Santa Ynez Valley Foundation's new board members

Newly elected members of the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation Board of Directors are, from left, Jon Hooten, Morgan Halme and Debbie Jones.

Three local leaders joined the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation Board of Directors this fall, said Anne Christensen, executive director of the foundation.

Debbie Jones, Morgan Halme and Jon Hooten were all elected to three-year terms on the community foundation.

Hooten moved to Los Alamos four years ago from Claremont, where he was a college administrator.

He recently was named Executive Director of Advancement at Allan Hancock College, where he will lead fundraising and public affairs, Christensen said.

He served for three years as president of the Friends of the Los Alamos Public Library board and served as a youth mentor with the Fund for Santa Barbara.

Hooten and his spouse, Jenn, also founded the California Folk School last summer to teach skills for sustainable living.

Halme grew up in Ballard and Solvang, graduating from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School and UCLA.

After building a career in advertising and marketing in Los Angeles, he returned to Santa Barbara County and today is director of Global Marketing at Deckers Brands, where he oversees brand strategy for UGG Men’s and Kids products, Christensen said.

He also serves on the board of the Paloheimo Foundation of Pasadena.

Halme’s father, Paul, is a former director of the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation and man of the year and is chairman of the Paloheimo Foundation board.

Jones is a long-time Gaviota resident and has been a leader in education and nonprofit organizations in Santa Ynez Valley for many years, Christensen said.

Educated as a lawyer at Georgetown University, she is past chairwoman of the Dunn School Board of Trustees, has served on the board of the Family School and is a deacon at Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church.

Jones has also been involved locally in PEO, an organization that provides scholarships and support for young women.

She and her husband run the Pork Palace in Gaviota, which produces show pigs and heritage meats.

“The Santa Ynez Valley Foundation is fortunate to add three extraordinary new board members, Debbie Jones, John Hooten and Morgan Halme,” said Rich Nagler, Valley Foundation board chairman.

“Their contributions will help to support the nonprofit community in the Valley and Los Alamos,” Nagler said.

Founded in 1991 by Stuart C. Gildred, the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation works to improve the lives of people in the Santa Ynez Valley and Los Alamos by investing in programs that feed the poor, promote health, nurture seniors, challenge youth and inspire the community to make a difference.

The foundation does so by awarding grants to nonprofit organizations that deliver programs and services to residents in one of five focus areas: health and human services, senior programs, youth, education, and cultural programs.

Funds from the foundation’s endowment and support from donations provide funding for the annual grants.

For more information, visit or contact Christensen at 805-688-2991 or

This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, news editor for the Santa Ynez Valley News. He can be reached at


News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

Load comments