United Way Santa Barbara County Celebrates Major Gift at Heritage Club Luncheon

By Giving List Staff   |   July 21, 2023

Mike and Betty Noling gave $500,000 to support the United Learning Center tutoring program  

United Way of Santa Barbara County celebrated a substantial donation to the organization’s United Learning Center (ULC) tutoring program at its 35th Heritage Club Luncheon on July 13. 

United Way staff kicked off the celebration by joining community members and students from the Franklin Elementary School ULC to unveil a decorative rock and plaque installed on school grounds to recognize the $500,000 donation from Mike and Betty Noling, which will be used to support the tutoring program for local K-6 students. 

Following the unveiling at the school, the generous donation was celebrated at the annual Heritage Club Luncheon at La Cumbre Country Club. Mike and Betty Noling were the honorees at the event, which was sponsored by Kayne Anderson Rudnick Wealth Advisors.

The Heritage Club is comprised of community members who have made long-term contributions to United Way through planned giving. These gifts sustain community programs like the Fun in the Sun summer learning program and the ULC tutoring program each year. The group was launched in 1982 as one of the first United Way planned giving societies in the country and has since grown to nearly 100 local members, including the Noling family.

Half of the Nolings’ gift will go to United Way’s Children’s Services Endowment Fund to support the ULC program in perpetuity. The remaining half will sustain the entire current program, which operates at three sites and serves up to 75 students per year, through 2025.

The ULC tutoring program provides students with individualized access to trained tutors who assess each pupil before creating a customized learning plan. Tutors instruct and coach students while monitoring their academic progress. Learning center tutors are trained in the Orton-Gillingham method of literacy instruction, which supports students with a variety of learning differences including dyslexia. 

Research shows that on average, program participants improved two reading grade levels after participation in the 12-week program, which is a testament to the power of the data-driven academic remediation strategies utilized at the centers. Students also improved in phonological awareness, word decoding and sight word mastery.

“The Nolings’ generous gift means that students will continue to receive this vital academic support. This donation will continue to pay dividends in the lives of students for years to come,” said Steve Ortiz, president and CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County. For more information, visit unitedwaysb.org.

About United Way of Santa Barbara County — Since 1923, United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has been a key leader in local efforts to empower children, families, and communities through its own unique collaborative programs and initiatives, partnership convening efforts, volunteer development, and funding. UWSBC’s mission is to enrich the lives of children and families and build resilient communities by leading local programs and partnerships that improve school readiness and academic achievement, financial empowerment, and crisis response and recovery. To learn more, please visit unitedwaysb.org.


United Way of Santa Barbara County

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(805) 965-8591
President & CEO: Steve Ortiz


Our mission is to enrich the lives of children and families and build resilient communities by leading local programs and partnerships that improve school readiness and academic achievement, financial empowerment, and crisis response and recovery.

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Decades of Support

What I appreciate most about United Way’s approach to programming and outreach is that there is an organizational insistence on engaging the whole community. What that means for me personally is that United Way makes it fun and easy to support Fun in the Sun as it encourages more direct donor involvement with the program. This gives me a hands-on and close-up view of the work being done to support both our public schools and students. United Way makes it easy for donors to access all the programs and it involves members of our community at all levels in contributing, volunteering, and active learning about how we can collectively make our wonderful city and county an even better place for all.
David Jackson
Zegar Family Foundation

The Next 100 Years

In addition to its celebration of the 100-year anniversary alongside the volunteers, staff, partners, and supporters who have made the milestone possible, United Way of Santa Barbara County is also undertaking its first endowment campaign since 1982. 

“Our success in launching new programming and establishing new projects and partnerships are a benefit of that campaign 40 years ago,” President & CEO Steve Ortiz says. “With an evolving community, we need to prioritize maintaining UWSBC’s responsive and innovative programmatic infrastructure to adapt to changing needs. Endowment gifts or special anniversary donations will help UWSBC to stay strong for the next 100 years and sustain our impact on behalf of individuals, children, and families countywide.”

UWSBC Board of Directors

Cliff Lundberg, Chair
Vice President Emeritus, Westmont College
Diane B Doiron, CLU, Vice Chair
Owner, Doiron Financial Associates
Susan Hersberger, Vice Chair
Retired Public Relations Executive
Leo Hamill, Treasurer
Senior Vice President/Regional Manager, City National Bank
Steve Ortiz, Secretary
President & CEO, United Way of Santa Barbara County
Rick Scott, Immediate Past Board Chair
Nonprofit Executive
Tim Armour
Retired Executive
Sue Birch
Retired Educator
Lance Connor
Reliable Engineering Services
David Flattery
Vice President of Business Development, DuPont Displays
Robert Hollman
Commercial Real Estate Developer & Owner
Alex Koper
President & CEO, MoXi, Global Mortgage Group
Shari Liu Fellows
Co-Founder/Principal, The Grayson Agency
Terri Maus-Nisich
Assistant CEO, County of Santa Barbara
Art Merovick
Retired Executive
Kevin Nelson
Director of Corporate Compliance, Cottage Health
Patrice Ryan
Retired Executive