ERG, an energy company located in Santa Maria, sponsorship of the Legal Aid Foundation’s first annual North County Equal Access Fundraising Luncheon, helped spearhead generous donations to support the organization’s mission to provide high-quality legal services in order to ensure that low-income persons and seniors have access to the civil justice system in times of crisis – to secure safe, habitable shelter, adequate income, and protection from domestic violence and elder abuse.

Maribel Aguilera, ERG’s Business Development Landman, challenged a standing-room-only audience of more than 120 people to invest in the stability of the Legal Aid Foundation.

Mrs. Aguilera, a graduate of the Santa Barbara College of law, who worked for Legal Aid as an intern and an employee for over 4 years said, “I have seen firsthand the difference Legal Aid has made for so many people throughout Santa Barbara County. All of the attorneys at Legal Aid Foundation come from the best law schools and can work elsewhere but choose to work at Legal Aid because they have a passion to help others.”

“It’s a privilege for ERG to support Legal Aid and the wonderful attorneys and staff in the great work they do year after year because EGR understands it’s our collective responsibility to assure everyone in our community has the resources to succeed in times of need,” added Mrs. Aguilera.

Legal Aid Foundation hosted its 1st Annual Campaign for Equal Access Fundraising Luncheon on March 6, at the Far Western Tavern in Old Town Orcutt. Legal Aid’s Executive Director Ellen Goodstein talked about the importance of justice for all and the lack of right to counsel in civil law “Our legal system extends the right to a state appointed attorney to someone facing months or years of prison but not to someone facing months or years of homelessness.”

“…the work of Legal Aid prevents homelessness, protects victims of domestic violence and their children, keeps our vulnerable elderly from being abused, helps the homeless access some the benefits they are entitled to making it possible for them to experience living in their own place for the first time in years.” said Goodstein

This vision-driven event was presented by ERG Resources and sponsored by the Lompoc and Santa Maria Affiliates of the Santa Barbara Foundation ensuring that every dollar raised during the complimentary lunch would go toward direct client services in the North County which accounts for 50% of all Legal Aid’s service in Santa Barbara County. It included a powerful rendition of “We Need Justice, a song written and performed by Legal Aid paralegal Jamie Green, a short film produced by Legal Aid Board Member Saji D. Gunawardane that highlighted the work of the foundation (watch it at, a visionary speech by Legal Aid’s executive director Ellen Goodstein and finally the challenge by Maribel Aguilera for others to join ERG in supporting Legal Aid’s mission by becoming members of Champions of Justice – a multi-year giving society charged with helping establish the sustainability and long-term stability of the 54-year old agency. Three new donors stepped up to become members of Champions of Justice; Gerald and Commissioner Denise Motter, Kristine Mollenkopf of Mollenkopf Law Group and a husband and wife team who wish to remain anonymous.

About ERG – ERG is a privately owned, local energy company based in Santa Maria, with primary operations located in Cat Canyon. ERG is a smaller energy company with 45 employees, working with over 200 local contractors, consultants, and suppliers. ERG’s success has allowed the company to “give forward” to local causes aimed at producing lasting and impactful results in the community.

With many worthy causes to support and ERG’s focus on long-term, positive effects, the company has developed and committed to a strategic giving program and is proud to be the a part of the Legal Aid family of supporters.

For more information please visit

For more information about Champions of Justice, contact Legal Aid’s development director Niki Richardson at 805.963.6754 x109 or


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