Director of Local Children’s Advocacy Organization Wins Prestigious National Award

By Giving List Staff   |   June 30, 2023

Kim Colby Davis, director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County, one of 900 local programs that work with children who have experienced abuse or neglect, has been named the Kappa Alpha Theta Program Director of the Year by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children. 

The National CASA/GAL Association’s Kappa Alpha Theta Program Director of the Year Award was created to recognize the exceptional work CASA/GAL program directors do every day. The award is given yearly at the National CASA/GAL Conference as a part of the Awards of Excellence celebration.

Colby Davis’s outstanding leadership has elevated the Santa Barbara County CASA program to be the go-to agency supporting child victims of abuse and neglect. Her strategic planning expertise and innovative program development have resulted in remarkable achievements. Under her leadership, the CASA Program experienced 340% growth, expanding its reach from serving 125 children to supporting more than 500 children annually.

Colby Davis’s innovation – particularly around program growth and volunteer retention – has inspired the board of directors and the CASA staff to boldly move forward in finding new ways to serve their community’s most vulnerable children. In addition to growth in children served Colby Davis has expanded the program’s reach to be truly county-wide by adding regional offices to better serve the children, cultivate a presence throughout the county, and offer more convenient and effective options for volunteers to have the support they need.

In the last five years, CASA of Santa Barbara County has been chosen as the “Best Place to Volunteer”, “Best Place to Work”, “Nonprofit of the Year”, “Best Social Media Presence” and was recognized by the local Chamber of Commerce Chairman as an outstanding organization.

Colby Davis has been a strong leader and integral partner on the national level as she has served as the chair of National CASA/GAL’s Suburban Leadership Council and as a member of the National Leadership Council, where she served as the liaison to the National CASA/GAL Board of Trustees.

During the nomination process, the Honorable Gustavo Lavayen, Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court, described Colby Davis’s qualifications to receive this highly-competitive award: “She has an innate talent for bringing people together, and her organizational skills and immense talents have created a CASA program that is a tremendous help to me and all those involved in the court process, and especially the children served by CASA.”

Also on her nominating committee was Carol Lee Hubner, current Santa Barbara County Commissioner, and former attorney for dependent youth. She offered her recommendation by saying, “Kim embodies everything that a CASA program director should be. Kim is a creative problem-solver who is always up for a challenge. She is a straight shooter and a go-getter. Under her direction, Santa Barbara County has become a community go-to for child advocacy.”

The CASA of Santa Barbara County Board of Directors President, Heather Ames, also shared that “Because of the agency Kim has built, CASA volunteers are welcomed by an experienced team, and expertly guided in their service to youth – from start to finish. The reputation of being the “Best Place to Volunteer” is what builds CASA of Santa Barbara County’s positive presence in the community.

Colby Davis could not travel to accept the award for Program Director of the Year in person, as she had emergency brain surgery just two weeks before the Awards of Excellence Ceremony, and is recovering well – in fact, she has already returned to work. This 19th surgery came as a bit of a surprise and a shock but having endured 18 previous surgeries to treat a rare illness, she is quite used to the process. After a full life and career in the financial planning field, Colby Davis was met with this life-altering medical condition. From that moment on, she vowed to live her life in service to children. Her personal story is one of resilience and passion, as she has made a long-lasting, and tangible impact on the lives of vulnerable children through her work with CASA.

“Beneath her advanced leadership skills is her most valuable tool – an unwavering passion for the safety and well-being of children. The award of Program Director of the Year, a national and prestigious award, is a well-deserved acknowledgment of her talent and legacy,” shared Kira Cosio, Associate Director of Donor Engagement at CASA of Santa Barbara County who represented Colby Davis at the awards ceremony in St. Louis. 

“The growth of our CASA program and this award would not be possible without the wonderful staff, board of directors, volunteers, and community supporting us,” shared Kim Colby Davis. “The work we do at CASA is not easy, but it is so vital. I am proud to be a part of the village that takes care of our community’s most vulnerable children.”

To learn more about CASA, inquire about volunteering, or support this local nonprofit, please visit or reach out at 805-739-9102. 

About CASA of Santa Barbara County

CASA of Santa Barbara County is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to assure a safe, permanent, nurturing home for all abused and/or neglected children by providing a highly trained volunteer to advocate for them in the court system. CASA is actively recruiting additional volunteers, inquire at


Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County

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(805) 357-2595
Associate Director of Donor Engagement: Kira Cosio


The mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County is to assure a safe, permanent, nurturing home for all abused and/or neglected children by providing a highly trained volunteer to advocate for them in the court system.

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I am a direct product of the generosity of CASA donors. Because of you, I had moments of stability, normalcy and pure childlike happiness. On behalf of the children who benefit from having a CASA volunteer in their lives, thank you. I know that it is a choice to support CASA, with so many other worthy organizations, you chose CASA.
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