On Monday, May 8, 2017, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara gave grants totaling $485,000 to eight local nonprofit agencies at its 13th annual Presentation of Grants reception. This event celebrates the end of the annual Women’s Fund grant cycle and honors its newest grantees, voted on by the membership of 747 women.
Since it began in 2004, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara has awarded grants totaling more than $6 million to 86 local nonprofit programs impacting more than 95,000 women, children and families in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria. The announcement of the new grantees—kept secret until the reception—was held at The Fess Parker.
The nonprofits receiving 2016-17 Women’s Fund grants are:
Accelerated Reader Program – $25,000 to improve reading proficiency by expanding libraries in K-3 classrooms in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.
AHA! (Attitude. Harmony. Achievement.) – $70,000 to expand the Peace Builders program to prevent bullying at three additional junior high schools.
Casa Pacifica – $75,000 to expand rapid mobile crisis weekend response for children and youth experiencing a mental health emergency.
Channel Islands YMCA, Noah’s Anchorage – $65,000 for upgrades in facilities and furnishings to meet new state accreditation requirements.
Domestic Violence Solutions – $55,000 to replace old playground equipment with a safe, inviting play system for children fleeing domestic violence.
PEAC (Program for Effective Access to College) – $75,000 to increase college readiness and acceptance rates for low-income students.
Peoples’ Self-Help Housing – $60,000 to establish onsite learning centers, which provide bilingual tutoring and coaching at two new low-income housing projects.
St. Vincent’s – $60,000 to address legal problems and expand parenting education for single mothers transitioning to jobs and permanent housing.
“We hold no fundraisers, do all our own research and vote each spring for the programs that will receive our combined funds. We give large grants, frequently for programs that wouldn’t be funded by others,” says Nancy Harter, Women’s Fund Steering Co-Chair. “We are flexible—funding start-ups, established programs and capital projects—and we look for ways to leverage our investments. Our grants allow agencies to dream big and to achieve those dreams.”
The popularity of the collective giving model is evident in the more than ten-fold growth in membership the Women’s Fund has achieved in 13 years. The volunteer-driven organization also prides itself on its efficiency; maintaining an extremely low expense-to-income ratio.
Laurie Tumbler, next year’s Steering Co-Chair concluded by saying: “We contribute to the Women’s Fund because we want to make a difference collectively, and that difference is larger than what most of us can do on our own. Together we’ve fed families, provided medical care to vulnerable women and helped young people realize their full potential. We’ve helped feed and house seniors, provided a refuge for troubled teens and protected women and children from violence. The more than $6 million we’ve given together since 2004 is more than a number. It represents people. We are changing lives together!”