Santa Barbara Foundation

OVERVIEW: This community funder supports nonprofits in Santa Barbara County, California. Its funding priorities include youth, organizational capacity, education, blood research and education, landscapes, ecosystems, agriculture and food systems, and community caregiving.

IP TAKE: Preserving the natural beauty and land in Santa Barbara County is very important to this funder. Consider pitching an idea to the LEAF Initiative for a local environmental program. It accepts unsolicited grant applications for some programs.

PROFILE: The Santa Barbara Foundation (SBF) was established by Max Fleischmann in 1928 to serve people living in the area between Santa Maria and Carpinteria. It seeks to “mobilize collective wisdom and philanthropic capital to build empathetic, inclusive and resilient communities.” The foundation has north county headquarters in Santa Maria and south county headquarters in Santa Barbara.

The foundation has multiple community grant programs to respond to urgent needs and requests from local nonprofits. Youth grants support programs for the development of young people, while express grants award up to $5,000 to strengthen the organizational capacity of nonprofits. SBF facilitates the William and Lottie Daniel Child Care Scholarships for quality child care for local families. The foundation also provides blood research and education grants through the Tri-Counties Blood Bank. Additionally, SBF offers grant opportunities through initiatives for landscapes, ecosystems, agriculture and food systems, and community caregiving.

Grant seekers can download the grant application from its website. Only nonprofits that serve Santa Barbara County are eligible to apply. SBF also accepts grant applications from schools, libraries, and other public entities through an affiliate or supporting organization. As a rule, SBF does not support fundraising events, recurring events, annual events, or individuals. Completed grant applications should be sent via email to—grant seekers will receive an automatic response upon receipt of the application. The foundation does not accept paper applications.  

Community investments grants support the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara, Hospice of Santa Barbara, and American Dance and Music. Funding for express grants and timely opportunities supports C.A.R.E. 4 Paws, the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, the Pacific Pride Foundation, and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

In a recent year, the foundation had over $474 million in assets and made over $30.2 million in grants and contributions. View current financial data here.

Direct general questions to the staff at Reach the Santa Barbara office at (805) 963-1873 and the Santa Maria office at (805) 346-6123. Keep up with foundation news and upcoming events on the website.  


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