Nina Dunbar
Nina Dunbar

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation has named Nina Dunbar to serve as donor advisement officer.

Dunbar brings decades of experience in both the nonprofit sector and arts administration and advocacy.  She most recently served as Opera Santa Barbara’s first director of development, where she successfully led the organization’s philanthropic efforts through one of the most disruptive periods in the history of performing arts.

She also served as deputy director of development for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and was the executive director of The Arts Fund of Santa Barbara.

Before moving to Santa Barbara in 2007, Dunbar oversaw the planning and commissioning of award-winning public art and infrastructure projects for the Phoenix Office of Cultural Affairs and the San Francisco Arts Commission.

As a founding partner of AMPS/Arts Management for Public Spaces, she consulted on public art planning, policy, and project management for government and private sector clients in the U.S. and Vancouver, BC. 

She holds a master of arts administration from the University of New Orleans and a BFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University.

As a parent of two Santa Barbara Unified School District graduates, Dunbar believes in the power of quality public schools to transform the outcomes of children’s lives.

“As I look at the trajectory of my own children and their friends into the workforce, I continue to see the powerful influence of key teachers and programs on where they are today,” she said. “Public education has a lasting impact on who we are as individuals and as a community. We should all strive to make it the best possible experience for every student.

“I am deeply honored to be able to support the efforts of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation and its partners in this work.”

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation promotes private support of Santa Barbara’s public education system, serving 12,500 students in 19 schools. For more, visit