Santa Barbara, CA. March, 2014 ––The Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts (SBCPA) is proud to announce that Anne and Michael Towbes have made a $5 million irrevocable planned gift to the organization’s Alhambra Society – a planned giving group dedicated to providing for the future growth of SBCPA’s endowment. This generous gift is in addition to their prior gifts to date of more than $15 million.

“Anne and I hope to inspire others to think about giving in a way which supports and sustains The Granada Theatre and the Santa Barbara arts and cultural community for generations to come,” said Michael Towbes. “With this gift, we hope to underscore the importance of long-term focus for the SBCPA by building the organization’s endowment through planned gifts which will sustain it and its resident company partners far into the future.”

Michael Towbes is one of the SBCPA’s founding board members and was deeply involved in the historic restoration campaign for The Granada Theatre. He is currently a member of the SBCPA’s Executive Committee, Major Gifts Committee and Finance Committee. Michael is Chairman of The Towbes Group, Chairman of Montecito Bank & Trust and Chief Financial Officer of The Towbes Foundation. As a community leader and visionary philanthropist, in addition to his work with the SBCPA he has served on and chaired innumerable local nonprofit boards, including serving as president of the Santa Barbara Foundation, serving on the board of Cottage Hospital for 27 years, including five years as its chair, serving as president of the Montecito Union School and Laguna Blanca School boards, and as an original board member of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.

Anne Towbes has devoted a great deal of her time to helping nonprofits such as Cate School, Santa Barbara City College, Lobero Theatre, Granada Theatre, Girls Incorporated, the Unity Shoppe and the Rehabilitation Center. She is a former trustee of the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Hutton Foundation and on the board of KDB Radio. She continued the legacy of her late husband Bob Smith of KEYT TV supporting the community through the Children’s Miracle Network, the Mission for Mentors Telethon and the Unity Telethon.

She and Bob were named Community Heroes at the Santa Barbara Multiple Sclerosis Society Dinner of Champions. They were also given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Santa Barbara News-Press. Anne was honored with the Anti-Defamation League’s Community Service Award and was most recently named Santa Barbara’s Woman of the Year.

“Michael and Anne’s support of the performing arts in our community is legendary and a great example for us all,” said Sarah Chrisman, President of the Board of the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts. “We are blessed with their generosity.”

“We are honored and inspired by this gift from Anne and Michael Towbes to the Alhambra Society,” said Craig Springer, the SBCPA’s Chrisman Executive Director. “Over the years their contributions of personal and financial support have made it possible for The Granada Theatre to become a world class performing arts venue and for the SBCPA to evolve into a professional support organization for many of Santa Barbara’s performing arts organizations.”

A critical key to the SBCPA’s long-term sustainability is the theater’s Alhambra Society – named after the Spanish citadel above the city of Granada, Spain that protected the lives and livelihoods of the city’s residents –The Alhambra Society honors those contributors who help protect the SBCPA’s future life through a planned gift of $10,000 or more. Membership is reserved for supporters who communicate to the SBCPA their intention to make a contribution through a bequest, life insurance, retirement fund or gift of appreciated assets.

Aligned with the news of the Towbes’ Alhambra Society gift to the endowment, the SBCPA is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Santa Barbara Foundation to provide current and future supporters with best-in-class planned giving services and endowment performance. The SBCPA is committed to partnering with trusted local organizations like the Santa Barbara Foundation, which for more than eight decades has been a partner in philanthropy and a critical supporter of a wide range of Santa Barbara community organizations.

“We are honored that the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts has chosen the foundation to manage and steward their endowment funds,” said Ron Gallo, President & CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “When we bring our resources to bear in this way, we are strengthening and supporting the social sector – it is good for everyone.”

“The SBCPA’s Board of Directors and staff are working from the basis of a long-term commitment to building the SBCPA’s endowment and planned giving program,” commented Dr. Springer. “We are very pleased to join with the Santa Barbara Foundation in working to secure and sustain Santa Barbara’s vibrant performing arts community. We are confident that with the foundation’s assistance we are better able to ensure that all legacy gifts to the Alhambra Society can produce the greatest benefit for our town’s performers, presenters, producers and audiences.”

Through this partnership with the Santa Barbara Foundation, the SBCPA Alhambra Society can now provide customized giving options to meet each donor’s individual needs and interests. These options come with the backing of the Santa Barbara Foundation’s solid community reputation and leadership. The Foundation’s Investment Committee includes respected foundation trustees who bring significant experience and knowledge in finance and investments to their work with the Foundation. Their investment strategies employ a diversified portfolio of domestic equities, international equities, fixed income vehicles, and a broad array of alternative investments with a goal of robust growth that minimizes overall portfolio risk.

As The Granada Theatre celebrates the 90th anniversary of its historic venue, the SBCPA Board of Directors and staff remain grateful for the monumental support the organization has received over the years from all of Santa Barbara and its neighbors on the Central Coast. The SBCPA recognizes that it is only through the community’s generous financial support that the organization and The Granada Theatre will remain an enabling pillar of the Santa Barbara performing arts community for many years to come.

To learn more about how to support The Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts, please contact Kristi Newton, Director of Development, at or (805) 899-3000 x130 or visit


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