November 19, 2020 SANTA BARBARA, CA – The Community Environmental Council (CEC) is proud to announce it has been selected as a 2020 California Nonprofit of the Year by District 37 Assemblywoman Monique Limón.
“For 50 years, CEC has stood out as an environmental leader, both in Santa Barbara County and across California. They understand that issues like the climate crisis are too complex and too big to be solved by a single organization and work collaboratively to treat a healthy environment as both a human right and the foundation for a thriving world,” said Assemblywoman Monique Limón. “We need the leadership of CEC to build momentum to reverse the threat of the climate crisis and safeguard our communities. Their work today is critical.”
Sigrid Wright, CEO of CEC, stated, “The award comes during CEC’s 50th anniversary year, underscoring that our work is more critical to the community than ever. In the face of many uncertainties, we know that ultimately leadership must come from regions like ours committing to rapid and equitable local climate action. That’s why we are throwing everything we have into meeting transformative climate goals – for transportation, renewable energy, organic waste, and nature-based carbon farming.”
In 2020, CEC’s work simultaneously sought to build resilience, including for our most vulnerable communities, while pushing ambitious climate targets. This included:
- Rescuing over 170,000 pounds of food that was destined to be wasted, ensuring that it was distributed to seniors, vets, and others in need
- Leading advocacy to secure City of Santa Barbara commitment to carbon neutrality by 2035
- Reaching over 49,000 people through our webinars, online events, youth outreach, electronic media, and community roundtables — with tangible guidance on low-cost electric vehicles, home solar, reduction of single use plastic, and the health impacts of climate change
- Working to ensure that electricity for 1,395,401 residents in 19 cities across 2 counties is coming from renewable sources
- Helping 7 nonprofits that annually serve 120,600 community members flip the switch on new solar panels, saving money on utility bills and allowing these agencies to put more into their community services
Other community leaders also recognize the vital role CEC plays in a thriving Central Coast.
Underscoring CEC’s long-standing climate advocacy role, Santa Barbara City College Foundation CEO and former Board President of CalNonprofits Geoff Green added “Having worked with and for community-based nonprofits for most of my career, CEC stands out as a consistent leader. It is clear in its mission, bold in its actions, and always willing to partner with others.” He went on to point out that CEC has reinvented itself several times over the past half century, always with the goal of ensuring that the work is relevant to the moment. “The CEC team’s ability to build trust is unparalleled, and they set a high bar not just for environmental work, but for what it means to truly serve the community.”
Marcos Vargas, Executive Director at the Fund for Santa Barbara spoke to CEC’s focus on climate justice: “Growing up on the Central Coast, I’ve been impressed with how CEC boldly and creatively reimagines how we live on this planet. They set the tone and pace for making the Central Coast a more equitable, resilient place to live, and we are a better community because of them.”
CEC is one of 105 nonprofits that were honored by their state senators and assemblymembers for tremendous contributions to the communities they serve.