Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding Santa Barbara Foundation grant programs. If you do not find the answers you are looking for here, please feel free to contact a member of our Community Investments team.
What does the Foundation fund?
The Santa Barbara Foundation provides grants to 501(c)(3) organizations or those operating under a fiscal agent, who provide services within Santa Barbara County.
What will not be funded by the Santa Barbara Foundation?
The Foundation does not make grants for the following purposes or activities:
- Fundraising events
- Religious organizations for religious purposes
- Government entities for basic services
- Projects that discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, race, color, creed, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any veteran status.
- Activities that occurred prior to the beginning date of the grant.
What are the available grant programs?
We offer two competitive grant programs in 2012:
- Strategy Grants: Annual grants offered in three different grant areas: Core Support and Capital grants up to $50,000; and Innovation grants: $75,000. Committee members reserve the right to reduce or increase awarded grant amount.
- Express Grants: Monthly grants up to $5,000 to support organizational development, small and defined projects, match funding, or emergency requests.
Can an organization receive a Strategy Grant, Express Grant, and attend multiple Nonprofit Excellence programs in a calendar year?
Yes, an organization is eligible to receive one Strategy Grant and one Express Grant for the organization. Additionally, an organization can receive additional Strategy Grants and/or Express Grants through participating in a collaborative grant with other partners. Santa Barbara Foundation knows true collaboration is difficult and wants to encourage organizations partnering with others to address critical community issues, without jeopardizing funding for their organization. Further, organizations are elgibile to participate in all five Nonprofit Excellence programs in addition to receiving the Stategy and Express grants.
How do I submit an application?
The Santa Barbara Foundation now offers electronic applications for all our grant programs. Visit our Grant Opportunities
page to download the instructions and application for specific grant programs.
Who decides the Foundation’s grantmaking strategies and priorities?
The Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees approve the strategies and priorities of each grant program, for which the staff provides input.
Am I eligible to apply if my organization does not have a tax-exempt/501(c)(3) status?
A non-501(c)(3) is eligible to apply under a fiscal agent who is a registered 501(c)(3) within the same sector of work (ie. an arts group needs to use an arts fiscal agent, not human services). The fiscal agent assumes fiscal responsibility for the grant.
If our proposal does not get funded, will we receive comments from the reviewers or a debriefing from the Foundation?
Due to the enormous volume of proposals we receive (approximately 500 applications per year), we cannot provide specific comments on every application. As a suggestion, please contact your Community Investment Officer before submitting a grant to ensure it is competitive for the program.
Each application is evaluated on its own merit based on the criteria of each of the grant programs – Core Support, Capital and Innovation. Applications will be carefully reviewed and evaluated by grant committees made up of foundation trustees, community members and foundation staff.
Does the Foundation provide grants to individuals?
What other programs does the Foundation offer to nonprofits?
The Foundation is pleased to offer our Nonprofit Excellence program, which provides nonprofit executives educational opportunities. Learn more about our Nonprofit Excellence program.
Are general operating support grants awarded?
Yes, organizations can request general operating support as part of their Strategy Grant request for the Core Support grant program. Core Support grants provides unrestricted funding for organizations providing food, shelter and health services for the most vulnerable in our community. Organizations applying for Innovation grants may also include general operating expenses as part of their request. However, it will be important to demonstrate how operating expenses will help the organization achieve the outcomes outlined in the proposal to address critical community problems, needs, gaps or opportunities in the community.
Is multi-year funding available?
No, the Board of Trustees has determined to only offer one-year funding at this time. However, competitive programs have been funded multiple years by reapplying annually. The Board has the right to revise this policy in coming years.
How are Strategy Grant applications evaluated?
With support from staff and community volunteers, the Foundation seeks to fund the best proposals that will lead to a more vibrant community. Projects are reviewed on individual merit, based on the type of Strategy Grant applied for (Core Support, Capital, or Innovation). We consider the community need to be addressed as well as the capacity of the organization to achieve the proposed results.
What is the evaluation criteria for Strategy Grant applications?
We seek to be transparent about our evaluation process for our competitive grant programs. Depending on the type of grant applied for, applications may be reviewed by staff, committee members, and/or the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. For general suggestions, please see our criteria outlined in Elements of a Strong Proposal.
What is the Strategy Grant review process?
Strategy Grants are initially reviewed and analyzed by staff and then presented to a committee composed of board and community members with various areas of expertise. Recommendations from the committee are presented to the Board of Trustees for approval on all grant applications.
I received a survey link with my application confirmation email. Do I have to do it?
We kindly ask that you complete the follow-up survey so we may track the effectiveness and ease of the grant program application process. We hope to offer you the best experience when completing an application, so your feedback helps us improve our processes.
How do I submit an application?
The Santa Barbara Foundation now offers electronic applications for all of our grant programs. Visit our Grant Opportunities page to download the instructions and application for specific grant programs. Save the document to your computer before you begin to type. We suggest answering the questions in a Word document, then pasting your responses into the form. By using Word, you will be backing-up your content by saving it in two places—Word and the application. Once complete, email your application and any requested attachments to the email address designated on the grant program instructions. Type your organization’s name and grant type into the subject line of the email. You will receive a confirmation email.
I prefer paper application forms to those that are online. Can I submit a paper copy instead?
The Santa Barbara Foundation requests electronic submissions as we seek to reduce processing time and assure that our records are up-to-date and accurate.
Here are a few notes that may address your concern. Our grant applications are in Adobe Reader format, a universal and free program. After you have downloaded the most recent version of Adobe Reader (found on our website with the application), you use the “FileàSave As” feature to save the application to your local computer. When the application is saved to your computer, you may work on the application over an extended period of time, saving as you go. Once completed, you may send the application to the Foundation as a regular attachment via email. If we have any trouble viewing your application materials, we will quickly contact you.
I am having difficulty saving and/or typing in a Santa Barbara Foundation application. What is wrong?
First, ensure you have downloaded the free, updated Adobe Reader, available on our website on the same webpage you downloaded your application. If you have not done this, you are probably having trouble typing and saving your work. Second, make sure the fields in the application are highlighted in light blue. If you do not see light blue boxes throughout the application, look for the Highlight Fields button located at the top right of your application window. If you continue having trouble with any technical aspect of the application, please call our Grants Administrator, Jack Azar, at (805-880-9354) and he will be happy to troubleshoot with you.
The application does not have enough room for the information I want to include. Can I submit additional information?
The applications are intentionally formatted to limit the amount of text for two purposes. First, upon review of applications, it is the staff's experience that organizations most effectively make a succinct, compelling statement within a limited space. Second, to be fair to all applicants, everyone is given the same space to provide their rationale. Therefore, any additional information submitted will not be reviewed. Thank you for your understanding.
MAC USERS must open all of our application forms in Adobe Reader. To do this, first download the latest version of Adobe Reader from our website. Second, click on the link to the application and use the File - Save As feature to save the application to your local computer. When opening the form, it is important to press the Control key as you single click on the application you are opening. Then, choose Open with Adobe Reader. This process is the only way to ensure you are using Adobe Reader to view and use our application and is necessary as our forms do not function correctly in Mac Preview.