Beloved Aunt Inspires Tradition of Giving

Known throughout Santa Barbara County for her philanthropic efforts, Anne Smith Towbes has given time, energy, resources, and leadership to create positive impact in the community. For Anne, this spirit of generosity was largely instilled in her by a favorite aunt, Miriam Tabor.

Miriam traveled the world extensively with her husband Amson, made new friends wherever she went, was athletic, loved dogs, valued education, and cherished her family. “She was a smart and loving woman,” said Anne. “People thought we looked alike and I always told her I wanted to be just like her when I grew up!”

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Miriam helped her husband in the container business. She was also savvy in the stock market and with no children of her own, generously shared her wealth with her four nieces. When Miriam passed away at the age of 99, she donated a large part of her estate to her alma mater and divided the rest among her family.


With Miriam’s gift, Anne opened a donor advised fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation called the Poomer Fund, a nickname given to her by her uncle. Through the fund, Anne has supported organizations such as Santa Barbara City College, Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, Mental Wellness Center, Santa Barbara Revels, Cate School, Women’s Economic Ventures, Notes for Notes, and Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, among others. “I admire those in the nonprofit sector, doing the hard work of addressing real community needs,” said Anne.

Since moving to Santa Barbara in 1991, Anne has devoted herself to advancing the work of local nonprofits. “I try to help organizations that work to make our community the caring place that it is, although my favorite areas of focus are education and the arts,” she said.

Anne’s passion for education stems from the first 20 years of her professional life teaching English and drama to students in Maryland and Michigan. Additionally, Anne has always loved the arts – starring, dancing, and singing in musicals from the age of 7.

Through the Poomer Fund, Anne can continue to honor Miriam’s legacy while supporting causes close to her heart. “I am grateful to my aunt for allowing me to carry on her memory through a philosophy of giving,” said Anne. “I hope to inspire my own children so that they will continue to give back to their community.”


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