Santa Barbara-based Hutton Parker Foundation CEO Tom Parker (Jan. 14, 2014)
Paul Wellman

A few years back, when the Santa Barbara International Film Festival needed a new office but couldn’t afford the going rate, the Hutton Parker Foundation offered space at a building on Chapala Street that they were renting out exclusively to nonprofits. Not only did they give us and other organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and the Dream Foundation a home, they also granted money to help with the move and to upgrade the offices. Thanks to the foundation’s investments, all of these organizations now enjoy the stability required to thrive.

CEO and president Tom Parker is the main miracle worker for the foundation, which owns and manages 250,000 square feet of office space in 16 buildings serving more than 100 non-profit organizations, and has recently written a book entitled The $100 Million Secret: Why (and How) Foundations Should Invest in Community Instead of Wall Street. He broke away briefly from his busy schedule to answer the Proust Questionnaire.

What is you like most about your job?

Most people like you when you write checks, and the financial freedom that the foundation gives me to create.

Why invest in community?

It makes complete sense. Everybody wins. That has always been one of the most important things in my life: to try and figure ways everyone wins.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

When all things in my life are in balance.

What is your greatest fear?

Making people unhappy.

Who do you most admire?

Anyone who feels complete and doesn’t need to have to climb the next mountain. I admire that person because I cannot climb that mountain.

What is your greatest extravgance?

Boats, but I own them in partnerships to reduce guilt.

What is your current state of mind?

Older, often confused, but less concerned about it.

What is the quality you most like in people?


What is the quality you most dislike in people?

Rigid narrowness of thought.

What do you most value in friends?

The ability to help complete me.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Having to be constantly filled up.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“It’s all good.”

Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to listen.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Enjoy listening to other people.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Creating the foundation and giving back.

Where would you most like to live?

Right here.

What is your most treasured possession?

Hope to not treasure possessions, not there yet, so boats and cars.

What makes you laugh the most?

My inability to spell and making other people laugh.

What is your motto?

It’s all good.


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