What is the Santa Barbara Foundation?

What is the Santa Barbara Foundation? from Santa Barbara Foundation on Vimeo.

Since 1928, the Santa Barbara Foundation (SBF), a community foundation for Santa Barbara County, has created meaningful change for the region through inclusive collaboration, philanthropic advising, strategic grantmaking, and strengthening our regional nonprofits. Our mission is to mobilize collective wisdom and philanthropic capital to build empathetic, inclusive, and resilient communities across the central coast. The team at the Santa Barbara Foundation is honored to be your community foundation, and together with our donors, we have invested $37 million in over 2,700 total grants in 2021 and are well on our way to surpassing that effort in 2022. SBF has touched nearly every regional community project and nonprofit in our history, and we work together with community members like you to enhance life now and for future generations.


Inclusive Collaboration

SBF leads efforts to bring people and resources together to work for large-scale, sustainable improvements across our county. We do this by facilitating dialogue across a broad range of stakeholders, from business leaders, government representatives, leaders of nonprofit organizations, residents, and funders who want to create a positive change. You can see this in our work with the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network, Community Caregiving Initiative, and workforce support, among other notable projects. We find every opportunity to develop and maintain strategic partnerships to leverage our collective strengths and maximize the power of our donors’ dollars. As seen in our support for the Santa Barbara County Veterans Collaborative, we are a research institution that learns extensively about the needs of our community and advocate for funding to transform innovative ideas into reality. Learn more about SBF’s work in inclusive collaboration.


Engaged Philanthropy

As a community foundation, SBF is grateful to donors who trust us to steward their charitable assets. Our team of expert philanthropic advisors assists donors in navigating the logistics of giving and works with them to create a customized plan that aligns with their passions and charitable giving goals. We expand financial capital and build scalable solutions by engaging, forward-thinking individuals and institutions to contribute to a shared vision for our county. We build relationships with our donors and fundholders and provide opportunities to steward their charitable accounts with us, serving as an entry point for philanthropy in our region and easing giving for good. Learn more about SBF’s work engaging philanthropy.


Strategic Grantmaking

With over 2,000 nonprofits in Santa Barbara County, even the most diligent donor would find it daunting to try to learn about each organization and vet their work. When you partner with the Santa Barbara Foundation, donors can be assured that we award grants through a rigorous process of research, due diligence, and evaluation for our Community Grant Opportunities. We identify and prioritize critical needs for strategic grantmaking requiring special focus and additional organizational resources. Once funded, we monitor and evaluate these initiatives for impact and are committed to working with these service providers to maximize their effectiveness. In 2021 alone, the Foundation provided over 2,700 grants, in partnership with our generous donors, in Santa Barbara County. Learn more about SBF’s work in strategic grantmaking.


Strengthening Nonprofits

SBF is committed to ensuring that our nonprofit leaders and their organizations have the tools, skills, and resources to fulfill their mission. We believe that a healthy, high-achieving, creative social sector enables our county to achieve its potential. The Santa Barbara Foundation makes nonprofits stronger and more resilient by providing capacity-building workshops, leadership development, and technical assistance programs through the Santa Barbara County Collaboration for Social Impact. We engage with practitioners to develop successful approaches for improved outcomes in the community. We connect them with funders and other nonprofits to make their efforts more powerful. Since this can be a demanding line of work, we recognize and reward the hard work and excellence of those working in the social sector. Learn more about SBF’s work in strengthening nonprofits.


Build a Relationship with Us!

At the Santa Barbara Foundation, we are about relationships with people and invite community members like you to start a relationship with us. Please call us at 805-963-1873 or send an email to We look forward to building our relationship and a better Santa Barbara County with you for generations to come.

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