Cuyama Valley Resilience

Cuyama Valley Resilience
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This past Summer, Blue Sky Center, a community nonprofit based in
the Cuyama Valley in Santa Barbara County, onboarded five new board members: Kelly Schmandt Ferguson (Chief
of Staff at Automotus), Dr. Bill Kelley Jr. (Writer, Curator, and Educator for California State Bakersfield), Coty
Hastie (Acquisitions and Development for Autocamp), Jairo Medina (Field Manager for Duncan Family Farms), and
Jesse Sugarmann (Artist and Educator for California State Bakersfield). We are thrilled to have these sparks of
enthusiasm and expertise supporting economic development efforts in our rural regions of Santa Barbara County!
The Blue Sky Center board of directors is committed to cultivating spaces for Cuyama Valley leaders and doers,
celebrating the abundance of the Cuyama Valley, and sharing resources, time, and innovative ideas. Blue Sky Center,
based in New Cuyama, is a facility designed to inspire creativity, cultivation of small manufacturing enterprises, and
fostering investment that contributes to a thriving regional economy and celebrates the Cuyama Valley culture. Since
2014, Blue Sky Center has committed $3,165,315.48 to food, arts, and technical assistance programming, as well as
successfully repurposing once Atlantic Richfield Oil headquarters, to a fully functioning business incubator and
community center.
“From my perspective, Blue Sky is at the tipping point towards creating sustainable economic growth in Cuyama
Valley - this is exciting! The staff and Board bring innovative, passionate and thoughtful ideas to every meeting that
are complemented by a commitment to the work, team accountability, and social impact mindset. Our programs are
driven by community needs and fostered through the community’s voice, creating a unique perspective for the
organization. Our decision-making process is solution-driven, listening to and giving value to the voices of everyone
in the organization. We utilize Sociocracy, a dynamic governance model for leadership and project management, that
many successful social impact ventures have found effective towards developing equity, value, and community
within the organization.” - Current Board President, David Andrés Kietzman (Partner with Momentum Solutions
Team)
Blue Sky Center is a rural, place-based nonprofit organization with a mission to strengthen our rural communities
within the Cuyama Valley by supporting entrepreneurs and building our regional creative and economic resources.

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