Community leaders gathered last week virtually for the 2021 Downtown Santa Barbara’s annual awards ceremony.
The event honors noteworthy recipients in various categories for their contributions to the organization’s mission: to champion Santa Barbara’s downtown district and the businesses therein, according to a news release.
The Santa Barbara Foundation received the Citizen of the Year award in recognition of its work in providing financial relief through grants to individuals, nonprofit organizations and other businesses in need.
“We’re a community foundation and our job is to harness collective wisdom but also to mobilize philanthropic capital and that’s what we did by partnering with so many people in the community, so all of the honor today really goes out to the many many people that we work with on a daily basis,” shared Jackie Carrera, CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “It goes to our donors and it goes to all of the leaders in the business community and the non-profits who are doing that work every day.”
The Santa Barbara AIA Design Charette received the George Gerth Volunteer of the Year Award for its work mobilizing the minds and creativity of more than 200 design professionals and 16 teams to reimagine and re-envision the downtown area.
The Economic Development Collaborative was awarded the Business Champion of the Year, as the organization fielded hundreds of calls daily supporting businesses to navigate the challenges of the pandemic, apply for grants and loans and organized business task forces and resources biweekly to connect and distribute resources to local partners.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Brandon Ristaino and Misty Orman of Good Lion Hospitality. Mr. Ristaino and Ms. Orman own hospitality businesses and bars in the downtown area, including Good Lion Cocktail Bar, Test Pilot, Shaker Mill and the newly opened Venus in Furs.
“We feel incredibly honored, excited and stoked,” shared Mr. Ristaino. “After the dumpster fire of 2020, this award couldn’t be any sweeter. It was the most challenging year in our professional life by far and we couldn’t be more excited.”
The Harriet Miller Youth Leadership Award was presented to Dorienne Larbig, of San Marcos High School, in recognition of her leadership and community service. She logged more than 590 hours of community services and has maintained an above ‘A’ grade point average. The young leader used her love of the ocean to create a campaign called Mylar Mistake to educate the community on the hazardous impacts of Mylar balloon plastic pollution on the environment.
Now-former Santa Barbara Police Chief Lori Luhnow received recognition for her years of service.
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Luhnow said she was “glad that this year has proven the theory that public safety is a shared responsibility” and that many of the recent collaborations highlight what is needed to keep the community safe and resilient for future success.
The 2021 awards ceremony was presented by Southern California Edison.