The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation gave $25,000 — with another $25,000 pledged for next year — to launch and support Cultural Connections, a Chapter program for people in early stage memory loss that offers excursions at museums and other cultural venues led by specially trained docents.

Cultural Connections is part of the Chapter’s focus efforts on behalf of people taking memory loss mediations or who have been diagnosed with early stage dementia.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are the first three venues to sign on to participate in Cultural Connections. Docents at each of the sites have been specially trained to lead tours for participants in the program, which launches in July.

Chandler pledged to donate $25,000 to the Chapter, provided an equal amount of matching funds can be raised. To that end, the Chapter has created the Go Purple Challenge, which will launch July 1 and culminate on Friday, Sept. 21, Alzheimer’s Action Day.

The Vons Foundation donated $5,000 to the Chapter at a ceremony May 21 at the Vons store in Santa Barbara. General Manager Gene Bendixen presented the check to representatives from the Chapter, including Barbara Pieters, a long-time volunteer and supporter of the Chapter. She is the daughter of Lloyd Peters, a former and beloved teacher in Santa Barbara and who died at age 97 of Alzheimer’s in September.

More information about Cultural Connections and the Go Purple Challenge is available at the Chapter’s website at or by calling the Chapter’s Santa Barbara office at 805.892.4259.


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