Cathy Pepe, Niki Sandoval, Luis Villegas, and Michael Young have been elected to the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Board of Trustees, each beginning a three-year term in January 2014. Selected for their diverse interests, experience, and leadership in both professional and volunteer arenas, trustees establish policy, set priorities, and are responsible for guiding the foundation’s activities.

“We are thrilled to welcome our newest trustees, who will bring a wealth of experience and commitment to the many communities throughout Santa Barbara County,” said Ron Gallo, president & CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “They join our distinguished Board of Trustees in strategically guiding the foundation’s financial stewardship, philanthropic services, and commitment to Santa Barbara County’s social sector.”

Cathy Pepe is an attorney, who now grows wine grapes in the Santa Rita Hills. Practicing labor and employment law at the Los Angeles-based law firm O-Melveny & Myers for over 26 years, she currently monitors the settlement of a national class action lawsuit on behalf of the Federal District Courts in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Cathy and her husband Steve own and run Clos Pepe Vineyards, along with her son Wes Hagen. The family makes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines as well as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, all under the Clos Pepe Estates label.

Cathy is currently on the board of the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts Foundation; the Turducken Dinner Group (a support group for Lompoc and Buellton libraries); and Valley Haven (a support group for adult day care facilities in Solvang and Lompoc). She was a trustee at Occidental College for over 12 years, served as a senior warden at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley for two years, and is a past member of the Santa Barbara Foundation Innovation Committee for Strategy Grants. She is a graduate of Occidental College and Loyola Law School.

Niki Sandoval, PhD, is the first descendant of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to earn a doctorate in education. As education director for the tribe, Niki works in partnership with tribal government leaders to refine education policies and strategic educational investments including school readiness, educational attainment, and career transitions. Tribal investments in education have resulted in improved academic achievement and increased graduation rates for Chumash students.

In addition to her work for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Niki is a lecturer in the Education Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). In this role, she engages undergraduate students in the examination of equity issues in education. Several of her students have gone on to pursue careers in teaching, school psychology, and guidance counseling. Previously, Niki served as assistant director for community services at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), where she directed professional development and technical assistance for Native Americans in museum practice.

Niki currently serves as a human services commissioner for the City of Lompoc; is a trustee for the UCSB Alumni Association; and was appointed to the California State Board of Education in January 2013 by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. She holds a doctorate in education from UCSB, a master’s degree in museum studies from George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Pepperdine University.

Luis Villegas has long been committed to the Santa Barbara community and to helping others attain their life goals, regardless of their circumstances. His roots in the community run deep as he was born and raised in Santa Barbara and attended local schools including Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). For 10 years, Luis was an instructor at Santa Barbara City College where he taught a variety of courses including English as a Second Language, basic and intermediate Spanish, and ethnic studies.

In 1993, Luis was elected to the SBCC District Board of Trustees. During his tenure, he served as president twice, in 1999 and 2007. He also served as a board member for the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College. In addition, Luis provided leadership for community colleges at the state-wide level serving as president of the California Community College Trustees, the California Community College League, and the California Association of Latino Community College Trustees.

Closer to home, Luis has made serving the needs of youth and the Hispanic community high priorities in his life. He was co-founder of the Hispanic Business Council of the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of the Santa Barbara YMCA Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership Conference. Luis has also served on the boards of the Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Channel Island YMCA, the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, and La Casa de La Raza. He is a past member of the United Way Allocations Committee and Santa Barbara Economic Development Advisory Committee. In 2010, Luis was named a Distinguished Community Service Honoree by the Anti-Defamation League. He was also the recipient of the Hispanic Achievement Council Award in 2004.

Michael D. Young, PhD, has been vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) for over 24 years. In this role, he oversees 25 departments in the Division of Student Affairs including those that provide services and programs to promote students’ physical and emotional well-being. In addition, Michael serves as the institutional control point for issues pertaining to Isla Vista and childcare.

From 2005-07, Michael served as co-chair for the UC Systemwide Committee on Student Mental Health, presenting a final report and recommendations to the UC Regents. In 2008, he co-chaired the China-U.S.-Canada Student Affairs Summit in Beijing, China. In the last several years, Michael served as chair of the UC Systemwide Admissions Processing Task Force; was a member of the applyUC Steering Committee; and served on the UC Campus Security Task Force, chairing a sub-committee on student mental health. He currently serves on the UC Systemwide Student Health Steering Panel and is co-chair of the UC Systemwide Student Mental Health Oversight Committee, which is charged with overseeing implementation of report recommendations on all UC campuses.

Michael has been active in the Santa Barbara community for many years. Among other community service roles, he was a board member for the United Way of Santa Barbara County for 15 years, also serving as the general campaign chair for the organization’s community-wide campaign in 1997-98; was a member of Santa Barbara’s Fighting Back Steering Committee for 14 years; and served for many years on the Santa Barbara Sansum Clinic Board of Trustees.

Michael received his doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Iowa; his master’s degree in history from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and his bachelor’s degree in history from Beloit College in Wisconsin. In 2012, Michael received an honorary degree from Beloit College.

About the Santa Barbara Foundation

The Santa Barbara Foundation is a community foundation established in 1928 to enrich the lives of the people of Santa Barbara County through philanthropy. As one of the largest private sources of funding for area nonprofits, agencies, and college bound students, the foundation builds and facilitates philanthropy through donor partnerships; invests in nonprofits; and identifies and strategically addresses important community needs. Guided by compassion for the most vulnerable and those most in need of help, excellence in what it supports and with whom it partners, and integrity with a focus on stewardship and transparency, the Santa Barbara Foundation is invested in a more vibrant, engaged, and meaningfully connected Santa Barbara County…for all.


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