Friends of State Street is a 501c3 public charity focused on community engagement initiatives that support and collaborate with businesses, organizations, and surrounding neighborhoods in Santa Barbara, as our city’s State Street Master plan evolves now and into the future.
Our inclusive and multigenerational team is made up of local community Board of Directors, advisors, and volunteers.
Meet the Board
We’re for community, by community.
The board and advisors have decades of experience in fields including community outreach, strategic planning, business ownership, law, communications, journalism, architecture and design, performing arts, social media, program development and financial development and management.
Sharon Rich is renowned for her adeptness in uniting communities to accomplish their most significant objectives.
Originating from a close-knit community in Wisconsin, Sharon boasts a diverse career that spans both the East and West Coasts. Her fervor for fostering collaborative programming and engagement has been instrumental in enhancing community ownership and pride and she now channels her determination toward Santa Barbara.
Her dedication and compassion for community service took root during her tenure at the YMCA where she pioneered programs tailored to the specific needs of each community. This needs-based approach became the hallmark of her work for the next 25 years, expanding into outreach programs that are hailed as exemplars of inclusivity.
Before assuming her volunteer role as the founding board president of Friends of State Street, Sharon achieved a career milestone by securing a donation of 5 acres of land to establish the first YMCA facility within a new 350-acre community development in Camarillo, California. Serving as the YMCA’s executive director, she played a pivotal role in coordinating and leading the team to fully fund the construction of the facility and grounds. Her contribution to the development’s community engagement programs was integral to the project’s success.
Whether crafting inclusive programming that builds strong communities or spearheading initiatives that foster inclusivity and connection, Sharon stands as an unwavering advocate of a For Community, By Community method for building pride and ownership, especially during times of revitalization.
Paul Rupp is passionate about the transformational power of great design. With over 30 years of architecture firm experience with licenses in California, Nevada, New York and Washington State, Paul has designed and executed projects nationally and internationally. Paul has provided project leadership to achieve American Institute of Architects Honor and Merit awards for Design and Execution on over $200 million in construction value.
In Santa Barbara, prior to his current role as Project Associate Senior Architect at AB design studio, Paul worked on both the MOXI Museum and Santa Barbara Bowl.
As the project architect and manager of the Santa Barbara Bowl for 12 years, he saw it go from zero dollars in to tens of millions in the ground over eight phases of development. Today, the picturesque Bowl, is a gem of the community and a world-class venue. It was working on New York’s Bryant Park in 1992 that Rupp
first “got educated on how partnerships are a powerful mechanism to support the community and transform places.”
Lauralee relocated to Santa Barbara in 2015, from Davis, California where community pride is strong.
She currently serves on the City of Santa Barbara, Single Family Design Review Board, teaches fitness classes at Golds Gym, mother of two, and has been an architect for over 35 years with experience with various project typology from educational, commercial, multi-family housing and residential.
She enjoys all aspects of project conception to development through construction.
A recent transplant from the East Coast, Ivonne comes to Santa Barbara and to Friends of State Street with 20+ years running a successful architectural practice in Midtown Manhattan, NYC, specializing in residential design, restoration, and historic preservation.
She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the School of Architecture-CUNY, and School of Architecture, Historic Preservation & Planning-Columbia University, respectively. More recently Ivonne has taught at the Santa Barbara City College. She is a member of the AIA Santa Barbara, the Pearl Chase Society and the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.
Prior to this Ivonne represented the World Monument’s Fund in charge of the restoration and preservation of a world heritage site in Spain as well as being involved with various notable projects including the expansion of the New York Public Library/Revitalization of Bryant Park, NYC.
Sandra Barron has been actively involved in journalism and communication since 1999.
Her diverse experiences include serving as an event coordinator at DC Comics, leading bicycle tours in Santa Monica, and designing itineraries for a boutique Japanese travel company. Sandra has played a key role in managing social media for The Japan Times and TEDx Tokyo, while also contributing freelance writing to reputable publications such as the New York Times, Japan Times, and CNN International. Currently, Sandra is engaged in overseeing social media and communication for Brad Smith, President of Microsoft.
As an East Coast transplant, Sandra has called Santa Barbara home since September, following years spent in Santa Clarita, West LA, Tokyo, New York, Atlanta, and rural southern Japan.
Her husband, Jim, works as a NICU/pediatric respiratory therapist at Cottage. Eager to explore the Santa Barbara area, Sandra looks forward to doing so by bicycle, with her 12-pound buddy Gunner riding shotgun in her backpack.