Gary Clark joined the Fund for Santa Barbara staff in 2008 after a 15 year career in marketing & business development at a local marketing firm and software developer QAD. He is a native of the Sonoma Valley and came to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB in the early '90s. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication as well as an Associate of Arts in French.
Gary's drive to advocate on behalf of the disenfranchised and marginalized stems from experiencing discrimination directly as a member of the LGBTQ community and having three gay uncles who led by example with their courage to speak out against injustice and engage in both activism and philanthropy. He first discovered what it meant to be an advocate for change through the HIV/AIDS crisis and its continued impact on his family.
In addition to serving as the FUND's Director of Capacity Building, Gary has recently led a strategic partnership with the Santa Barbara Independent to develop Santa Barbara Gives! - a two month long campaign that raised over $402,000 for progressive social change organizations in its inaugural year. He also represents the FUND on the Board of the Funding Exchange - a national network of publicly supported, community-based foundations who share a commitment to social change philanthropy.
As a community organizer Gary has fostered collaborative relationships amongst diverse groups helping to strengthen Santa Barbara's progressive community. He is skilled in and advises on grassroots advocacy, community organizing, fundraising, facilitation, nonprofit start-up, organizational development, media relations and event & volunteer management.
His experience in the non-profit sector started in his early twenties as a member of the Board of Directors of New Directions for people with disabilities, Inc. He has served in leadership roles for Lit Moon Theatre Company and Summer Solstice Celebration in addition to a civic advisory role with Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation. And as co-chair of QAD's Committee on Corporate Involvement he co-founded QAD's philanthropic flagship, Project Upgrade. Gary has been an active organizer and leader in the LGBT Rights Movement since 2007, co-founding the Strategic Alliance for Marriage Equality (SAME) and served as Chair of the OUTrageous! / Santa Barbara LGBTQ Film Festival.
When not advocating and/or organizing in the community, he can usually be found on a tennis court, dance floor, or hiking trail.