Social Sector Leaders

Meet the corporations and other organizations that have baked social responsibility into their missions and visions.

The Female Lead: Montecito Bank & Trust

Michael Towbes, who founded Montecito Bank & Trust (MB&T) in 1975, struck a different tone than most bankers when he proclaimed that, “banking is not about the MONEY, it’s about the PEOPLE.” This sentiment is echoed in terms of the bank’s philanthropy, which amounted to $1.6 million donated to local nonprofits in 2021.  And that’s not a one-time event; MB&T has contributed at least $1 million to local nonprofits every year since 2003 through numerous programs including its Community Dividends Program, which donates funds based on four “pillars” of corporate giving: arts and culture, health and medical, social services, and [...more...]

Stepping up Then and Now: Santa Barbara Foundation

With nearly a century of experience serving the Central Coast, the Santa Barbara Foundation (SBF) has always been there when our community needed it most. From world wars, the Great Depression, droughts, fires, and through the pandemic, SBF has remained flexible and constant in its work to care for Santa Barbara County.  In the spring of 2020, when schools, businesses, governments, and nonprofits were struggling to respond to a new kind of virus, the Foundation moved quickly, in partnership with other funders, to offer emergency grants to local organizations whose income stream – perhaps even their existence – was on [...more...]

CSUN Shines on the Central Coast

George Leis has been a prominent business and civic leader in Santa Barbara for decades. But he readily admits he left at least a piece of his heart in San Fernando. The Valley, that is. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t gotten an amazing education at Northridge,” the president and chief operating officer of Montecito Bank & Trust says, referring to California State University, Northridge. It is called Matador pride, a passionate sense of gratitude for the educational grounding and life lessons that has made CSUN a defining experience, particularly for students who, like Leis, [...more...]

A Career of Giving

Deb Langford:Head of Black Wealth Initiatives,J.P. Morgan Private Bank Deb Langford was mindful of the impact of giving long before taking up her role as Head of Black Wealth Initiatives at J.P. Morgan. In her current function, Langford guides affluent members of the Black community in the growth and preservation of their wealth, and in leaving generational legacies. Following a career of driving results, excellence, and inclusion in media and entertainment, Langford pivoted to deliver enterprise-level outcomes in diversity initiatives.  Most recently, Langford was named a 2022 NAACP Changemaker Award honoree. Now that she has made her foray into the [...more...]

Financial Security and Community Support

Ayla Kalani: Westlake Village and Santa Barbara Market Team Lead,J.P. Morgan Private Bank When Ayla Kalani joined J.P. Morgan Private Bank 10 years ago, the bank had high-net-worth clients throughout Southern California but only two offices to serve them. Today, the Private Bank recently expanded its presence to Santa Barbara, and no outpost is growing faster than the one on State Street. As other companies retrenched during the COVID-19 pandemic, J.P. Morgan set up shop in new locations.  “Two years ago, we decided it was the right time to get closer to this community, to really understand what’s keeping people [...more...]

The Behavioral Science Behind Charitable Giving

Jeff Kreisler: Head of Behavioral Science, J.P. Morgan Private BankJamie Hackleman: Family Governance and Senior Philanthropy Advisor, J.P. Morgan Private Bank With 16 people on four continents, the J.P. Morgan Philanthropy Centre team has deep and diverse expertise from the nonprofit world, business, government, and even the field of behavioral science. “My purpose is to help both clients and advisors understand how emotion and psychology impact decision making so that ultimately our clients can make better decisions to reach their goals,” says Jeff Kreisler, the Private Bank’s head of behavioral science, who works on both investment and philanthropy strategies. A [...more...]

A Donor-Advised Fund in Action

Eva RhodesBanker for J.P. Morgan Private Bank, Santa Barbara A Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) can be a great strategy for charitable giving as it provides an easy, cost-effective way to give. One client who had been using a DAF had a $200mm liquidity event and engaged our team to not only work on the asset allocation, but to also discuss their philanthropic vision and desire to create high-impact programs. We immediately brought in a regional specialist from our Philanthropy Centre and set up an in-person meeting to discuss.  The family shared that they aspired to be more creative and independent in [...more...]

Santa Barbara Foundation Leads Our Philanthropic Community Through Thick and Thin Santa Barbara Foundation

There are an estimated 1,900 nonprofit organizations in Santa Barbara County, each dedicated to helping the community in some way. […more…]

Montecito Bank & Trust: A Bank that Embodies the Community Spirit Montecito Bank & Trust

Banks don’t usually spring to mind when one writes about beacons of community trust, good deeds, and hope. But even […more…]

A Commitment to the Central Coast KCRW

Santa Barbara is a proud community with an independent identity, and residents chafe at any hint that they live in […more…]

A Historic Mainstay, El Encanto’s Unbreakable Bond with Community Grows El Encanto

After 103 years, El Encanto Hotel, a Belmond Hotel is well-known for its majestic and breathtaking views of the South […more…]