The Santa Barbara Foundation Welcomes New Trustees

Posted on Mar 28 by SEASONS Magazine

Santa Barbara Foundation Logo. Courtesy of SBF.

The Santa Barbara Foundation is an 89 year old organization that has provided indispensable philanthropic efforts to the Santa Barbara area. Throughout the course of its history, The Santa Barbara Foundation has generated over $300 million in its pursuit to support civic activities, philanthropies and nonprofit organizations. The amiable organization recently welcomed three new trustees into its foundation.

Selected for their professional expertise and volunteer leadership in Santa Barbara County, Angel R. Martinez, Neil Dipaola and Robert C. Nakasone assume the office of the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “We welcome our newest trustees with open arms and are eager to learn from their unique experiences and perspectives so that, together, we can continue to support and strengthen Santa Barbara County,” says Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation.

Angel R. Martinez (left), Neil Dipaola (center) and Robert C. Nakasone (right). Image courtesy of SBF.

Angel R. Martinez served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Deckers Outdoor Corp. from 2005 to 2016 and is currently an independent consultant. In 2008, Martinez was elected as Chairman of the Board of Deckers Outdoor Corp. and continues to serve as the non-executive chair. Martinez has also served on the Board of Directors of Tupperware Brands Corporation since 1998 and served as the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President of Keen LLC, a company which he co-founded and launched in April 2003. In addition, he currently serves on the boards of AHA! and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Throughout his 39 years of brand building in the footwear industry, he held numerous senior level positions at Reebok International Ltd., including Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Reebok International Ltd. and President and Chief Executive Officer of The Rockport Company, a subsidiary of Reebok. He championed Reebok’s Human Rights programs and served on the Board of Advisors of the Human Rights Award. Martinez is credited with significantly diversifying Reebok’s product offerings and was honored for his work in 1997 with the Man of the Year award and in 2011 was honored as Person of the Year from Footwear News, a leading trade publication in the footwear industry.

Neil Dipaola, as founder and CEO of Mesa Lane Partners and Prospect Hotels Inc., has led the successful development of a number of high profile public-private urban infill developments, hospitality developments and college housing communities. He was recently awarded California’s highest honor—The Governor’s Economic and Environmental Leadership Award—by Governor Jerry Brown and the California Environmental Protection Agency—for his pioneering work to develop net-zero energy buildings in California. Dipaola’s latest venture, AutoCamp, is a joint venture with American travel trailer manufacturer, Airstream Inc., to revitalize the outdoor travel and camping industry by bringing a new brand of outdoor hotels to National Parks and State Parks across the country.

Dipaola is a nationally recognized thought leader in California coastal land use policy, affordable housing law and sustainable development. He is also a frequent guest lecturer at UCSB, the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and SBCC. His real estate projects have received numerous industry awards for their attention to sustainability and use of contemporary design and architecture and have been featured in over 100 periodicals including such publications as Sunset Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.

Dipaola is a trustee of the Dipaola Foundation, and his philanthropic spirit keeps him active with leadership roles in numerous nonprofit organizations. He has served on the Partnership Council for the Community Environmental CouncilKCRW Radio Advisory Board, Board of Directors at the Environmental Defense Center and was a founding partner of Social Venture Partners Santa Barbara, a network of entrepreneurs who leverage charitable contributions and strategic partnerships to create a new model of “venture philanthropy.” Dipaola graduated with High Honors from UCSB with dual degrees in environmental science and public policy & ethics. In his spare time, he is an avid big-wave surfer, helicopter pilot, long-distance trail runner and freestyle downhill skier.

Robert C. Nakasone is the former CEO of Toys “R” Us, Inc. where he led the global growth of the world’s largest children’s specialty retailer serving as president. During his 14 year tenure, the company grew seven-fold and expanded internationally to over 1,500 stores in 26 countries including the creation of Babies “R” Us and He holds the distinction of being the first Asian American (non-founder) to be appointed CEO of a Fortune 100 service corporation in 1998. Previously, he held multiple senior management positions with the Jewel Food Stores, Osco/Savon Drug Stores and the Brigham’s Ice Cream Parlor division of the Jewel Companies.  He currently serves on the board of Hormel Foods Corp. and has held board seats with six public companies including Staples, Inc. where he was a founding investor and board member.  He is currently a principal of NAK Enterprises, an investment, consulting and advisory firm.

On the nonprofit side, he currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Claremont McKenna College and Board of Directors of the V Foundation for Cancer Research.  Previously, he served on the boards of Direct Relief and Cottage Health as well as the honorary board of the Japanese American National Museum.

Nakasone has a BA in economics from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from the University of Chicago.  Additionally, he has been the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; the Asian American Heritage Presidential Award (President George H.W. Bush) for Excellence in Business; and the American Baseball Coaches Association Achievement Award.  He currently resides in Santa Barbara with his wife Lynn and they have four married children and nine grandchildren.

—Toby Qualls


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