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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 1:37 am | Fair 50º

 
 
 
 

Women’s Fund Receives $250,000 Matching Grant from Betty Elings Wells

The longtime Santa Barbara philanthropist hopes to inspire more support for the volunteer donor group

During a time of economic uncertainty and lower trends in charitable giving, one longtime Santa Barbara philanthropist is leading the way and demonstrating her belief in the power of collective giving, through the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara.

Betty Elings Wells, a member of the Women’s Fund since 2005, has committed $250,000 in a 2-for-1 match for every dollar the Women’s Fund raises above $350,000 by Dec. 1. As of May 1, Women’s Fund members and contributors have donated nearly $275,000.

The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara is a collective volunteer donor group that enables women to pool their charitable dollars to provide significant grants that address critical needs of women, children and families in the Santa Barbara area.

During the past six years, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara has awarded grants totaling more than $2.5 million to 33 nonprofits in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria. In 2009, the Women’s Fund awarded significant grants to the Casa Esperanza Homeless Shelter, Catholic Charities of Santa Barbara, Domestic Violence Solutions, the Sarah House and St. Vincent’s.

Click here for a full list of all gifts the Women’s Fund has given since 2004.

The goal of the Betty Elings Wells Matching Grant is to inspire more women to join the Women’s Fund and to motivate the community to increase the size of their donations in order to enlarge the pool of funds the Women’s Fund will be able to award to local nonprofit agencies early next year. The Women’s Fund awarded $365,000 in grants this past February after raising $350,000 from members in 2009. When $350,000 has been raised this year, the Betty Elings Wells Grant will go into effect, matching every subsequent dollar donated, 2 for 1.

“I was drawn to the Women’s Fund by their successful track record of pooling charitable dollars to make a greater, more significant impact on local programs and services,” Wells said. “I’m also impressed by their efficiency. The Women’s Fund is run by volunteers who spend only 3 percent of the money they raise on expenses — due in large part to the generosity of member underwriters. I was inspired by that, and hope this matching grant, in turn, inspires members and the community to go above and beyond this year.”

“We are extremely grateful to Betty for this incredible opportunity she has created for the Women’s Fund,” said Carol Palladini, the Women’s Fund’s founding chairwoman. ”This matching grant is powerful motivation to our members and potential new members to make their contributions to the Women’s Fund go even further, enabling us to provide even more support to the critical programs and services we fund in Santa Barbara.”

— Jennifer Guess is a publicist.

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