Holiday Party Honorees

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Lois Phillips PhD, Cindy Faith Swain, and Dr. Lynn K. Jones

Lois Phillips PhD, Cindy Faith Swain, and Dr. Lynn K. Jones. Photo by Kaylin Sigal of Kaylin Mae Photo

AWC-Santa Barbara started off A BRAND New Year at our annual holiday party on December 7, recognizing the Women’s Fund as the 2011 Nonprofit of the Year and naming Cindy Faith Swain, owner of PlanABrand, as Member of the Year.

Swain, whose company is a full-service branding, marketing and social media company, was honored for her contributions to advance the goals of AWC-SB and her leadership in the field of communications.

“I’m honored to accept this award,” said Swain who has more than 20 years of worldwide licensing and business development experience, including 12 years with Warner Bros.  She gave a short but informative talk on the benefits of branding your business, plus an entertaining look at some of the more successful brands out there. For more tips, visit her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter.

Women’s Fund member Judy Marline accepted the award for the nonprofit, remarking, “Not only does the Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara county respond to the community’s most urgent needs through substantial grants, but it also educates and inspires women to become leaders in philanthropy.” Women’s Fund members pool their own money and donate their time to make a difference through collective philanthropy.  With the support of the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Orfalea Foundations and the Roy and Ida Eagle Foundation, the Women’s Fund has awarded nearly $500,000 to 20 nonprofits over four years.

Chair of the Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County, Jennifer Mills gave a heartwarming reception speech. She shared how the driving force behind her giving was her mother. “Growing up, I don’t recall there being much discussion about charitable giving or philanthropy. Instead what I heard was being neighborly, thinking about others,

Karen O’Hara and Jennifer Mills

Karen O’Hara and Jennifer Mills. Photo by Kaylin Sigal of Kaylin Mae Photo

lending a hand and giving of oneself. Those are the words I heard, and more importantly, I was shown from an early age what those phrases meant, and my participation was expected.”

Mills’ mother would visit an elderly neighbor who had no relatives nearby, she took in a troubled youth, and reached out to single parents who were recently divorced. She said the Women’s Fund tries to extend the same compassion to women, children and their families. “I heard how (fellow members) were sharing in the creation of their dream to respond thoughtfully to the most critical needs in our community in a powerful and relevant manner,” Mills said. “It was inspiring.”

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