Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara

OVERVIEW: This is a women’s giving fund that is affiliated with the Santa Barbara Foundation but that researches and awards its own annual grants. Grants are largely focused on the needs of women and children in the Santa Barbara area of California.

FUNDING AREAS: Critical needs of women, children and families in south Santa Barbara County, California

IP TAKE:  Grants from this women’s fund are considerably larger than from other similar entities. If invited to apply, startups and grassroots groups have some good opportunities here in Santa Barbara.

PROFILE: The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara (WFSB) is a collective donor group based in Santa Barbara, California. Dating back to 2004, it was originally a field-of-interest fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation and received early support from the Orfalea Foundation. The Santa Barbara Foundation still serves as WFSB’s fiscal home and partner after the fund refined its goals and giving strategy. The foundation is “committed to building a large community of educated, strategic givers who are inspired to make lasting change in our community through the impact of collective giving.” WFSB gives to groups that support the critical needs of women, children, and families in the county.

With a strong focus on local women and children, WFSB awards grants by collecting membership donations from its members. Specific topics of interest for this fund include low-income housing projects, early childhood education, high school bullying prevention, mental health services for women, and college readiness for girls. Past grantees include People’s Self-Help Housing, the PEAC Program for Effective Access to College, Channel Islands YMCA, and Domestic Violence Solutions.

WFSB awards grants in the range of $25,000 to $80,000, and the women members choose between seven and ten new grantees each year. Grantmaking is restricted to nonprofits in Santa Barbara County, California. Grants are awarded once per year. This is a funder that often supports grassroots organizations, but familiar names like local YMCAs also receive funding.

WFSB does not provide any online applications for grantseekers to complete or specific details about how to apply for a grant. Instead, the funder rejects unsolicited funding applications and draws from a master list of nonprofits to invite to send applications. This funder does not provide scholarships or funding for lobbying or advocacy. Rather, it supports pre-selected groups that help local women, children, and families. There’s a research committee here that conducts its own research about local nonprofits, which are voted on by members and calculated by a simple majority vote. Keep up with what this funder is doing by following its news section. You can reach out to the foundation via online form or by calling (805) 963-1873.


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