Santa Barbara Foundation Reports on Grant Making, Strategic Initiatives and Partnership Opportunities

by | Feb 12, 2024 | Featured Nonprofits

Nearly 50 nonprofit representatives filled the Sponsel meeting room at the Santa Barbara Foundation Tuesday morning hoping to hear the latest about funding opportunities.

They were not disappointed.

Ten enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff members took turns explaining all aspects of the Foundation’s upcoming grantmaking season. From first time registration to profile setup to the application and final reports. Eager attendees heard all about the various categories of grants, the timing of applications and reporting on results.

Speakers emphasized the importance of increased collaboration among nonprofits, the need for grant funding to be more flexible and the importance of codifying diversity, equity, inclusion and access to services.

They highlighted the Foundation’s goal of maximizing the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector, helping organizations expand their capacity, encouraging greater community impact and supporting the plethora of charities throughout Santa Barbara County.

This is especially important given that the State of Nonprofits report funded by the Foundation showed that 81% of nonprofit respondents saw an increase in demand for services last year.

The Santa Barbara Foundation has been supporting local nonprofits for 96 years. Working with local leaders, a broad range of stakeholders and many generous donors, the Foundation invested more than $27 million in over 2,800 total grants in 2022 throughout Santa Barbara County.

Grant categories include Small Capacity Grants up to $6,000; Towbes Fund for the Performing Arts up to $15,000; William & Lottie Daniel Scholarship at $50,000; Conservation, Environment and Public Trails Grants to $25,000; Tri-Counties Blood Bank; Child Care awards to $15,000 and Behavioral Health/Health Care, Food, Shelter & Safety with grant awards up to $30,000.

A new funding focus is on youth mental health which offers grants up to $10,000 per year. This program emphasizes the “4Rs” for nonprofit staff members: Recruitment, Retention, Rest and Recuperation.

Leaders at the Foundation are in the process of collecting data, information and ideas to address Santa Barbara County’s housing crisis. “Stable and affordable housing is essential to Santa Barbara County’s collective health, well-being and economic prosperity,” said Jackie Carrera, President & CEO of Santa Barbara Foundation. “Yet, for too many, housing is unaffordable or even unattainable.”

The Housing Affordability Report, published in 2023, explores ways philanthropy can work together with government, business and nonprofits to increase housing affordability.

“Now more than ever, Santa Barbara County’s housing crisis calls for us to come together to develop and implement philanthropic solutions to address housing affordability,” said Stephen Hicks, Board Chair of Santa Barbara Foundation. “As the Foundation expands our commitment to support advocacy efforts, collect and share research and best practices and facilitate philanthropic investment in housing solutions, we need our public, private and philanthropic partners.”

The Santa Barbara Foundation, with over $650 million in assets, offers donors the opportunity to invest in enhancing our community by supporting nonprofits in their essential work. From social services, to music and the arts, to youth activities, to healthcare, to serving the elderly—over 2,000 nonprofits work every day to make Santa Barbara County a better place to live.

Anyone who wants to do their part to improve our community can find many philanthropic opportunities at the Santa Barbara Foundation.

“The Santa Barbara Foundation wants to partner with nonprofits and be a connector,” said Liz Thasiah, Vice President of Programs. “We pride ourselves on being a learning organization.”