Every year, the HOPE Awards gives us an opportunity to honor our local heroes of public education. This year we will shine our light on individuals and programs making strides for literacy. The evening will begin with a silent auction and reception featuring fine food and beverages from the hottest local restaurants, wineries, and breweries at the beautiful Santa Barbara Historical Museum.


About the keynote speaker: 


Fannie Flagg

Fannie Flagg is an actress, novelist and a writer for television, film, and theater. She is best known for her bestselling novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and its Academy Award-nominated screenplay adaptation. What may not be as well-known is Flagg’s struggle with dyslexia. Although it was clear that she had a gift for storytelling, her dyslexia stalled the start of her writing career. She had a life-long struggle spelling and writing, but it wasn’t until her stint as a regular panelist on the game show Match Game that she discovered that she had a learning disability. A teacher watching the gameshow spotted a pattern in Flagg’s misspelled written answers and sent her a note. Flagg hadn’t even heard of dyslexia until she received that note. She was eventually able to overcome her fear associated with the disorder to pursue a career as a writer.


About the honoree: 

Santa Barbara Public Library

While the mission of the Santa Barbara Public Library is to provide information services, reading materials, and educational resources, its impact goes well beyond these activities. Our local public libraries serve as community centers, conservators of our rich local history, and in some cases a place of refuge in times of crisis. Currently, SBPL works to improve the educational outcomes of members of the community, from infants to adult learners with Homework Help and storytimes that emphasize early literacy to vibrant relationships with other community organizations such as Dyslexia Santa Barbara. During the Thomas Fire, SBPL focused on creating a sense of normalcy and connectedness by providing additional programming in a safe space. In total, staff conducted 78 different youth programs over a 22-day span.

About the Santa Barbara Education Foundation

Since 1985, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation has worked with community partners to strengthen the educational experience of ALL students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. SBEF has raised funds to:

  • Support at-risk students
  • Ensure equal access to quality education
  • Support art & music education
  • Provide instruments
  • Offer summer school

SBEF believes that great schools have long-lasting effects on students and the community. Our goal is to continue to elevate the quality of the public schools in our community.


Thank you to our 2018 HOPE Awards sponsors!