2021 Annual Report

Mobilizing Collective Resources for Santa Barbara County


The Santa Barbara Foundation (SBF) works – in partnership with individuals, families, community organizations, nonprofits, businesses, and government – to strive to address our communities’ most challenging needs. SBF recognizes that our work depends on the strength of the nonprofit sector and we are committed to its health and vitality. SBF’s 2021 Annual Report provides examples of how the Foundation works on behalf of Santa Barbara County and asks our community members to engage with us to enhance the lives of all who live in our region.

Explore Our Impact in 2021

View Select Highlights from the Annual Report Below

Letter from Our Leaders, Steve Hicks & Jackie Carrera

At the core of the Santa Barbara Foundation is our community and the collective wisdom and resources we deploy to help solve community challenges. We work in many ways to support community leaders, provide grants, partner with donors and our social sector, and lead initiatives — all in an effort to enhance the lives of all who experience Santa Barbara County. The greatest example in 2021 of the beauty of our community was the effort to Save the San Marcos Foothills with the Santa Barbara Foundation proudly serving as the fiscal sponsor. Over 5,500 donations from $1 to $5 million totaling $18 million was raised in 90 days which enabled the purchase and preservation of the sacred indigenous plot of land that all may now enjoy. What a true community effort.

Community connections deepened as the pandemic continued. When the crisis appeared to subside, a new variant would take shape and spread, sending us back into uncertainty. With each wave, SBF leaned into its partnerships, providing support to small businesses, aiding government entities, and resourcing nonprofit partners to meet day-to-day needs of community members. The Foundation acknowledged the immense toll this took on our nonprofits and provided COVID-19 grants to support their general operations. Our COVID-19 support totaled over $1.9 million in 179 grants to nonprofits and small businesses (please see our COVID-19 Impact Report for the full story). Without a pause, these crisis response programs ran alongside the Foundation’s planned work — administering all of our regular grant programs that support our most vulnerable and working families amounting to over $6.6 million in discretionary investments in our County.

In June 2021, the Foundation supported the launch of the Santa Barbara County Veterans’ Collaborative, addressing a need for better coordination of diverse veterans’ services in the region. This need had been identified in a veteran assessment which had been led by former SBF staff member Kathy Simas, who recently retired after 20 years of service at the Foundation. Through our Collaboration for Social Impact, the Foundation partnered with Datalake and the University of San Diego Nonprofit Institute to provide the 2021 State of the Nonprofits Report for Santa Barbara County which highlights the needs and challenges of our hardworking nonprofit leaders.

This April 2022, we were finally able to open our offices to the public. We were also able to honor our Santa Barbara County first responders and nonprofit leaders, who worked tirelessly through the ongoing pandemic, with two happy hour events with over 350 attendees. The team at the Santa Barbara Foundation is honored to be your community foundation and together with our donors, we have invested $38 million in over 2,700 total grants in 2021 in Santa Barbara County. The community is our heart and soul.

In Community,





Steve Hicks, Chair of the Board, and Jackie Carrera, President & CEO


Together, We Saved the San Marcos Foothills

So how did a group of volunteer community members achieve the seemingly impossible task of raising over $18 million in just three months?…Read More


Santa Barbara County Veterans Collaborative

What about Santa Barbara County’s veterans?…Read More


Providing Gateways for Youth

Established in 2009 by Co-Executive Directors and Co-Founders Audrey Gamble and Connie Alexander,…Read More



Our Collective Impact

Thank you to our 2021 Grantees

Through the Foundation’s discretionary dollars, we are able to provide support for organizations that work with our more vulnerable populations and working families. We are grateful to our 2021 grantees who work so hard in our communities across Santa Barbara County…View SBF’s 2021 Grantees

2021 Financials 

At the close of 2021, the Santa Barbara Foundation along with our generous donors gave $38 million in grants, received $48.1 million in contributions, and had $591 million in assets. Learn more on theFinancials page.

SBF 2021 Community Investments

$6,600,000 Discretionary

KEY: A. Arts, Culture, & Humanities, B. Behavioral Health, C. Child Care, D. Education & Youth Development, E. Environment & Animals, F. Food Systems, G. Health Care, H. Housing & Shelter, I. Human Services, J. Miscellaneous, K. Public & Societal Benefit, L. Workforce Development

The Foundation provided $6.6 million in discretionary dollars (funds invested at the Foundation’s discretion) supporting basic human needs like behavioral health (B), health care (G), food (F), shelter and safety (H & K), and addressing the concerns of the working family, including child care (C), education (D), workforce development (L), and workforce housing (H), as well as supporting our nonprofit sectors (K) in the Collaboration for Social Impact.

$31,400,000 Non-Discretionary

KEY: A. Arts, Culture, & Humanities, B. Behavioral Health, C. Child Care, D. Education & Youth Development, E. Environment & Animals, F. Food Systems, G. Health Care, H. Housing & Shelter, I. Human Services, J. Miscellaneous, K. Public & Societal Benefit

With the generosity of our donors, SBF distributed $31.4 million in non-discretionary dollars (funds not left to the Foundation’s discretion) through our philanthropic services department which stewards donor-advised funds, donor-designated funds, field of interest funds, fiscal sponsorships, supporting organizations, agency endowments, and investments.