Angela Miller-Bevan has been training since July for her new role as executive director of Unity Shoppe.
She’s been working on site with Tom Reed, who is retiring at the end of this year as executive director.
“I grew up in Santa Barbara, and I have known about Unity Shoppe my whole life,” Ms. Miller-Bevan told the News-Press. “My mom was a single mom, and we were low income.”
Ms. Miller-Bevan knows the difference Unity Shoppe has made in the lives of many individuals and families and is looking forward to her new position as the leader of the unique Santa Barbara nonprofit.
“Having this opportunity is amazing,” she said. “It feels like coming full circle, and it is the highlight of my career.
“I have been involved with philanthropy my whole life, and I love what Unity Shoppe does. I was on a telethon last year as a donor,” Ms. Miller-Bevan said. “I have known Tom for the last 20 years since he has been with Unity Shoppe.”
Ms. Miller-Bevan discussed her career and how it prepared her for Unity Shoppe.
“I have donated my time and have been on boards and involved in the community for many years. I worked for Fairview Gardens (one of oldest organic farms in California and based in Goleta), the American Heart Association and the Braille Institute before being recruited to the Unity Shoppe Board of Directors in February.”
“I have worked for different organizations and have experience with organizations in Santa Barbara,” Ms. Miller-Bevan added. “I was on the board of directors for Old Spanish Days, and I am currently in my 22nd year on the board of directors with the Carriage and Western Museum.
“I’ve done so many events for nonprofit organizations. I have a lot of experience with staff and working with volunteers. Everything I have done in past positions has led me to this.”
“My goal is to help this organization be here for the next 100 years. It is time to bring it into today and make sure we can serve low-income families in the future.”
Ms. Miller-Bevan said her goals include adding service for North County. “I have secured a grant to help us move into Lompoc and have a pop-up where we can work with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and other organizations.
“After Lompoc, we will hopefully move into Santa Maria. The organizations involved value our service to the North County,” said Ms. Miller Bevan.
She added that Unity Shoppe is always looking for donations and volunteers and that it’s a great way for kids to get volunteer hours.
The News-Press asked Ms. Miller Bevan about the transition of training with Mr. Reed over the last six months.
“It’s been a great transition because we have known each other for so long,” she said. “It has been fun for us. Most donors and foundations I have been familiar with, and he introduces me to those I don’t know. He’s a great mentor and has been very gracious. It will be sad when he is gone next week. I’ve grown to enjoy working with him. I always learn something new from him.
“He’s a storyteller. There’s so much passion in his storytelling. He’s always ready to give a tour,” she said. “This place is pretty magical. I think of him like Santa Claus. He’s super passionate and it’s real. He has his heart and soul in this, and he will be very missed.”