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December 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Extraordinary local couple honored at Pops

Community raises $11,000 in honor of Frank and Lois Martinez for music education programs

From left to right: Barbara Martinez, Frank Martinez and Gil Stork at Pops by the Sea.

Two longtime San Luis Obispo Symphony (SLO Symphony) supporters were honored in an inspiring display of community support at Pops by the Sea on Labor Day Weekend.

Every year one lucky bidder has the opportunity to win the auction for the coveted Maestro’s Baton and to lead the orchestra in a rousing rendition of John Phillip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. Often a group gets together to honor a friend, co-worker or family member. All proceeds from the auction benefit the Symphony’s music education programs. This year, a dedicated group of friends and family conspired to raise $11,000 to win the baton auction in honor of Frank and Lois Martinez.

The Martinezes are renowned for their unwavering support of the arts and the local music community, and were instrumental in SLO Symphony’s early successes. Dr. Frank Martinez served as President of Cuesta College for 25 years and assisted in acquiring concert and rehearsal space for the Symphony in the early 1960’s when Dr. Earle Blakeslee was Music Director. He insisted that Cuesta College be the Symphony’s first real home – a welcoming place where the orchestra could practice, perform and prosper. After Lois Martinez passed away last year, members of the San Luis Obispo community felt compelled to honor them both and devised a plan to win the baton auction in the couple’s name.

“People wanted to do something special for Frank and Lois to thank them for all that they’ve done and to honor them for their support of the music community,” said Leslie McKinley, SLO Symphony’s Resource Development Director.

Barbara George, Cuesta College’s Interim Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, and Elaine Coats, the first classified employee ever hired at Cuesta College, along with Frank and Lois’s daughter Barbara Martinez, received the Martinez family’s blessing to recognize the couple in this surprising way. They began sending letters requesting donations to friends and family. Soon, support came pouring in from all over the country, as well as from the local community.

Just before intermission at the concert, a very surprised Frank Martinez was called on stage to conduct when Barbara George “won” the auction in his name. He was presented with his prize by longtime friend and Interim Cuesta College President Gil Stork and then led the orchestra in Stars and Stripes Forever.

“It was pretty obvious that he had no idea. I think he’s still in shock, still walking on a cloud,” said George, who was on the stage to help announce the honor.

This year’s Pops by the Sea theme was “Summer of Love.” A record crowd at the Avila Beach Golf Resort enjoyed tunes from the days of classic Rock ‘n Roll with special guest Grammy-award winner Louie Ortega.  The 20th Annual Labor Day weekend event was hosted by KSBY News Anchor Jeanette Trompeter.

More information and photos of this special event can be found at www.SLOSymphony.com.

September 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rabobank Helps to Bring Music Education to 16,000 County-wide Each Year

SLO Symphony thanks signature music education sponsor for longstanding support


 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA―Fully one third of the San Luis Obispo Symphony’s annual budget goes to support extensive Music Education Programs serving the county of San Luis Obispo. More than 16,000 children and adults take part in one or more of these programs, which are based on California State educational standards, every year. Rabobank has been a Symphony supporter for over a decade, sponsoring the popular “No Ties Allowed! Free Dress Rehearsals” at the Performing Arts Center. Rabobank’s generous $10,000 donation also earns them the title of “Signature Music Education Sponsor” for their support of the infrastructure that makes the Symphony’s Music Education programs possible.

Nine distinct programs comprise the Symphony’s music education continuum, including Everyday Etudes, Strings in the Schools, The Music Van, and a range of professional training and performance opportunities offered through the Symphony and Youth Symphony.

“When you consider the way schools are struggling, especially in the current economy, these programs become critically important,” said Symphony Music Education Director, Andrea Stoner. “Rabobank’s continuing generosity helps us to fill that ever-increasing need.”

Perhaps most recognized for their support of the Symphony’s immensely popular pre-concert dress rehearsals, Rabobank has sponsored the “No Ties Allowed! FREE Dress Rehearsals” since 1997. Last year, more than 4,000 people stood in line outside the PAC to attend these casual and entertaining afternoons of music.

“Rabobank is proud of our long term affiliation with the San Luis Obispo Symphony.  We are one of their many community partners and enjoy sponsoring the No Ties Allowed! Free Dress Rehearsals” said Steve Harding, Regional President of Rabobank, N.A.  “Rabobank supports the SLO Symphony and other nonprofit organizations that make a sustainable difference in the community.”

The first No Ties Allowed! FREE Dress Rehearsal of the 2011-2012 Season will take place on Saturday, October 8th at 1 pm at the Christopher Cohan Center. All are welcome to attend absolutely free of charge.

For more information about the San Luis Obispo Symphony, the upcoming concert season, their music education programs, and “No Ties Allowed!” please call (805) 543-3533 or go to www.slosymphony.com.

September 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Talley Vineyards celebrates landmark anniversary

Three generations of Talleys toast 25 years of viticulture success

ARROYO GRANDE, CA – Talley Vineyards celebrates 25 years of passion, persistence and, of course, wine. Oliver Talley started Talley Farms in 1948, exclusively growing vegetables. He made a commitment to excellence that would be carried out through generations. Oliver’s son, Don, had planted the first Talley vines in 1982, with a vision of growing the best grapes California has to offer.

“I have to hand it to my Dad’s persistence,” said Brian Talley, president of Talley Vineyards and son of Don and Rosemary Talley. “I think he knew that we could grow some of the best grapes in California —he just wasn’t sure which varieties. Over time, with careful experimentation, he learned that the cool, coastal influence of the Arroyo Grande Valley could produce world-class chardonnay and pinot noir. So that became our focus.”

Don and Rosemary Talley established Talley Vineyards in 1986. Now, 25 years later, the Talleys have been recognized locally, nationally and internationally. Talley Vineyards was the first Arroyo Grande Valley winery to be featured in the New York Times, and the wines were served in the White House during the Clinton and Bush Administrations. In 2002-2003, Talley Vineyards Estate Chardonnay was recognized in Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wines of the Year.”

“The first time we were featured in Wine Spectator, it really felt like we had arrived,” Brian Talley said. “[This publication] really enjoys very tremendous influence in the wine trade and it made me and my parents proud, and it really reflected 15 years of hard work that paid off.”

Most recently, the Talley tasting room was judged by Sunset Magazine as one of the best three tasting rooms in the Western United States.

But the Talleys’ national and international acclaim has never pulled them away from the local community. In 1993, they established the Marianne Talley Foundation to provide scholarships for Arroyo Grande High School graduates. To date, the foundation has granted more than $160,000 in scholarships.

Then in 2005, Brian Talley and his wife Johnine established the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers, providing grants to organizations that assist agricultural workers throughout San Luis Obispo County. One of the major fundraising efforts for this fund is the annual release of Mano Tinta wines. Mano Tinta (Spanish for “red hand”) was chosen to signify the pride and commitment of farm workers. All of the grapes, materials and services used to make Mano Tinta wines are donated, and 100 percent of the sales benefit the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers. To date, the fund has raised close to $450,000.

“I’m really proud of our reputation in the industry and I’m proud of our team,” said Talley. “I love my job, I work in what I think is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I’m very honored to work every day with such a talented group of people.”

The Talleys have been celebrating this landmark anniversary throughout the year and will host two special events at the winery this fall.  On October 13, Talley Vineyards will release the 2008 Mano Tinta.  All wine tasting will be complimentary that day and feature a selection of wines from its 25-year history.

In addition, the Talleys invite former employees to attend and reconnect. The winery’s annual open house will occur November 6, in conjunction with the San Luis Obispo Vintners Harvest Celebration weekend, and focus on the 25th anniversary theme. A short video was produced about the anniversary, and is available to watch on YouTube.

About Talley Vineyards
The Talley Family produces wines under three labels: Talley Vineyards, Bishop’s Peak, and Mano Tinta. The Talley Vineyards brand is devoted exclusively to estate grown chardonnay and pinot noir ideally suited to the climate and soils of the family’s vineyards in the Arroyo Grande and Edna Valleys. All Talley Vineyards, Bishop’s Peak and Mano Tinta wines are handcrafted at the Talley Vineyards winery to reflect three generations of family farming history on California’s Central Coast. The winery and tasting room is located at 3031 Lopez Drive Arroyo Grande, CA 93420. For more information please contact Brian Talley at (805) 489-0446 or visit www.talleyvineyards.com.

September 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Action Hero: San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum

September 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poetic Justice Project to Open for Luis J. Rodriguez at Steinbeck Center

After presenting John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” to an enthralled audience at the 31st International Steinbeck Festival in Salinas on Aug. 7, Poetic Justice Project actors have been invited back to open for writer Luis J. Rodriguez next month.

Poetic Justice Project, a theatre company of formerly incarcerated actors, will present scenes from their musical drama “Off The Hook,” set inside a California prison. The event begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at Sherwood Hall, 940 N. Main St. in Salinas. Tickets are $10 for Steinbeck Center members, $15 for non-members and $7 for students with IDs. Call 831.775.4726 or purchase online at steinbeckstore.org.

Luis J. Rodriguez is convinced that a writer can change the world. Through education and the power of words, Rodriguez saw his own way out of poverty and despair in the barrio of East L.A. An award-winning poet, he shares his story in his memoir, “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.,” which explores the lure of gang life.

His other books include “Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times” and “It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way: A Barrio Story.” His sequel to “Always Running” will be released in October and is titled “It Calls You Back: A Writer’s Odyssey through Love, Addictions, Recovery and Healing.”

Among his awards are a city of Los Angeles Arts Fellowship, a Sundance Institute Art Writers Fellowship, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, a Lannan Fellowship for Poetry, an Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature, an Algonquin West Literary Award, a California Arts Council Fellowship, the 2001 Premio Fronterizo, and an Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award, presented by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

A program of the William James Association, based in Santa Cruz, Poetic Justice Project creates original theatre examining crime, punishment and redemption with formerly incarcerated writers, artists, musicians and actors. Currently in production is “Women Behind the Walls,” written by Claire Braz-Valentine.

August 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Organization Committed to Permanence Symbolized by Purchase of Office Space

SLO County Community Foundation secures future with historic home

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – The San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation (SLOCCF), an organization established in 1998 and dedicated to the quality of life in the community, has recently purchased and moved into the historic Barneberg House at 550 Dana St. in downtown San Luis Obispo. The new offices bring to life the theme of the SLOCCF’s most recent annual report, “Inspired by the Past, Creating the Future.”

“When this opportunity became available to us, we knew it was a perfect fit,” explained Executive Director Barry VanderKelen. “This historic home has deep, strong

550 Dana Street

roots in the same community we are committed to supporting and enhancing.” VanderKelen adds, “Owning our building will enable us to put more resources towards supporting the nonprofit community. It was with the help of the Hind Foundation and the Duenow Family that we were able to secure the building, and many others have also contributed to this effort, knowing that the Community Foundation will be here – for good, and for ever.”

The SLOCCF is the third owner of the Barneberg House and plans to preserve this cultural treasure. The 4,350 square feet gives the Community Foundation plenty of room to grow, and also enables them to make meeting space available for nonprofits and community groups to use.

For more information about SLOCCF, log onto www.sloccf.org or call (805) 543-2323.

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Action Hero: The First Tee Central Coast

August 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation in Top Philanthropic Tier Nationally

Local Organization Meets Rigorous Standards for Quality and Accountability

 San Luis Obispo, CA – San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation (SLOCCF) recently received notification that it has met the nation’s highest philanthropic standards for operational quality, integrity and accountability. The notice comes from the Community Foundations National Standards Board, a national accreditation organization based in Arlington, Va.

“This is similar to the Good Housekeeping Seal for community foundations,” said Diane Miller, manager, Community Foundations National Standards Board. “It says that San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation has demonstrated a commitment to operational quality, integrity and accountability.”

The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations program requires community foundations to document their policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking and administration. Not all community foundations are eligible to apply for this certification, and not all applicants pass the review. The program is designed to provide quality assurance to donors, as well as to their legal and financial advisors.

SLOCCF originally earned this designation five years ago, and was among the first community foundations in the United States to be acknowledged for this level of operational excellence. It is the only community foundation in San Luis Obispo County with this distinction.

“This is critically important to our community,” said Barry VanderKelen, SLOCCF executive director. “When people partner with us to fulfill their philanthropic intentions by making a charitable bequest, establishing a fund, or setting up an annuity, they are putting their trust in us. They are counting on us to manage the investment wisely, honor their charitable wishes and, in some cases, provide lifetime income to a loved one. The National Standards confirmation says our house is in order.”

SLOCCF offers a range of charitable tools that assist donors in strategically advancing causes such as education or the environment, supporting individual non-profit organizations, providing flexible support for community needs, or recommending individual grants. In addition to affirming the organization’s philanthropic services, this confirmation validates SLOCCF’s grantmaking practices for the nonprofit community.

“Some say it’s easier to create wealth than to give money away wisely,” said Dee Lacey, SLOCCF board president. “There’s some truth in that because grantmaking is a lot like investing — we need to assess risks, weigh potential gains, diversify assets, monitor performance and operate fairly. When you see the National Standards Seal, you are assured that we’re committed to meeting the highest standards for these activities.”

The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations program is the first of its kind for charitable foundations in the United States.



Through the vision and guidance of the original founding members in 1998, SLOCCF has raised the impact of charitable giving to new heights in the local community. In only 13 years, SLOCCF has granted over $16 million to the community through its 200 funds and scholarships. For more information on the SLOCCF or any of its individual funds, call (805) 543-2323 or log onto www.sloccf.org.



The Community Foundations National Standards Board is a supporting organization of the Council on Foundations that administers and advances National Standards for U.S. Community FoundationsÔ by ensuring the integrity of the accreditation process and building the value of compliance. Visit www.cfstandards.org for more information about the program and organization.

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Automotive Shop Driven to Provide Books for Local Children

Rizzoli’s Automotive donates 700 children’s books to Altrusa of the Central Coast


SANTA MARIA, CA – Rizzoli’s Automotive has partnered with Altrusa International, Inc. of the Central Coast to provide books to local children. The partnership has already resulted in a donation of 700 books for Altrusa’s annual Festival of Books giveaway.

Altrusa of the Central Coast’s main focus is literacy. This summer marks their fourth year of giving away books at the Santa Maria Town Center Mall. The organization will be gathering for the Festival of Books giveaway on Sundays, August 7 and August 21. Later in the summer on Thursday, September 8, Altrusa will celebrate International Literacy Day in the “Leisure Room” at the Santa Maria Town Center.  They will have an afternoon of board and card games while handing out as many books as possible. There will be door prizes every 30 minutes and free snacks. All ages are welcome.

Many families that are struggling financially in the tough economy are not able to afford books to have in their homes. Altrusa helps take some of the burden off these families with the community’s ongoing donation of books. “We want to make sure every child in Santa Maria has a book to read this summer,” said President of Altrusa Melinda Aguirre. “We have lots of kids attend our event and get so excited that they can have a book to take home and read.”

Last year, Rizzoli’s Automotive partnered with the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation for the Raising a Reader Program. A total of 600 books were collected at Rizzoli’s locations in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria. Recently, Altrusa expressed the need for books in Santa Maria and Rizzoli’s offered to continue collecting books throughout the summer to benefit the Santa Maria families in need. “The community and our customers continuously demonstrate generosity when we host the book drives,” said General Manager Kyle Rizzoli. “We plan to continue this important community outreach program along with our year-round food drive for the SLO Food Bank.”

Donations can be dropped off at 2584 Victoria in San Luis Obispo or 1149 W. Tama Lane in Santa Maria.

About Altrusa

Altrusa of the Central Coast’s mission is to administer contributions received from Altrusa Clubs to the needs of the community to support and maintain its traditional commitments to literacy projects and to ensure support to local service projects. Visit http://www.altrusaclubcentralcoast.org for more information.


About Rizzoli’s

Rizzoli’s Automotive has been a family run business for three generations, taking pride in quality care and customer service. Rizzoli’s is located at 2584 Victoria in San Luis Obispo and at 1149 W. Tama Lane in Santa Maria. For more information please call (805) 541-1082 or log on to www.RizzolisAutomotive.com.

July 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment