Santa Paula Times

Museum of Ventura County names Betsy Blanchard Chess as Director of Fund Development

February 19, 2016
Santa Paula News

The Museum of Ventura County is pleased to announce the hiring of Betsy Blanchard Chess will serve as its new Director of Fund Development. Ms. Chess will help lead the organization in its efforts to sustain its two locations—the second site being the Museum of Ventura Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula—and to build an endowment.

 CEO Pattie Mullins stated, “The Board of Directors and I are thrilled to have someone of Betsy’s caliber join the executive team here at the Museum of Ventura County.  Her extensive background in the region both personally and professionally will help draw resources to the Museum—the keeper of the County’s rich stories.”

 Born into a pioneer Santa Paula ranching family, Betsy Blanchard Chess grew up with a desire to understand and preserve Ventura County agriculture and an awareness and respect for the contributions of the past as they enrich the future. She continues her family’s deep commitment to community involvement and support.

 Betsy attended high school at the Bishop’s School in La Jolla and did both graduate and postgraduate work at the University of Southern California, earning a Masters of Arts degree in Modern European History.

 She has written extensively on Ventura County agricultural history and in 1988 became editor and publisher of The Broadcaster Magazine for the Farm Bureau of Ventura County. In 2004, the magazine was expanded to include Santa Barbara County and renamed Central Coast Farm & Ranch. She retired from the magazine in 2013.

 During this same time period, Betsy became a volunteer for the Ventura County Symphony, first with the Design House and then on the symphony’s board of directors. In 1994, she briefly served in a professional capacity as Executive Director for VCS. She returned to the board as a volunteer and helped to oversee the birth of the New West Symphony in 1995. In 1998 she was hired as Executive Director of New West, a position she held until 2002.

 Betsy has worked with numerous arts organizations in the County including the Rubicon Theatre where she served professionally as Interim Managing Director in 2003. As a volunteer she has chaired the Fine Arts Committee at the Museum of Ventura County and served on the Artistic Director Search Committee for the Ventura Music Festival. She is now on the Board of the Music Festival where she served as Board president from 2012-2014.

 She served on the major gifts committee for the opening of the Museum of Ventura County Agricultural Museum in Santa Paula where she also chaired the marketing committee.  She currently serves on the Agriculture Museum’s Advisory Board.

 In 2002, Betsy was named president of the San Buenaventura Foundation for the Arts where she worked to realize the Foundation’s dream of building the Cultural Arts Center in Ventura.

 Betsy was chairman of the Arts Showcase for the Ventura Unified School District in 2005. She also serves on the board of advisors for Women’s Economic Ventures and the Board of Advisors for New West Symphony.  She is a member of Ventura Rotary of which she will be president July 1, 2016– June 30, 2017.

 She was honored by the Ventura Interface Ministerial Association as a 2005 Woman of Vision, three times by the Ventura Rotary Club with Paul Harris Fellowships and by the Ventura County Arts Council with their first ever Arts Stars Award for her work in arts education. In 2011 She was named to the Cultural Affairs Commission of the City of Ventura. In 2012, Women’s Economic Ventures of Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties named Betsy one of five business trailblazers. The Association of Fundraising Professionals named her Volunteer of the Year for Ventura County in 2014. She was named one of the Ventura County Star’s “25 over 50” awardees in 2014.

 \For further information please contact: Stefanie Davis, director of marketing, at (805) 653-0323, x303 or