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Santa Barbara Foundation Distributes More Than $22 Million in Grants in 2013

In 2013, the Santa Barbara Foundation, together with its donor partners, distributed more than $22 million in charitable grants.

These community investments helped fuel the good work of community organizations — primarily in Santa Barbara County — making significant impact by addressing critical challenges and compelling needs.

Year-end grants are a component of the foundation’s charitable giving. Of the more than $22 million, grants from donor funds comprised more than $11 million or 48 percent of this amount and foundation funds represented $1.5 million or 7 percent in year-end community impact grants to 32 nonprofits.

The 2013 grant program helped solidify continued community needs and priorities, such as the safety net services for the most vulnerable in the community, as well as new opportunities to partner with key organizations in the areas of health care, education, and environment to improve community outcomes.

“The year-end grants represented a transition from the completely responsive grant program of the past to a more strategic alignment with the foundation’s focus areas and initiatives,” said Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “Our donor investors worked with us on this transition and now, moving into 2014, we are creating new opportunities and partnerships.”

In addition to the $750,000 investment to support the safety net of core support services provided by organizations in the areas of food, housing, and health services, the largest competitive grant the foundation has ever made was provided to Marian Medical Center Foundation to support a new family practice residency program. The project addresses the projected shortfall for family doctors in the northern communities in the future, while aligning with the foundation’s priorities of expanding health care access across the county. This partnership will also provide opportunities to improve community health outcomes through education and outreach, and creates an economic benefit for the region through expanded opportunities for allied health professionals.

In the area of education, the foundation made a large investment in parent engagement with a grant to Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) to ensure student success in their academic career paths through parent engagement and education. With the effort of residents and local community services, projects such as THRIVE, an established innovative public-private education collaborative, and parent engagement programs, such as PIQE, will continue to enhance the support of children and families to further promote early childhood success.

The foundation also supported a number of education-based capital campaigns and projects, including the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. These two capital improvement projects also support environmental and science education.

Additional investment in the environment was made with a planning grant to the Environmental Defense Center to design a voluntary incentive-based pilot project in the Santa Barbara Channel to reduce cargo ship speed that has potential to significantly reduce whale strikes and air pollution that impacts the onshore communities.

Access and equity were also addressed with investments made to support facilities that provide places for people to meet or celebrate, such as the Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building, which also supports veterans services, and the Goleta Valley Historical Society/Stow House. In addition, a grant went to the Central Coast Literacy Council to encourage businesses to become more engaged to help their workforce improve literacy skills to ensure safety on the job, greater opportunities for advancement, and to stabilize the local workforce.

And finally, providing opportunities for children and youth to play in safe environments or pursue their passion for the arts was supported with grants to People for Leisure and Youth for a new park in Santa Maria, and the Arts Mentorship Program for a new dance facility in the eastside neighborhood in Santa Barbara.

“This grant investment program enables the foundation to advance the core elements of the foundation’s work — promoting philanthropy, responding to community needs, and strengthening our local social sector,” said Al Rodriguez, vice president for community investments at the Santa Barbara Foundation. “The ideal outcome from these investments is a community brimming with vibrancy and vitality.”

Grants are supported by income from the foundation’s unrestricted endowment and are awarded competitively based on a rigorous process of research, due diligence, planning and evaluation. Three types of grants were offered in 2013 — core support to help organizations serving the most vulnerable members of the community by addressing hunger, shelter, and primary and behavioral health care needs; capital support to improve, refurbish, expand, or develop infrastructure and facilities to address community needs; and innovation grants to support compelling projects, approaches, or organizational structures that provide effective pathways to problem solving in order to improve community outcomes. Known as Strategy Grants, these grants are the foundation's largest responsive grants program.

Through donors’ passions and strategic grantmaking utilizing the foundation’s expertise, purposeful philanthropy goes beyond dollars in the community impact achieved. The continuous integration of inspired investments into the community, along with careful stewardship of foundation assets, is the catalyst for positive change that is the key to the successful collective future of all county residents.

The foundation’s discretionary investments in 2013 were made with funding by partner investors including the Cavalletto Charities, and through Santa Barbara Foundation donor advised and field of interest funds.

Click here for details on the foundation’s grantmaking or to learn more about the ongoing work of grantees.

— Jessica Tade is the director of communications and marketing for the Santa Barbara Foundation.

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