A private school in downtown Santa Barbara, the Anacapa School, was about to close in early August for a lack of funds when a donor gave $1 million in cash, the school announced on August 17. The unexpected gift from a well-known but anonymous philanthropist, said Headmaster Gordon Sichi, gives them the ability to commence the school year and also start planning for a succession.
Begun as a high school in 1981 by Dr. Robert Everhart, a UCSB education professor, and Sichi, a Goleta School District teacher, Anacapa added grades seven and eight in 1990. Sichi said the school was underwater by the end of last term, and he and his wife, Suzie Sichi, who is head of faculty, “couldn’t prudently take families and students through next year. Seniors wouldn’t graduate.” They began closing things out in order to meet all their financial obligations, he said, when their angel enabled what Sichi termed a “rebirth.”
Though the money allows the school to begin the fall term, Sichi’s goal is to double the gift through a capital campaign. After 36 years at the helm, he is planning to retire and wants to leave Anacapa with the financial security that will attract a “young, energetic headmaster” to take the school into the future.