The St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara has awarded grants totaling $709,594 to 14 local programs and organizations during the second of two fiscal year granting cycles.

The foundation announced its first round of grants in February. During the foundation’s 2010-11 fiscal year, which ended June 30, a total of $1,187,104 in grants were awarded to 26 local programs and organizations. These grants direct support to organizations that form a “safety net” of nursing, health care, senior and end-of-life care services in the Santa Barbara South Coast community area, with special emphasis on those most in need. Many of the programs that the St. Francis Foundation support also save the community the high costs of emergency and crisis health care.

“Access to affordable health care is a struggle for people all over our country, and right here at home,” said Debbie Cloud, executive director of the St. Francis Foundation. “We saw a significant increase in the number of grant applications this year. More than ever, we are grateful to our donors who are entrusting the Foundation to direct their support to caring for our most vulnerable, and to the education and prevention that result in the opportunities that come with better health.”

The St. Francis Foundation has a long-standing tradition of supporting and promoting health care for the community’s most vulnerable residents. From the Parish Nursing Community Outreach program, operated by Cottage Health System, to funding nursing scholarships at SBCC and supporting physical and mental health care, the St. Francis Foundation acts as a steward to identify and support local organizations committed to serving those most in need.

“Because of the generosity of our donors, the St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara continues to carry out our vital work in the community,” said Andrew Ochsner, St. Francis Foundation board president. “The clarity of our mission guides our granting decisions, so these worthy organizations can provide clinical and compassionate care to so many who would otherwise have to face frailty, illness, homelessness or the end-of-life alone.”

St. Francis Foundation June 2011 Grantees

Parish Nursing Community Outreach Program

The Parish Nursing Community Outreach Program was established to bring health care directly to people most in need and to ensure people learn to incorporate good health habits into their daily lives. Through major funding by the St. Francis Foundation, Parish Nursing, operated by Cottage Health System, reaches thousands of people in need each year through faith communities, home and hospital visits, screenings and educational programs.

Liberty Program

The Liberty Program, sponsored by the St. Francis Foundation and managed through Cottage Health System, offers qualified individuals free laser treatments to remove visible anti-social, gang or prison tattoos in exchange for the completion of community service at a nonprofit organization. The Liberty Program will continue through the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, beginning in August.

Capital Contributions

» Cottage Hospital

Homeless Outreach and Health Care Assistance

» Casa Esperanza: Support for 24-hour on-site nursing care with parish nurses, CNAs and a medical outreach coordinator, as well as transportation expenses from the shelter to the Cottage Hospital emergency room.

» WillBridge of Santa Barbara: On-site nursing care for people transitioning from chronic homelessness.

End-of-Life Care

» Alliance for Living and Dying Well: A countywide collaboration of end-of-life services for individuals and families; scanning equipment for Five Wishes events and outreach coordinator.

General Support (organizations providing medical, mental health and/or homeless services)

» Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics: Support of the Care for Every Child Program.

Medical, Mental Health and/or Homeless Services

» Mental Health Association in Santa Barbara County: Health care for people living with mental illness.

» New Beginnings Counseling Center: Homeless outreach programs.

Medical (dental, vision)

» SEE International: Santa Barbara Vision Care Program for low-income local adults and children, including screenings and surgery.

Memorial:

» St. Anthony’s Dining Room: In memory of Argentina Pearson.

» Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart: In memory of Sister Sylvianne Mattern.

Nursing Scholarships

» SBCC: The St. Francis Foundation funds annual scholarships at SBCC for nursing, sonography and ultrasound degrees. The St. Francis Hospital Guild Associate Degree in Nursing Scholarship is awarded to promising students who demonstrate a strong commitment to a life and career in nursing.

Senior Services Program

» Friendship Center: On-site nurse for senior day care center.

» Gatekeepers: Education program support for isolated and vulnerable seniors.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara.