Tuesday, December 11, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 40

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on November 8th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 36

Hobnobbing with Helen: Great givers


The annual Celebrate Philanthropy luncheon, organized by the Santa Barbara Foundation and sponsored by the Santa Maria Times (they picked up the tab for lunch), is, to moi, a social phenomenon. Extremely well attended and about 10 years old, the event is one of the hottest tickets in town.

“We always sell out,” reported the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Lynnette Muscio, who works out of the foundation’s Santa Maria office.

Jerry and Delores Luis were honored for their contributions to the community at the annual Celebrate Philanthropy luncheon on Nov. 2 at the Santa Maria Country Club.

On Thursday, Nov. 2, around 250 folks convened at the Santa Maria Country Club for the annual affair at which three individuals or couples are honored for what they do for the community.

The parking lot was so crowded that perennial luncheon-goer Nancy Stewart had to park a block down the road, outside the country club gates.

The guest list represents a cross-section of the key players in Santa Maria’s nonprofits and organizations that serve the public. Marian Medical Center’s Kathleen Sullivan, PCPA’s Mark Booher, the Santa Maria Valey’s YMCA’s Shannon Seifert, the United Way’s Eddie Taylor, and the Women’s Fund’s Amy Curti were in the crowd. Jeremy Deming, Kathryn Scott, Terri Lee Coleman, and Katherine Bernard from the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley were also on board.

From the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, we spotted Claire Sheehy with the new executive director, Sean Hawkins, as well as board member Frances Romero (former mayor of Guadalupe). Chris Slaughter, executive director of the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, was on hand, along with Roy Reed, who is on the museum board.

As you can see, Celebrate Philanthropy attracts the movers and shakers of our nonprofit world, as well as friends, family, and colleagues of the honorees.

Agnes Grogan (right) expressed appreciation after receiving the Celebrate Philanthropy award from the Santa Barbara Foundation at its annual luncheon.

Other familiar faces in the room were Bob Frias, Joni Gray, Teresa Diani, Jim McGlothlin, and Ted Ortega.

On behalf of the Santa Barbara Foundation, Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino presented etched glass plates to the awardees, while about-to-retire City Manager Rick Haydon and City Council members Jack Boysen and Etta Waterfield watched.

The Luis Oasis Senior Center in Orcutt reserved a table. Doug Dougherty, its executive director, told me, “There was a lot of last-minute scrambling for tickets. We had a waiting list.”

Oasis Center staff and members were positively ecstatic about the awards, because Jerry and Delores Luis, for whom the senior center is named, were, as a couple, one of three honorees. Jim Bray and Agnes Grogan were the other two honored at lunch.

This is Agnes’s year for big-time recognition. At the recent Hancock Foundation Gala, Agnes, the first executive director of the foundation, was guest of honor. Agnes, dear heart, you’re on a roll!

Jim Bray was also honored at the Celebrate Philanthropy luncheon, held by the Santa Barbara Foundation at the Santa Maria Country Club.

Someone else who was prominent at the Hancock gala (she emceed), Diane Adam, a Santa Barbara Foundation trustee, was at the luncheon’s registration table.

Two tables of breakfast Rotarians showed up in support of fellow member Bray. His son drove up from Los Angeles, and his sister flew in from Atlanta for the occasion. Jim’s wife, Denise, was there as well.

At the podium, Ron Gallo, CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation, said some nice things about Santa Maria. The words “generous” and “caring” come to mind.

If you want to hobnob with Helen, you may contact her at column151@gmail.com.

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