Santa Barbara Education Foundation Raises $130,000 to Support Local Students at Hope Awards

By the Santa Barbara Education Foundation

On Thursday, April 25, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation hosted the Hope Awards to celebrate individuals and programs supporting students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

The event raised over $130,000 in funding for SBEF, enabling the foundation to continue its vital work to enhance student outcomes. A significant portion of the proceeds, over $64,000, will support Teacher Grants, providing essential resources for creative, project-based learning and innovative teaching in the district.

Additionally, SBEF Programs Manager Katie Szopa announced the creation of the Margie Yahyavi Grant for Excellence in Music Education, honoring the memory of the organization’s former executive director, who passed away earlier this year.

The event featured captivating performances by guitarist and SB Unified alum Tony Ybarra, jazz pianist Lucien Dempsey, a ninth-grade student at Santa Barbara High School, and Santa Barbara High School Folklorico. Culinary arts students from Santa Barbara, San Marcos, and Dos Pueblos high schools served guests salads, savory treats, and desserts.

The event honored the work of former Santa Barbara City College Foundation CEO Geoff Green and radio station 99.9 KTYD for their outstanding contributions to local students.

Since 1973, 99.9 KTYD has been Santa Barbara’s beloved radio station, known for playing quality rock. Through its partnership with SBEF for the Keep The Beat Instrument Drive, it has raised $100,000 for music education and collected over 500 instruments for young musicians in the past six years.

Lin Aubuchon and Bill Pesso, hosts of the Morning Mojo, accepted the award on the station’s behalf and expressed their gratitude to sponsors, community partners, and their listeners, known as the “KTYD Tribe,” who continue to support local music students year after year.

With over 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Geoff Green has been a steadfast advocate for education and community development. As former CEO of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, he led initiatives such as the SBCC Promise, which provides free college to local high school graduates. In his acceptance speech, Green emphasized the profound impact of education, saying, “There really is no better investment.”

Coming from a family of educators, Green learned about the importance of education early on before his role with the Santa Barbara City College Foundation. Green shared, “The work I’ve always tried to stand for in this community is at the nexus between the public education system, and our nonprofit sector and philanthropy.”

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation wishes to extend its appreciation to the Hope Awards sponsors, including  Pillar Sponsor SAGE Publishing; Visionary Sponsors Griffith and Thornburgh; Ambassador Sponsors Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, Chevron,  KBZ Architects, M.F. Strange & Associates, RSH Construction, and Santa Barbara Historical Museum; Champion Sponsors Antioch University, Cottage Health Systems, Dennis Thompson Architect, Fielding Graduate University, Hohbach-Lewin, Huckabee, Montecito Bank & Trust, Montecito Journal, and Santa Barbara City College Foundation.

Founded in 1985, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation promotes private support of Santa Barbara’s public education system, serving over 12,500 students in 21 schools. For more information, visit

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