Ned Emerson

ned emerson

Board Chair, 2018-2020
Board Member, 2010-2011, 2014, 2017-2022

Ned grew up in Hermosa Beach, California and moved to Santa Barbara more than sixty years ago to play football at UCSB. While in college, he and a fraternity brother started a small silk-screening business that would evolve into his career. For 25 years he ran Shoreline Sportswear before transitioning to a sales role at JanSport and later as a successful independent sales professional. His business acumen benefitted the Mental Wellness Center, where he has served on the board for many years, yet Ned claims that his most significant contribution to the organization was as a volunteer driver.

“Once per week I would drive the Mental Wellness Center cook to the Santa Barbara Foodbank to get hot lunch supplies, served to clinic patients,” Ned said. “I did nine years’ and two hernias’ worth of driving,” he joked.

At that time, the cooks were also patients – some recovering alcoholics and others suffering from mental health issues, so Ned became the “schlepper” as he referred to it.

Joking aside, Ned enjoyed driving and interacting with patients as well as Foodbank staff immensely. He empathized with the toll that mental illness takes and he was delighted to help. Ned’s mother suffered from depression throughout his life and he was involved in securing clinical support and long-term care for her.

It would be another family member that deepened Ned’s commitment to the organization. His stepdaughter suffered from a neurological disorder resulting in bouts of mental illness. His wife, Ann Lippincott, attended family classes offered through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an affiliate of the Mental Wellness Center. The classes were designed to help family members and caregivers cope with the impacts of serious mental health disorders in their families.

Ann would later teach those same classes and would go on to spearhead far-reaching education initiatives at the Mental Wellness Center. It became a family affair for Ned and his wife, who each served on the board and have remained stalwart supporters of the organization for decades.

“It’s been a good fit for both of us,” said Ned, who is currently serving his second, six-year term.

Ned’s strong business and sales background was a tremendous asset to the finance committee, which he served for many years and chaired for two. He was also recognized for his vast contributions to the Fellowship Club at the Recovery Learning Center for which he was named 2012 Volunteer of the Year. Most recently Ned served as Chair of the Board of Trustees from 2018-2020.

Now 80-years-old, Ned no longer serves as a driver, but he is still an active board member and someone who can always be counted on to keep everyone laughing.