Association of Fundraising Professionals Announces National Philanthropy Day Winners Casa Pacifica Board Member & Staff Among Honorees

Camarillo, CA – The Association of Fundraising Professionals Santa Barbara/Ventura County Chapter recently announced their 2018 honorees for National Philanthropy Day. Casa Pacifica’s Director of Development and Public Relations, Carrie L. Hughes was named 2018 Professional Fundraiser of the Year. While Casa Pacifica board member and co-owner of Ventura Rental Party & Events Heidi Whitcomb was named 2018 Volunteer of the Year – Ventura County.

Other honorees include:

Judy & Jack Stapelmann – Philanthropists of the Year, Santa Barbara County

Loretta & Mike Merewether – Philanthropists of the Year, Ventura County

Peter Schuyler – Volunteer of the Year, Santa Barbara County

Wilson Sherman – Youth Philanthropist of the Year

National Philanthropy Day acknowledges the entire spectrum of services provided by the nonprofit community and recognizes the profound impact that philanthropy has on the fabric of society. Each year, AFP chapters around the nation honor individuals and groups who, through their hard work and dedication, have enhanced philanthropy, their communities, and the world. The day provides an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of giving and all that it has made possible.

This year, the AFP Santa Barbara/Ventura Counties National Philanthropy Day luncheon will be held on Thursday, November 15th at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Ventura. The luncheon, led by Master of Ceremonies, KEYT News Anchors Kelsey Gerckens and Joey Buttitta, is expected to sell out. For tickets to the National Philanthropy Day luncheon visit

For more information or inquiries regarding sponsorship opportunities, contact Molly Kemper, AFP National Philanthropy Day Chair at [email protected].

More about the honorees:

Volunteer of the Year, Ventura – Heidi Whitcomb

Casa Pacifica Board Member Heidi Whitcomb – Volunteer of the Year, Ventura County

Heidi Whitcomb is the second-generation owner and CEO of Ventura Rental Party & Events., where she has designed and coordinated countless events ranging from intimate family gatherings to corporate and non-profit events with thousands of guests. A consistent force in the event rental industry for over thirty years, Heidi has been recognized by her peers with awards such as the National Association for Catering and Events, Event Professional of the Year, Inspirational Member of the Year, and the coveted President’s Award. Most recently, Heidi was awarded the National Association of Woman Business Owners (Ventura County Chapter) 2017 “Woman Business Owner of the Year.”

Heidi is passionate about children in need and helping them have a voice in their communities. She volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, mentors mothers through her work with the City Center in Ventura, volunteers in the NPS at Casa Pacifica, and actively seeks opportunities that assist in the betterment of children and families. Heidi believes in advocating for community causes and partners with many other organizations, including Make a Wish Foundation, CMHS, Casa Pacifica, and Pier Into the Future. Heidi currently sits on the Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation board and the Casa Pacifica Executive Board, and volunteers on numerous other committees.

Heidi and her husband Mike have been happily married for 35 years and currently operate Ventura Rental as a team. They have raised three children who are now thriving young adults. In her free time, Heidi loves to tend to her organic garden, hike, travel, and, most importantly, spend time with her three sweet grandchildren.

Casa Pacifica Director of Development & Public Relations, Carrie L. Hughes – Professional Fundraiser of the Year

Professional Fundraiser of the Year – Carrie L. Hughes

Carrie Hughes is Director of Development & Public Relations for Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families. Carrie graduated from UCSB with a degree in Communications, and was hired at Casa Pacifica in 1999, five years after it opened its doors to foster and at-risk children. Over her nineteen-year career in fundraising, she and her development team have collaboratively raised over $60 million dollars. 

Recently, Carrie and her team’s fundraising efforts resulted in a successful $16.6 million-dollar capital campaign for a new training institute, vocational education center, and treatment cottages serving youth with mental health and substance dependence issues. Carrie has also proven to be a skilled event planner, as she has grown the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival into the premiere wine and food event on the central coast, raising millions during her tenure overseeing the Festival.

Carrie has served on the Board of Directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Santa Barbara/Ventura County chapter for ten years, serving as President in 2015. During her presidency the board achieved its first Ten Star Gold Award and Friends of Diversity Designation. She is also a member of the Camarillo Rotary, the Nonprofit Leadership Council, and a graduate of the Ventura County Leadership Academy. Carrie resides in Thousand Oaks with her family.



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