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Vanessa Bechtel, President & CEO
Ventura County Community Foundation

Vanessa Bechtel has been named President and CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation by VCCF’s board of directors.

Feb. 9 will be the first day on the job for Bechtel, who most recently served as Executive Director of the more than
$50 million SBCC Foundation.

 “Vanessa represents the next generation of leadership for the foundation,” said VCCF Chairman Gary E. Erickson.

“She has shown a passion for bringing together people who believe in removing the obstacles that block individuals from realizing their potential. In Santa Barbara, she worked one-on-one to energize traditional donors and used technology to engage young people and diverse populations in philanthropy,” Erickson said.

During her four years at the SBCC Foundation, 35-year-old Bechtel more than doubled the organization’s annual fundraising.  

The founder of a wealth-management company, Bechtel will oversee $137 million in charitable assets at VCCF, as well as a scholarship program that awarded $1.2 million to local students in 2014 and 600 funds that grant more than $4 million annually to local nonprofits. She also will be responsible for the continued growth of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership that trained staffers and volunteers from nearly 830 nonprofits last year and the VCCF Nonprofit Center, which houses more than a dozen nonprofits under one roof in Camarillo. 

“VCCF has a history of taking on ambitious community goals and partnering with the people and organizations to accomplish those goals. I look forward to all we can do together,” Bechtel said.

She succeeds Hugh J. Ralston, who left the foundation last fall for the chief executive post at the Fresno Regional Foundation.

The national search led by the VCCF Search Committee and conducted by nonprofit recruitment specialist Morris & Berger yielded almost 60 candidates.

As a volunteer, Bechtel has served as a trustee of the Santa Barbara County Retirement Board and as treasurer of the State Association of County Retirement Systems. She is a past president of the Institute of Management Accountants. She currently holds the post of president of Santa Barbara Rotary North.

She has been named Business Woman of the Year by the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce and to the list of Top Women in Business by the Pacific Coast Business Times.

A Sonoma County native, Bechtel graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in law and society. She is enrolled in the Executive MBA program at the University of Southern California.

When not working, Bechtel enjoys spending time with her husband, Jim, and playing the violin.


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