Hillside House Gets a Boost to Its Long-Term Health

George and Marlene Riemer.
Curtis Lauber

You’ve heard it said: “Give where you live.” It’s a model for communities to care for their own—for the elderly, the sick, the needy—and to provide for arts and culture and other non-profit services in one’s own area. Last year George and Marlene Riemer took a big step. They made an endowment of $50,000 to be managed by the Santa Barbara Foundation and given to Hillside House at the rate of 5% per year. Pleased both with the fiscal management by the Santa Barbara Foundation and with the work Hillside House has been doing in the past year, they have recently decided to increase that endowment with an additional $25,000.

George Riemer retired from his job at Miller Brewing in Milwaukee and moved to Santa Barbara 14 years ago. His wife Marlene soon got involved with the Assistance League and started volunteering regularly at Hillside House. George also came for visits to Hillside House from time to time. He and Marlene were moved by the needs of the residents and inspired by the care they receive at Hillside House. While they donate to a number of charities, the Riemers were looking for a way to make a bigger and more lasting difference. They wanted to give where the money would make a direct, immediate impact in the lives of people who need it, and they wanted to “give where they live.” So George researched carefully, considering local non-profits and gift management strategies, and arrived at a plan to make an endowment to Hillside House, to be handled by the Santa Barbara Foundation.

The idea is that the residents of Hillside House receive help through the Riemer’s generosity on an ongoing basis, and the value of the gift can grow over time as the investment grows. The Riemers knew they did not want to make a one-time major gift that would just be “a flash in the pan,” so George set up the endowment. He also wanted to protect his investment, and the Santa Barbara Foundation has a track record of sound financial management. George also arranged that the money can be given to another worthy non-profit if Hillside House ceased to exist or was no longer meeting its mission.

George says of the decision: “The residents of Hillside House, through no fault of their

own, are consigned to a life of dependency that most people probably cannot fathom. Thanks, however, to the dedication of and care from the staff and management of Hillside House, and the support from many in the Santa Barbara community, the residents have a safe and nurturing environment in which to live. After considering the mission of Hillside House, the quality of staff, support from the community, and what we consider an obligation to help those who cannot help themselves, we decided to make a gift to the Santa Barbara Foundation which will provide annual funding to Hillside House in perpetuity. We are pleased to be able to help and hope others will be similarly inclined.”

Pam Flynt Tambo, Executive Director of Hillside House said, “We are all so grateful to the Riemers for their generosity and compassion. This kind of careful planned giving provides a foundation for non-profits, support we can count on through the years. This is so essential, especially in these times of major cuts to state funding for the kind of services we provide. The Riemer’s foresight will help to ensure the financial stability of Hillside House, providing a lasting home and therapeutic learning community for people with developmental disabilities. Thank you George and Marlene!”

For further information about making an endowment or bequest to Hillside House, please contact Curt Lauber in the Development Department clauber@hillsidehousesb.org or by calling (805) 687-0788 ext. 15.

About Hillside House

Hillside House is a 59-bed residential facility in Santa Barbara that has been providing a home, therapeutic care and life-enrichment programs for people with developmental disabilities for over 65 years. Hillside House’s mission is “to provide a home that supports our residents’ efforts to maximize their physical, cognitive, social and emotional abilities so that they can attain their highest level of independence in an environment where people are treated with dignity and respect.”


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