The Towbes Group Awards $7,500 in Grants to Area Non-Profits

The recipients of the 2011 Towbes’ grants are Gaviota-based Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute, Santa Barbara-based Breast Cancer Resource Center and Ventura-based Project Understanding. A company-wide vote determined the three grant recipients.

In keeping with Towbes’ founder Michael Towbes dedication to philanthropy, the Santa Barbara-based real estate firm established the Towbes Employee Grant Committee in 2004 to support local charities and community organizations in which its employees are involved, according to committee member Mary Pouliot. Since its inception, The Towbes Employee Grant Committee has given more than $200,000 in the form of annual grants, donations and sponsorships to such organizations as Santa Barbara-based Dream Foundation, which makes dreams come true for adults with life-threatening illness; Ventura-based Livingstone Memorial, Visiting Nurse Association Hospice; and Santa Barbara-based Casa Serena, a woman’s Recovery Home.

The Towbes Grant Committee is a fundamental part of our business that underscores our core values and helps foster the family spirit that exists here at Towbes, says Konoske. More importantly, we hope that through our example, other local businesses will become more involved in our community.

During the course of the year, employees nominate worthy organizations to receive the grants, particularly in the areas of community and environmental stewardship, health and well-being, and education and enrichment. In most instances, the Towbes employee is a volunteer or a financial supporter of the organization. We can see as much campaigning by the employees to encourage votes for their favorite charity as we would in any Presidential election year, adds Pouliot.

The three organizations each received their grant in front of the firm’s nearly 100 employees at one of The Towbes Group’s semi-annual all team meetings.

In addition to receiving their check at the meeting, representatives from each organization makes a brief presentation to our entire team which serves to encourage more Towbes employees to volunteer, said Pouliot.

The Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI) is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to making a difference through marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation, research and education. CIMWI is a part of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program under the direction of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and is the only authorized organization to respond to and rehabilitate pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) and cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales) for Ventura County.

Founded in 1997, The Breast Cancer Resource Center of Santa Barbara acts as a clearinghouse of information, personal support through peer-counseling and referral service conduit for women diagnosed with breast cancer or dealing with benign breast health issues. The BCRC has been a vital community resource in helping women and their families navigate and understand the disease management process and bridging gaps in emotional care and education. One hundred percent of its income comes from contributions from individual donors, businesses, and grant donations from private foundations.

Project Understanding is a faith-based organization offering assistance to low income and homeless individuals and families. Its programs include an emergency pantry to feed the hungry through times of crisis, medical assistance, tutoring and transitional shelter. Many of its programs have been incorporated in separate agencies including FOOD Share (the county food bank), the Ventura County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity and Operation Warm-Up (Now Operation Work).


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