral Health and School Counseling Services. All services are provided free or on a sliding fee/donation scale and no one is denied assistance because of an inability to pay. Visit or call (805) 965-1001 for more information.

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