Earl Grey & Chardonnay Tea & Membership Meeting 2019

Cecilia Funds Hosted 127th Annual Tea and Membership Meeting

By Rochelle Rose, Noozhawk

The Cecilia Fund, Santa Barbara’s oldest philanthropic charity founded in 1892, hosted their 127th Annual Tea and Membership meeting on April 25 at the historic Santa Barbara Club. The Cecilia Fund helps fund critical healthcare for Santa Barbara County’s most vulnerable residents.
This year the 12-woman volunteer board decided to add wine to the traditional high tea menu, so the event was dubbed Earl Grey & Chardonnay. So along with traditional teas and sparkling waters, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon, plus generous hors d’oeuvres, were enjoyed by the100 attendees. Event co-chairs were Sallie Coughlin, Mary Ellen McCammon (right) and Barbara Howell (not pictured) .

The afternoon’s host and emcee was Ernesto Paredes, Executive Director of Easy Lift. Paredes said, “I grew up in Santa Barbara and am very familiar with the non-profits here. I think the Cecilia Fund and the Women’s Fund are the standards of the community. You know that your financial support is going for a great cause here.”

As part of the Annual Membership Tea, nominating committee members Julie Capritto and Mary Maxwell nominated the new board and returning board members, including Victoria Bessinger, Sallie Coughlin, Barbara Howell, Susan Johnson, La Shon Kelley, Sharon Kennedy, Stefanie Lopez, DDS, Mary Ellen McCammon, Nikki Rickard, Rochelle Rose, Betty Saks, Marion Schoneberger, Sigrid Toye, Evie Vesper and Allison Viramontes. Co-presidents Susan Johnson and Marion Schoneberger gave an update on 2018 accomplishments. Johnson said, “The number of clients served by The Cecilia Fund was over 100, and $150,000 was awarded for unmet medical and dental needs of low income residents of Santa Barbara County.”

Mary Solis (right), a social worker at Ridley-Tree Cancer Center and longtime partner with The Cecilia Fund, was honored for her decades of service to cancer patients and the community. Solis started at the Cancer Center in 1984 as a licensed clinical social worker.
Also speaking was Zane Stull (pictured with his Mom and Ernesto Paredes right), a remarkable local Dos Pueblos High School student, who shared his story and how the Cecilia Fund helped him. Stull has a rare hereditary disease causing blindness, and the Cecilia Fund helped him to acquire two expensive communication tools that dramatically changed his life. Zane said, “The Cecilia Fund really helped me because I needed an I-phone because it has programs that can help me do things with my limited vision. I want to thank everyone here, including my parents, who have helped me in this journey.”
Paredes noted that Zane remains very active by participating in the Dos Pueblos Jazz Band where he plays tenor saxophone and track and field. He also completed four years as a Quasar science intern at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. “The only track and field event that I had to quit was the high jump because I needed to see where I was landing.”

Major event sponsors included Clear Concepts, Diane Dodds and David Reichert, Easylift Transportation, Ridley-Tree Cancer Center, Home Instead Senior Care, Cottage Health Foundation, Tracie and John Doordan, Gracie Foundation, Miller Family Wine Company, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Sharon Kennedy Estate Management, Christopher Toomey, Kathleen Weber, Judy and George Writer, and others.

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