At an event on September 28, a group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices agents showed themselves to be business people with big hearts who plan to keep on giving. The Santa Barbara chapter of the Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit run by Berkshire Hathaway agents, held a Magical Evening in September to raise awareness and funds for area nonprofits that it supports.
More than 100 Berkshire Hathaway agents and employees, other industry professionals, and nonprofit leaders gathered at boardmember Errol Jahnke’s and his wife, Marilynn Jorgensen’s lovely San Roque home, which just won Santa Barbara Beautiful’s award for Green Residential Home 2018. On the attractive large patio, foundation President Doug Van Pelt welcomed guests and introduced the executive director of the first nonprofit making a presentation, Robert Graham of the Santa Barbara School of Squash. Van Pelt shared his initial skepticism upon hearing the organization’s name, but explained how he was won over upon learning about their programs for area youth, which go far beyond squash.
Guests mingled in between hearing presentations by the other nonprofit grant recipients: CADA (Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse), Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (formerly Rape Crisis Center), and Domestic Violence Solutions. Some organizations brought clients who also spoke, which made the presentations especially interesting and compelling. The event itself, through donations, raffle sales and a wine grab, raised $8,000.
The Santa Barbara chapter is one of five chapters, all of which are in Central and Southern California. The Santa Barbara chapter has significantly increased its efforts in the past two years, granting roughly $40,000 over this time period. Funds come primarily from agents, some of whom donate a fixed amount for every sale they have. Employees can also make donations. The foundation’s mission statement is “to invest in our community by supporting local organizations that help people helping themselves.” Any area organization that promotes health, education, community, or the environment can apply and agents can nominate organizations that fit this criterion. Grants, which average about $2,500, are made monthly.
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By Gail Arnold