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Downtown Organization Announces Award Recipients

Joanne Funari was presented with the 2011 Citizen of the Year Award in recognition of her efforts and contributions to support and promote Downtown Santa Barbara. The Downtown Organization salutes Joanne Funari for her never-ending willingness to volunteer her time, energy and resources to the Downtown Organization, Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, The Hispanic Business Council, The Foundation for Santa Barbara City College, The Citizen Advisory Council for Continuing Education for Santa Barbara City College, and as La Presidenta and Chief Executive Officer of Old Spanish Days-Fiesta; and for her commitment to building a stronger community by successfully bringing together governmental, cultural and business sectors to benefit the vitality and economic well being of Downtown Santa Barbara.

Other awards at the Annual Luncheon included the Harriet Miller Youth Leadership Award and the George Gerth Volunteer of the Year Award.

The Harriet Miller Youth Leadership Award was presented to Anna Luisa “Annie” Marroquin. Annie is a senior at Dos Pueblos High School carrying a 4.27 GPA. Annie was chosen for her outstanding leadership in school and in the community. At school, she is a member of Dos Pueblos High School Student Government, Pathways to College Club, Environmental Club, Humanitarian Club, Usherettes and Dos Pueblos High School Site Council. In the community, Annie is involved with the Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara Ty Warner Sea Center, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara Cancer Center, Santa Barbara Youth Council, Coalition of Youth Advocates, Santa Barbara Green Business, Santa Barbara Creeks Advisory Committee and Heal the Ocean Junior Council. She also volunteers annually for the Earth Day Festival, French Festival and Viva la Vida Festival.

Recommended by Silvina Pereira, a Counselor at Dos Pueblos High School, she points out that Annie is “one of the best, exceptionally academically talented Latina students that I have had the pleasure of working with in my sixteen years as a school counselor…She is my “shining star,” a truly mature individual with immense integrity, ability to achieve academically, compassion for others and the environment, with humility beyond words.” Annie has participated in countless hours of community service over the past five years and believes that, “the most significant part about community service is its ability to bring a sense of unity and belonging to anyone involved.” As expressed by Susan Young, Neighborhood and Outreach Services Supervisor, “Annie mirrors the goals of Mayor Miller and her vision for youth leaders.” Annie has applied to several competitive colleges, in the hopes of pursuing a degree in Environmental Science.

The Downtown Organization’s George Gerth Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Roger Durling of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Roger is an important member of many of the Downtown Organization committees including the Executive Committee, the Promotions Committee, the Safety Committee and the Nominating Committee. He gives of himself without question and is always ready with a “Yes”, a smile and a “What can I do to help?” attitude. In 2011, Roger was especially important to the DO’s Downtown Art and Wine Tour, Host Program, epicure.sb: a month to savor santa barbara and Film Feast. He volunteered for 11 Host shifts throughout the summer and assisted with visitor hospitality during several cruise ship visits as well. He rounded out the year as Volunteer Coordinator for the Downtown Holiday Parade.

Roger serves on the Board of other community organizations including the Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau and Film Commission and Doctors Without Walls. He also teaches Film Studies at Santa Barbara City College.

The Downtown Organization congratulates all those acknowledged at the Annual Lunch and Awards Presentation. Their generous support, time and inspiration continues to make Downtown Santa Barbara “The most beautiful Downtown in America.”

The Downtown Organization is a membership-driven, non-profit organization whose goal is to maintain and enhance the business and cultural activity in the downtown area. Helping keep downtown Santa Barbara clean, attractive, safe and vibrant goes towards supporting this goal. Presently, there are over 1,400 members who benefit from the Downtown Organization’s commitment to excellence and its ongoing efforts on their behalf. Some of the programs, activities and events sponsored by the Downtown Organization include the Downtown Holiday Parade, the Downtown Art & Wine Tour, the decorative State Street Flag Program, Downtown Host Program, 1st Thursday, Film Feast, epicure.sb: a month to savor santa barbara and Downtown Safe Trick-or-Treat.

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