Youth Mental Health Providers Recruit, Retain, Rest and Recuperation (4R) Grant Program

Youth Mental Health Providers Recruit, Retain, Rest and Recuperation (4R) Grant Program


The Youth Mental Health Providers Recruit, Retain, Rest and Recuperation Fund (4R) was established in 2023 by Carrie Towbes in partnership with the Santa Barbara Foundation, with a vision to ensure support for mental health providers delivering direct behavioral healthcare to children, youth and their families and caregivers. Grants will provide resources to organizations that are providing direct support to youth and their families with the goal of supporting and improving young people’s social emotional health. Click here to read more about Carrie’s story.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated and illuminated the youth mental health crisis. It took a toll on everyone regardless of age, race, socio-economic status, beliefs, or geography. However, our youth have been disproportionately impacted. Remote learning created inequities in academic achievement and stymied social emotional development. School administrators, mental health professionals, parents, and students themselves have expressed that youth mental health has reached crisis levels.

An October 2022 survey of mental health providers and stakeholders in various settings across Santa Barbara County sought to help understand the mental and behavioral health staffing shortages that plague mental health care across the county. Key findings included a substantial number of vacancies, as well as wage disparities among positions and organizations. These shortages lead to burnout and high turnover, which compromise care for our youth at schools, healthcare facilities, and community-based organizations.

The following is guidance for organizations who are invited to participate in this grant opportunity. If your organization has been invited to apply, please review the information below to submit your application.


In partnership with local funders, the 4R Grant Program supports organizations’ staffing needs as they work to improve youth social emotional health and mental wellness in Santa Barbara County. Funds may be used for the following, including but not limited to:

  • Attracting and retaining youth mental health professionals
  • Providing youth mental health providers with support for secondary trauma related to their work in the Santa
    Barbara County community.

We are particularly interested in effective recruitment and retention strategies that are innovative and collaborative.


Priority will be given to organizations and programs that:

  • have mental health professionals providing direct services to youth, families and caregivers in Santa Barbara
  • have clearly defined goals and outcomes, and a strategy and timeline in place for achieving the stated goals
  • have worked to evaluate their pay structures and professionalized their compensation strategies
  • have identified and plan to utilize some assessment and evaluation tools to measure grant performance and

Funding Amounts and Duration

Grants are for up to $10,000 for a one-year period.

Upon invitation, access will be provided to our SmartSimple grant application, which includes the following documents:

  • Organizational profile (may have already been completed if organization has applied to any SBF grant programs in
  • Program Budget Form
  • Narrative answering the following questions:
    • How do you plan to use the funds? – If the funding is for staff salary, how will the position be sustained, or if not sustained, why isn’t it a permanent position?
    • How will you evaluate the impact of these funds?
    • Please describe what steps, if any, you have taken to evaluate your pay structure and how you plan to ensure a standard system of equitable pay.
    • Is there any other pertinent organizational information you feel we should know?


Important Dates

February 26 – March 15, 2024 RFQ Period 
April 8 – May 7, 2024 Application period (if invited to apply)
August 2024
Award Notification


Click here to contribute to the Youth Mental Health Providers Recruit, Retain, Rest and Recuperation Fund (4R).

Contact Information

For questions about the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Youth Mental Health Providers R4 Grant and funding eligibility,
please contact Jenny Kearns, at (805) 880-9363 or

For questions regarding technical assistance and support, please contact Hazel Naftzger, Community Engagement Data
and Administrative Associate, at 805.880.9377 or