Man and Woman of the Year
updated: Oct 16, 2013, 3:00 PM
Source: The Santa Barbara Foundation
The Santa Barbara Foundation, Noozhawk, and KDB 93.7 FM classic radio honored two exceptional
individuals for their long-standing commitment to community volunteerism. On Tuesday, October 15 at
the 71st Annual Man & Woman of the Year Awards, a large crowd gathered to recognize Bill Cirone and
Anne Smith Towbes for the significant impact they have had throughout the community. Both recipients
have been active supporters of a variety of nonprofit organizations.
Selected from a diverse pool of more than 60 nominees, Bill and Anne join the ranks of Santa Barbara's
most dedicated civic leaders who have received this honor, awarded since 1942. Previous award winners
include Pearl Chase, Léni Fé Bland, Lotte Lehman, Eli Luria, and Thomas M. Storke, all of whom were
recognized for volunteer service and involvement to improve the Santa Barbara community.
Both recipients were genuinely surprised by the honor, which was kept a closely guarded secret until
being announced in front of hundreds of community supporters during a luncheon at the Four Seasons
Biltmore. The awards were presented by Santa Barbara Foundation President & CEO, Ron Gallo. "We are
fortunate to live in a place where the spirit of volunteerism is a hallmark of who we are," said Ron. "This
year's recipients of the Man and Woman of the Year Award, Anne Smith Towbes and Bill Cirone, have
time and again demonstrated their compassion, innovation, and willingness to go above and beyond to
touch the lives of individuals, families, and organizations. The sum of their passions, efforts, and
generosity is a better Santa Barbara…today and for years to come."
Bill Cirone: 2012 Man of the Year
Although Bill Cirone makes many professional contributions at the local, state, and national levels, he
nonetheless finds the time and energy to contribute to many local causes. He cares deeply about people
in our community, children specifically and the underserved in general, and is willing to serve both as a
leader and a worker bee. He is adept at identifying critical community needs and then devising
innovative means to fill the gaps.
Bill holds a bachelor's degree from Providence College, a master's degree from New York University, and
an administrative credential from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He began his professional
career as a teacher in Harlem, New York, where his innovative teaching won national recognition. He
subsequently worked at Mead Educational Services, where he began as director of product development
and was ultimately named director of marketing.
Bill is highly respected for his long record of leadership in education, business, and civic affairs. Elected
to his current position in 1982, he is in his eighth four-year term, having served 29 years, and is
currently the longest-serving county superintendent in California.
Bill has served as a consultant to the National Teacher Corps, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the
UCLA Graduate School of Education, and the Kettering Foundation, among many others. He serves on
dozens of boards, advisory committees, and commissions at the local, state, and national levels. In
1993, he was invited to participate in the White House National Summit on Children and Families. In
1997, he was invited by the president to the White House to participate with the president, vice
president, secretary of education, and California superintendent of public instruction in a dialogue on
national standards and testing.
Bill was a founding member of the Santa Barbara County First Five Commission in 1999, serving first as
a regular member and then as chair. In this position, he has been a leading voice in the community's
effort to build a system of support for early childhood development, family support, and kindergarten
readiness for all children. His leadership and vision has helped make Santa Barbara's First Five
Commission a model for California.
In 1989, Bill became one of the co-founders of the Santa Barbara Industry Education Council, which was
renamed Santa Barbara Partners in Education in 2000. It has since become the primary organization
connecting schools to local businesses and volunteers. He also was one of the key creators of
Computers for Families and ultimately co-chaired the fundraising effort that assured its success in
perpetuity - making Santa Barbara the first community in the United States where every fourth grade
student receives a computer in his or her home at no cost.
In 1998, Bill joined the board of the Santa Barbara Foundation where he played a pivotal role in
transferring the foundation's student scholarships to the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara and
selecting a new president and CEO. He was also an outspoken advocate for board diversity.
Bill was instrumental in affecting positive change in the area's alcohol and drug issues. During his
tenure as chair, Santa Barbara Fighting Back, a school-based mentoring program, received state and
national recognition. He also helped develop Summit High School, an alternative school, and the Daniel
Bryant Youth and Family Treatment Center, a program of the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
that provides safe, effective outpatient treatment for young people who struggle with alcohol and other
drug problems. Bill helped the Children's Creative Project (CCP) become a nonprofit in 1974. From its
beginning as a volunteer arts education initiative at Franklin Elementary School, CCP now serves more
than 50,000 students in 113 schools in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. Bill continues as an
active member of CCP.
Anne Smith Towbes: 2012 Woman of the Year
Anne Smith Towbes is a native of Detroit and graduate of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where
she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in English. She taught English and drama to students in
grades 4 through 12 for the first 20 years of her professional life. Since moving to Santa Barbara in
1991, Anne has been involved in a variety of arts, education, and humanitarian causes and is viewed as
a positive role model for women and girls. She has also devoted her time to raising money to help
young people deal with problems associated with alcoholism and drug abuse.
Anne has served on many local boards. She was president of the Parent Board of Cate School, served on
the board of Santa Barbara City College for five years, and was president of the Lobero Theatre Board
and is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Lobero Theatre Foundation. Anne served as a
trustee of the Santa Barbara Foundation and of the Hutton Parker Foundation and co-chaired the
Rehabilitation Institute's Campaign for Independence.
When Anne and her late husband, Bob Smith, were owners of KEYT-TV, she helped run successful
telethons in support of the Unity Shoppe, Cottage Hospital's Neonatal Care Center, and the Mentoring
Program for the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA). In 1999, the couple produced CADA's
first annual Mission for Mentors, which continues to this day. Anne continues to be an avid supporter of
this annual event, which recruits volunteer adults to serve as mentors to at-risk children in grades 4
through 8. More than 1,300 mentors have been recruited since the first event. Anne founded and
chaired the annual Gratitude Luncheon, which raises funds to sustain the mentor program and honor
the mentors. She served on the Women's Committee of the Amethyst Ball, CADA's annual major
fundraiser and was chair of the event in 2008. Anne also joined the Summit for Danny International
Climb to Bhutan, in which members faced considerable physical challenges to raise money for the
adolescent substance abuse treatment programs at the Daniel Bryant Youth & Family Center in Santa
Barbara, a program of CADA. The climb raised $276,000 last year.
Anne and her late husband, Bob Smith, were named community heroes by the Santa Barbara Multiple
Sclerosis Society in 2002. They were also given a Lifetime Achievement award by the Santa Barbara
News-Press in 2003. In 2008, Anne was a contributor to More Letters from the Heart, a sequel to Letters
from the Heart, published in 2001. Produced by Girls Inc., the book is a collection of inspirational letters
to girls from notable women.
Anne is currently on the board of Santa Barbara Revels, a nonprofit organization that presents
performances and participatory events involving a diverse group whose members span generations and
represent many different ethnicities. She has two children, Jennifer Smith Hale and Michael Smith, and is
married to philanthropist, business and community leader, Michael Towbes.
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