In today’s world, change is not only constant, it is often rapid and, at times, can be unexpected. I would like to take this opportunity to officially greet you as your new President and CEO. I am delighted to serve our association in this capacity.

In addition to my gratitude to you and the care you provide through the work you do each day, I want to take a moment to recognize some of our partners that empower us to do this work. The Y has hundreds of faithful donors each year, all contributing to a unified purpose. Today we’ll recognize and highlight Kenneth Kahn.

The YMCA is fortunate and grateful for the generosity of Kenneth Kahn, Tribal Chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, as well as the Chumash Foundation.

So many of the focuses and passions of the Y align with those of Kenny and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Kenny strives to build relationships with the surrounding community; the Y’s purpose is to strengthen our communities, and we could not do this without our like-minded partners. Preserving health, promoting healthy living, caring for the underserved and impoverished, and providing resources and opportunities to children further parallel the Y’s core beliefs with Kenny’s.

Kenny personally faced racism and had a humble beginning as a child, laying a foundation within him to change this for future generations. And it has become his life’s work.

“Our tribe’s tradition of giving and the power of generosity were instilled in me at a young age,” Kenny said. “When our tribe was in need, local nonprofit organizations showed us kindness with their donations and programs. Now, through our successful enterprise, our tribe is able to give back to those groups and many others that help people in need throughout Santa Barbara county. Personally, it has been an honor to serve and support the Stuart C. Gildred and Channel Islands YMCAs, which have such a positive impact on their respective communities.”

Through the Chumash Foundation, the Y has received support for the Youth Horizon gang intervention program in Lompoc, fundraising golf tournaments, and the Youth and Family Services Reaching for Stars fundraising event, as well as support for scholarships.

In addition to his board service to the Stuart C Gildred and Channel Islands YMCAs, Kenny is a remarkable fundraiser for the Y. He meets with individuals, spreads the word about our programs, and participates in the Annual Campaign, our yearly effort in spring to raise funds.  This year, Kenny will be the keynote speaker at the Campaign Summit in October, where staff and volunteers alike learn more about fundraising and supporting the YMCA. He has raised thousands of dollars for the Y, allowing us to continue to provide programs and services to our communities.

All of this gives just a small glimpse at the character and care shown by this one man, and the entire organization he currently leads, as they support numerous other nonprofit organizations with their time, talent and treasures.

As we kick off a new fiscal year, let’s begin with celebration.  Together we’ll celebrate our donors, our staff, our volunteers, our members and our communities. Thank you to each of you.

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