On the Monday before Thanksgiving, Montecito Bank & Trust (MB&T) hosted its Community Dividends Awards Luncheon where it awarded $1 million to 203 nonprofits in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The event began with a reception in the warm sunshine at water’s edge on La Pacifica Ballroom’s terrace at the Biltmore Coral Casino. The warmth, however, went beyond the weather. There was a genuine, palpable sense of a caring community here where bank employees casually mingled with community nonprofit leaders. Over the past 14 years, MB&T has given away $14 million in Community Dividends awards. This year, a record 351 applications were received and a record 203 awards granted to nonprofits in the arts, health-care, education and social-services fields. Grants typically range from $1,000 to $10,000.
After a gourmet, three-course Thanksgiving-inspired meal, MB&T owner and chair Michael Towbes shared that the bank makes these awards because of the ”invaluable role that all of the nonprofits play in enhancing the quality of life for all segments of society,” and “to encourage other organizations to follow, to encourage our employees to volunteer and support these worthy organizations, and most importantly, we do it because we think it is the right thing to do.”
Together with the Anniversary Grants Program and other forms of support, MB&T donates more than $1.3 million annually. Towbes touched on some of the other ways MB&T gives back to the community, including teaching financial literacy in schools and providing workshops to educate seniors and their families on how to avoid falling victim to financial scams. In addition, MB&T employees volunteer more than 2,200 hours annually, serving local nonprofits. Bank President and CEO Janet Garufis eloquently thanked Towbes for his “seemingly boundless generosity and his capacity to care so much for so many.” Santa Barbara is one lucky town.
MB&T has more than $1.3 billion in assets and 10 offices. It is the market leader in Santa Barbara for small business loans of $1 million or less and a major provider of loans for low and moderate-income housing.
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