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  • CommUnify's 2022 Champions Dinner & Awards Recap

    CountyWide Nonprofit's Successful Event Exceeds Fundraising Goal to Support Programs for Families & Youth

    After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, CommUnify (formerly known as Community Action Commission, or CAC) held the highly anticipated Champions Dinner & Awards on Thursday, June 9 at The River Grill, at Alisal Ranch in Solvang. The sold-out event hosted 182 guests including many community leaders, business owners, and nonprofit directors. Geoff Green, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation served as the night’s humorous and lively Master of Ceremonies, and the high-energy auction was led by Jim Glines and his bid-spotting team, backed up by staff from the Community Bank of Santa Maria.

    The Champions Dinner was supported by thirty-six corporate and hospitality sponsors from across Santa Barbara County and raised
    $171, 787.69 to increase the funding for nine programs in CommUnify’s Family & Youth Services division. “We are so grateful for the generosity and continued support from our community,” said CommUnify CEO, Patricia Keelean. “These greatly needed funds will help CommUnify to expand our programs to serve the youth of Santa Barbara County and provide them with additional support services including case management, behavioral health, life skills, and educational activities, helping these vulnerable adolescents to find a path to success and a brighter and more stable future.” As the event’s lead sponsor, CenCal Health will provide an additional $100,000 in grant funds as their matching challenge was met.

    The 2022 Champions honored during the evening were the
    Santa Barbara Foundation, Robert Freeman, former CEO of CenCal Health and CommUnify’s Board President for eight years, and Eric and Kelly Onnen, longtime community volunteers and co-owners of Santa Barbara Airbus. The dinner also recognized our 2020 Champions, The Towbes Group, Rona Barrett, and Jim Glines.

    For a complete description of CommUnify’s programs and services please visit
    www.CommUnifySB.org. A shot list with a selection of images from the event including captions is attached for your review. Please contact Joni Kelly at CommUnify at 805-964-8857 ext. #1109 or via email jkelly@CommUnifySB.org for more information about CommUnify’s 2022 Champions Dinner & Awards, to request high resolution images, or to arrange interviews with CEO Patricia Keelean or the honorees.