Increased access and inclusion creates a more receptive, more equitable, and more integrated community for all of us. (Hillside photo)

As the holiday season approaches, so does Giving Tuesday, celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, which encourages individuals and communities to come together in the spirit of generosity. Beyond the frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday invites us to shift our focus from consumerism to kindness, fostering a collective commitment to making a positive impact.

Join Noozhawk on #GivingTuesday and end the year by giving back to one or several of your favorite organizations listed in our Giving Guide!

Our Good for Santa Barbara Nonprofit Section provides all the resources you need to donate this holiday season!

In this interview Noozhawk spoke with Angela De Bruyn, Marketing and Events Manager, at Hillside to learn more about how the nonprofit is dedicated to providing a home for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and strive to cultivate an environment where every individual is treated with the utmost dignity and respect.


Question: What is the name and mission of your nonprofit?

Answer: We are Hillside and our mission is to provide a home for adults with moderate to severe intellectual and developmental disabilities that supports their efforts to maximize their physical, cognitive, social and emotional abilities, so that they can attain their highest level of independence in an environment where they are treated with dignity and respect.

Q: How long has your nonprofit been in service, and who are its founders?

A: Hillside first opened its doors in 1943 as an organization serving children with cerebral palsy and was conceptualized by George Cukor, Muriel Evans, and Joan Flanders. In 1978 we transitioned from serving only children into care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Q: How is your nonprofit primarily funded and what are your greatest needs?

A: Hillside is primarily funded by Medi-Cal reimbursements however, those funds only cover the costs of our residents’ basic needs. Programs and activities, therapies, uncovered medical costs, and outings are all critical elements for enhancing our residents lives and supporting their dreams and goals. Expenses such as these are covered by fundraising.

Q: In what ways does your nonprofit utilize its funding?

A: Medi-Cal funding helps to cover the most basic medical needs and supplies, housing and facility costs, nutrition, and some staffing and transportation costs for our residents.

Q: What types of fundraisers and/or programs does your nonprofit run?

A: Hillside holds several in-person, fundraising events each year including our Fall Garden Party, Sunset Soiree, and Pickleball Tournament. We have direct mail appeals for Spring, Summer, Year-End, Staff Holiday Bonus, and IRA Distributions. Hillside also has a robust grants department, and emerging monthly giving (“Hillside Heroes”), planned giving and endowment programs.

Q: Describe your organizations staffing models and internal operations. Has anything changed since the start of your nonprofit?

A: As you can imagine, the best practices, models of care, and reimbursements within the non-profit I/DD sector have all changed drastically since Hillside’s inception in 1943. Today, we closely adhere to all recommendations and guidelines for resident care set in place by our licensing agency, the California Department of Public Health. Additionally, we implement a Person-Centered approach to developing care plans, programs, and goals for each resident. This individualized approach ensures optimized attainability of their success and independence.

Q: How do people get involved/volunteer for your nonprofit?

A: Anyone who is interested in learning more about Hillside or volunteering may visit our website at or call (805)687-0788 x110.

Q: What makes your nonprofit different from others?

A: At Hillside, the quality of care and personal attention individuals receive is unmatched. Many of our staff have been here for years and have developed meaningful connections and relationships with residents. Their loyalty and dedication shines through every day.

Q: What is one best kept secret or fun fact about your nonprofit that not everyone knows?

A: Hillside is more than just a non-profit. For the individuals who live here, it’s their home and fellow residents and staff are a loving, extended family.

Q: How does the work of your nonprofit get communicated to the public?

A: Hillside is a leader in I/DD advocacy through community groups like the Santa Barbara Access Advisory Committee and Tri-Counties Regional Center Vendor Advisory as well as programs such as the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara Grants in Action Forum. Our community participation extends to support for projects such as Gwendolyn’s Playground and The Michael Towbes Library Plaza. We offer a lunch and learn program open to the public on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at Noon called “Getting to Know Hillside” (you may visit our website for more information and to RSVP). Hillside has started participating in more public relations outreach through campaigns and publications such as Noozhawk’s Good for Santa Barbara and Montecito Journal’s The Giving List as well as increasing our social media presence. Hillside also holds several events each year like our Fall Garden Party, Sunset Soiree, Pickleball Tournament, and Shining Light on Abilities.

Q: Why should donors trust your organization and are there other ways to help outside of donations?

A: With close to 80 years serving the Santa Barbara community, Hillside’s reputation is well documented, transparent, and credible. This is perhaps most evident in the longstanding relationships with, and support of Hillside by, Santa Barbara’s leading philanthropists and foundations.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about your nonprofit that has not been mentioned above?

A: Hillside is committed to being part of the local, state, and nationwide efforts promoting community inclusion for all people with disabilities. By transforming our existing property and building a new, mixed-abilities neighborhood (the first of its kind in Santa Barbara), Hillside will accomplish several goals… To ensure our residents’ future, and our community’s ability to care for individuals with disabilities for generations to come. To establish a thriving, diverse, integrated neighborhood with adaptive housing for Hillside residents. To provide ADA/ABA housing that meets state and federal standards. And to facilitate greater integration, inclusion and acceptance, thereby generating greater equity for all members of the Santa Barbara community. Follow along on our journey at

Click here to support Hillside’s mission to provide a home for adults with moderate to severe intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Check out Noozhawk’s Guide to Giving for a full list of nonprofits to donate to this giving season.

If you would like to include your nonprofit in our Good for Santa Barbara section and Giving Guide click HERE.