Girls Do Lunch for a Cause, at Bella Vista

The 22nd Annual Scholarship Luncheon, given each year by the One Hundred Committee to help Girls Inc.orporated of Greater Santa Barbara, was held at Bella Vista, Pat Nesbitt’s sprawling, 20-acre estate that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands. Pat and I became acquainted when I lived at the Polo Fields and he played polo. Now he has his own private field and one of the most humongous horse stables I’ve ever seen. His home was modeled after Thomas Jefferson’s estate, Monticello.

I drove up the long, winding drive past a large pond. Ursula Krebs and Pat hosted the reception for the guest speaker, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett, in the main house prior to the general reception on the polo field. I couldn’t help but feel grand in this opulent place.

While sipping champagne on the balcony, I overlooked an Olympic-length infinity pool. At the far end of the polo field was an enormous tent that had been erected near the stables for 500 ladies “who do lunch,” but for a cause. Scarlett was Perry Harcourt’s and Janet Sandwall’s college roommate at UCSB.

“We were always jealous of how intelligent Lynn was,” Harcourt joked.

After ladies had their photos taken with Scarlett, golf carts were on hand to drive us to the tent. Outside, there were vendors who had done exquisite displays in the cornflower blue and white theme. Inside, the tables were spring fresh with daisies in chinoiserie blue and white bowls.

“Co-chairs Nancy Barry and Lisa Loiacono went over the top this year,” said President of the Board of Directors Sheila Zimmerman.

Decoration co-chairs Sandi Nicholson and Rhonda Sheakley told me, “Our blue and white inspiration came from a book by decorator Carolyne Roehm.” Adding to the décor were six-foot-tall models decked out in heels, hose and men’s white shirts loaded with Boucheron jewelry. One of the supporting Godfathers quipped, “Never mind the jewelry. I’ll take the legs.” Some of us women wouldn’t have minded trading legs either.

It’s always a treat to have Hall of Fame songwriter Jeff Barry lead the Girls Inc. chorus, especially in the song he wrote for them titled from their motto, “Strong, Smart and Bold.” It is now the national theme song for Girls Inc..

“We sing in the key of E for ecology,” says Barry.

Regarding ecology, Scarlett’s job has her oversee 500 million acres in the United States, Inc.luding all national parks and wildlife reserves. She spoke of her experiences as deputy secretary.

Girls Inc. Executive Director Monica Spear said the One Hundred Committee was formed in 1985 and has grown from 100 women giving $100 to being a major funding source for the 70% of the girls attending after-school programs on scholarship.

The next big goal is to get the new Girls Inc.. building on Hollister finished. Only $1 million more is needed, with more than 100 girls still on the waiting list.

For more info call Alexandra Halsey, associate development director, at 963-4757.

Save a Seat for Mom

Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care has honored Mothers and their Day for six years, most recently at a recent luncheon held at the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel.

The silent auction went on in the patio in spite of the wind making white caps on the ocean. People sipped wine and bid on dozens of items, Inc.luding a trip to Lake Louise, a shopping spree in New York or a cruise around the Santa Barbara coastline. The dinner bell rang several times to no avail and then it clanged to finally get the group to go inside the Loggia Room for lunch and the program.

Larry Crandell and Debby Davison were recognized and given trophies as the “Caring Emcees” for the first five years. This year’s master of ceremonies, Erin Graffy, had us all laughing the entire time.

“How is MarBorg like your Mother?” Graffy began. “They’ve both been picking up after you all your life!”

Honorary chairs Jack and Julie Nadel couldn’t be there but sent a heartfelt telegram. Co-chairs Robbin Behrens and Linda Melchiori, along with their committee, had everything super organized. Previously, Julianna Friedman and Tom Dain had opened their home for a reception for “Men for Moms.” Neil Levinson and Peter and Judy Murphy hosted this most successful event. One hundred percent of the Mother’s Day Luncheon was underwritten by 34 men and one anonymous donor.

President and CEO Eileen Bunning told the audience that Visiting Nurse has been around in Santa Barbara for 99 years. The organization made 49,000 home visits last year. Pat Snyder is the executive director and new bride Julie Jacobs is CFO.

Special honorees were Alan Porter, who remembered his mother, Georgiana (1914-2002), and Jill Levinson and David Frank, who honored their mom, Irma Jurkowitz.

Alan asked the question, “Is there anything we take more for granted than our mother’s love?” He remembered how frugal his mom was. “When she died I took the rubber bands off the gear shift,” he recounted. “She would say that you never knew when you might need one.” Jill and David made a family movie with photos and messages from themselves, in-laws and grandkids. “Your best friends are always your siblings,” Irma would tell them later.

When Irma came up to the podium to receive her Mother of the Year Award, she responded with, “This is so embarrassing!” and then, “God is very busy. That’s why he created mothers.” Later, when called upon for pledges, Irma’s husband, Morrie, donated $10,000 followed by many more pledges of $5,000 and $1,000.

The donations recalled Visiting Nurse’s early days, when people gave horses instead of money. At the time, it was much-needed transportation.

For information regarding Visiting Nurse Hospice Care services, call 963-6794.