The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation honored five Santa Barbara County nonprofits for their contributions to the community during its annual awards presentation at the Chumash Casino Resort’s AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant, The Willows.

The event, held on November 14, recognized five local nonprofits for their efforts in five distinct categories: Community Enhancement and Environment; Culture and Recreation; Education and Personal Development; Health and Human Services; and Native American.

This year, the five nonprofits that were honored with $5,000 service awards were Cuyama Valley Family Resource Center, Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation, Friends of the Library of SYV, American Heart Association, and Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

“Each year, this event is about honoring great nonprofits that serve as our partners in the community and share in our spirit of giving,” said Vincent Armenta, Tribal Chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

Cuyama Valley Family Resource Center was honored in the Community Enhancement and Environment category for its service to the diverse, underserved and geographically isolated area in Northern Santa Barbara County. It will soon unveil the Cuyama Valley Community Center, creating a hub that is focused on bringing people together to improve access to vital services, such as literacy, family support, adult education, commodity assistance and youth services, among others. Past recipients of this award have been Santa Barbara Zoological Foundation (2010), Santa Barbara Channelkeeper (2011) and Community Environmental Council (2012).

Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation, which has promoted youth activities in the community since 1955, was honored with the Culture and Recreation Award. The group has rasied money through local campaigns and provided funding for the vast majority of recreational fields in the Santa Ynez Valley, including Sunny Fields Park and Pony League Fields. Past recipients of this award include Lompoc Family YMCA (2010), Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (2011) and Arts Outreach (2012).

Friends of the Library of SYV were honored in the Education and Personal Development category for its ongoing efforts to make the community aware of the services and needs of the Santa Ynez Library. The group has stimulated expansion of the library’s collections, facilities and services, while also supporting programs that directly affect the needs of children and adults in the Santa Ynez Valley. Past recipients of this award are Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara (2010), Santa Barbara County Education Office (2011) and Casa Esperanza Homeless Shelter (2012).

The American Heart Association, whose Central Coast Division is based in Santa Barbara, was honored in the Health & Human Services category for its continued efforts to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The local affiliate is also backing the organization’s ambitious goal to improve cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020. Past recipients of this award are Family Care Network (2010), Court Appointed Special Advocates (2011) and Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Riding Program (2012).

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum received the Native American Award in recognition of its preservation and celebration of maritime heritage on the Central Coast. It has developed interactive exhibits and engaging displays while including Chumash peoples and their traditions as it relates to maritime culture. Past recipients of this award are Growing Solutions (2010), Ventura County Indian Education Consortium (2011), American Indian Health & Services (2012).

Through its Foundation, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has donated more than $18 million to hundreds of groups, organizations and schools in the community and across the nation as part of the tribe’s long-standing tradition of giving. To find out more about the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation and its giving programs, visit


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