United Way of SBC Honors Partners at 95th Annual Awards Celebration

United Way of Santa Barbara County honored Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara as Community Impact Organization of the Year during the 95th Annual Awards. From left, Rob Fredericks, HACSB; Frank Quezada, HACSB; Steve Ortiz, UWSBC; Melinda Cabrera, UWSBC; Charla Bregante, HACSB.
United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) honored the volunteers, businesses, schools and organizations who make the local nonprofit’s community programs and activities possible. The 95th Annual Awards Celebration on May 9 on the Hotel Californian rooftop recognized supporters who played instrumental roles in UWSBC’s 2017 campaign through fundraising, partnerships and more.
The ten honorees were key in UWSBC’s ability to provide programs and services such as United for Literacy and United for Financial Empowerment.Among the many 2017 milestones, 100% of the 300 academically and financially at-risk children participating in UWSBC’s Fun in the Sun summer learning program improved their literacy skills in just six weeks.
“It has been a very difficult and challenging year with unprecedented loss and damage, and I’m seeing so many of the same people and organizations who help United Way year-round step up again to meet these new needs,” said Steve Ortiz, President & CEO of UWSBC. “I’m proud of what we have accomplished together and am humbled to honor your dedication to this community.”
The special evening on the Hotel Californian rooftop included hors d’oeuvres, music and dancing, along with breathtaking sunset view of the Pacific Ocean.
Two of this year’s key honorees were:
Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara – Community Impact Organization of the Year
The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara has partnered with United Way for over 10 years to provide the community with much-needed free tax assistance with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. In recent years, UWSBC and the Housing Authority have now expanded the partnership to include various educational programs and partnerships, including Power Reading literacy improvement curriculum and the Campaign for Grade level Reading Initiative, which aims to improve early literacy skills to help more students reach critical reading benchmarks in third grade. Hundreds of children and families are impacted every year through these educational partnerships.
AGIA Affinity – Most Outstanding Employee and Corporate Campaign
Representatives from AGIA, from left, top row, Brooke Michaud, Adam Thorn and Andrew Dowen; bottom row, Mei-Ling Fry, Julie Capritto, Bonnie Weinberg, Deena Janowitz and Marina Plemons.
Every year, AGIA supports United Way in a multifaceted way that encourages engagement, volunteerism, and philanthropy. AGIA generously matches employee gifts, and last year, their campaign raised over $90,000. This was an increase for the 3rd year in a row! With an awesome Hawaiian theme, fun activities, strong leadership giving, and year-round engagement with United Way events and volunteer opportunities, AGIA modeled what a great campaign should look like.
The full list of awardees included:
General Awards
  • Maurene Donner — United for Literacy Partner of the Year
  • Assistance League – Fun in the Sun Partner of the Year
  • Cottage Health – Outstanding Leadership Workplace
  • Carmela Arstill – Outstanding Employee Campaign Manager (UCSB)
Division Awards
  • UCSB – Outstanding Division Award Education
  • Goleta Sanitary District – Outstanding Division Award Public Organization
  • Aera Energy – Outstanding Division Award Business
  • Montecito Bank & Trust – Outstanding Division Award Finance
United Way of Santa Barbara County
United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has the unique and positive vision that “in our community, everyone has a hopeful future.” Since 1923, UWSBC has served Santa Barbara County community through funding, volunteer development, and by utilizing its own unique initiatives that involve dozens of local non-profit and public sector agencies. UWSBC’s local community driven Power of Partnership™ priorities help children, families & seniors with a focus on Education, Income and Health.

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