The Partnership

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Read more about The Partnership in the  Montecito Journal

Read more about The Partnership in the Montecito Journal

The Partnership for Resilient Communities is a nonprofit organization focused on safety and resiliency in support of and to augment public sector efforts in Santa Barbara County. We are local residents compelled to act after the tragic Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow in Montecito. We asked Santa Barbara County leadership what they needed, and quickly responded to those needs by bringing outside expertise and resources to help them in their early response and recovery efforts. We continue to partner with the County and other jurisdictions as we rebuild stronger, safer and more resilient.


“This is the kind of outside the box and collaborative thinking that makes this community great. Efforts like this allow for more creative decision-making and provide access to resources and expertise, which help make our communities more resilient.”

– Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management



Prior to the 1/9 Debris Flow disaster, an important partnership established the Santa Barbara County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Aware and Prepare program. These programs save lives and would not have been possible without extensive local philanthropic support, close public private partnerships and purposeful use of outside expertise. They developed trust and processes that allow government and nonprofit organizations to support each other and work together in times of crisis. The Partnership for Resilient Communities is building upon this strong foundation to create a safer and more resilient community.  


Our purpose is to help make our community safer and more resilient. We aim to be action oriented and collaborative, and to focus on “What We Can Do Now” while building towards the mid and long term plan.

There is a wealth of world-class experts and knowledge available to help find the best solutions to our challenges and to reduce future risk to our community.  

The resources and nimbleness of a public private partnership can expand what is possible for our local agencies to accomplish.

A model public private partnership can offer lessons learned and solutions discovered to other communities suffering like disasters.


We work to support public sector efforts to ensure Montecito and surrounding communities are safer, stronger and more resilient. We focus on meeting key needs identified by local decision makers in the following areas:

  • Engage national and global experts experienced in disaster mitigation, geology and hydrology.

  • Find and secure public and private sector funding and resources.

  • Identify feasible and best in class mitigation and monitoring solutions to reduce the risk and calamity of future disasters, and help get them implemented.

  • Share our lessons and solutions with other communities facing similar challenges

Core Team

Pat McElroy

  • 38 years of fire and emergency response in Santa Barbara County

  • 13 years experience on Type 1 National Incident Management Team

  • 30+ years of political action in Santa Barbara, statewide and nationally on public safety issues

Gwyn Lurie

  • President, Montecito Union School Board

  • Co-Chair, Santa Barbara Human Rights Watch

  • Former Chair of Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Safety Net Task Force

Joe Cole

  • 40-year Montecito resident; Chair, Montecito Planning Commission; real estate and corporate law

  • Publisher, Santa Barbara News-Press ; Publisher, Santa Barbara Independent, Inc.; Director, Jordano's, Inc. and other public and private companies

  • President, Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara; Co-President, Montecito Educational Foundation; President, Knowlwood Tennis Club; Vice-President, Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation, Santa Barbara Zoo

Les Firestein

  • Lifelong builder and innovator with an emphasis environmental and alternative solutions

  • Developed one of the first “living vegetative wall” which has been functioning perfectly and without interruption since it was first installed 20 years ago

  • Currently building the first hydrogen powered house in Los Angeles

Mary Rose

  • Manages full service PR, government relations and strategic communications firm

  • Manages permitting and community ballot initiatives

  • Appointed by Governor Brown to Board of 19th District Agricultural Association, which runs Earl Warren Showground, where she is Vice President

Ron Pulice

  • Served on Montecito Association on Transportation subcommittees and the Community Alternative uUrban Freeway Design Group.

  • Owned and operated a civil engineering and transportation company for 47years

  • Local large avocado grower with experience with water exploration and of watershed drainage

Alixe Mattingly

  • Co-chaired $27 m capital campaign to build MOXI

  • Worked at Santa Barbara Foundation

  • Serves on Board of Directors of the Mosher Foundation

  • Worked at Direct Relief, which epitomizes speedy disaster relief

Brett Matthews

  • Entrepreneur, created public Private Partnerships, saving over $1B to Federal and State Government and generative over $600MM in cash profit sharing for government partners.

  • Part of citizen team to work with county and USFS to open Santa Maria Airport for Air Tanker Fire support

  • Former President of Montecito Union School Board

Cathy Cash

  • Instrumental in establishing the private/public sector partnership of the Santa Barbara Firefighters Alliance whom to date has donated over a million dollars worth of leading edge technology equipment on city and county firetrucks.

  • President, Rotary Club of Montecito 2017-2018; former Board member: Santa Barbara Estate Planning Council; Girls Inc,; National Charity League; Laguna Blanca Parents Auxiliary; Santa Barbara Firefighter’s Alliance; St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church; Eucalyptus Hill Homeowners Association; etc.

  • During 1990 Painted Cave crashed thru locked wrought iron entry gate Fire In Mercedes 300 TD and drove thru flames on lengthy driveway to take children and animals to safety

Hollye Jacobs

  • Community advocate, writer, public speaker

  • Author of best-selling book,  “The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer”

  • Palliative Care Nurse, Social Worker, Child Development Specialist