OSB Bravo Society Highlights | Nancy Golden

• OSB Bravo Society Highlights | Nancy Golden •

As we close out our Bravo Society introductions series for this season, it is a pleasure to share some background on former Opera SB board chair, Endowment Fund annual donor and Bravo Society member, Nancy Golden. Nancy met with OSB Director of Development, Nina Dunbar, for lunch on a beautiful afternoon in May where she described growing up in Southport, Connecticut, her discovery of opera and her career trajectory and life in Santa Barbara.


Like many Bravo Society members, classical music was a part of Nancy’s childhood and early education. Her father loved Mozart and she recalls the constant presence of WQXR classical music radio playing in her home and lively family debates around favorite composers. Although she professes to have no singing talent, Nancy fondly remembers her years at theThomas School performing a Bach chorale each morning and a Bach cantata every spring. Her introduction to opera began with studying Carmen in 7th grade and traveling with her class to nearby New York City to see it performed at the old Metropolitan Opera House. The next year, La bohème was taught and she was hooked.

Nancy earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature at Russell Sage College in Troy, New York and went on to hold a succession of marketing positions with Time Inc. in New York. In 1990 she founded Golden Direct Fundraising, a direct mail consultancy working with a diverse range of nonprofit clients including museums, environmental groups, the performing arts, and human service organizations in the San Francisco Bay area.

Nancy and her husband, Fred, moved to Santa Barbara in 1995 after having lived in San Francisco the previous seven years. She joined the board of Opera Santa Barbara in 1999 at the invitation of co-founder, Marilyn Gilbert. She’s remained active in various leadership roles on the board for the last two decades while supporting other nonprofits and running her business. In their spare time, Nancy and Fred enjoy biking and exploring the Santa Barbara Channel on their sailboat, the Pangaea.

Although no longer on the Opera SB board, during her tenure as Board President, Nancy grew to appreciate the importance of building an endowment to help insulate the company from frequent boom and bust financial cycles endured by most performing arts groups. Observing the devastating impact of Covid closures on so many arts groups this year affirmed her view. As a Bravo Society member since 2004, Nancy was already committed to leaving a legacy to an art form that has given her so much pleasure during her lifetime. More recently, she’s become a proud annual donor to Opera SB’s Endowment Fund.

“This year has made me realize that I can leave a legacy now. I will continue to support the operas I love each year but helping to grow Opera SB’s endowment is one of the best investments I can make to ensure Santa Barbara will have a vibrant and stable regional opera company in the future.”


You too can ensure opera continues to flourish in Santa Barbara for generations to come by joining the Bravo Society through including a gift to Opera SB in your estate plan or by making a gift now to our Endowment Fund.  Please contact Nina Dunbar, Director of Development at 805- 898-3890, ext. 203 or [email protected] for details.



L'Elisir d'Amore, March 2016, Photo by David Bazemore