The Fund was established as a community foundation in 1980 by a group of individuals who shared a vision of a just and humane society offering people an alternative concept in philanthropy. The Fund is dedicated to finding solutions to current and emerging social problems and issues that challenge our society as a whole. Since its inception, The Fund has awarded over $5 million to more than 1,000 projects.
The Fund believes that significant social changes ultimately require broad participation in a democratic control of all social and economic institutions. Historically, social conditions improve most dramatically when people organize on their own behalf, form alliances with other like-minded people & organizations, and build coalitions to confront and change the conditions that have denied them access, equity, and justice.
The Fund gives preference to projects working to address the root causes of social, economic, environmental and political problems. The Fund provides seed grants to new grassroots projects, general support or project grants to small organizations, and targeted grants to larger, more established organizations.
We Invite Applications From Groups:
- Working against discrimination based on race, sex/gender, age, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, physical/mental ability, ethnicity, language, or immigration status
- Struggling for the rights of workers
- Promoting self-determination in low-income and disenfranchised communities
- Promoting international peace and organize locally for a just foreign policy
- Working on improving the environment, especially organizing a constituency usually without access to decision makers
- Operating in a democratic manner, responsive to and directed by the constituency being served
We Do Not Fund:
- Projects involved in electoral campaigns on behalf of candidates or parties
- Private (vs. public) interests
- Direct labor organizing
- Projects located outside of Santa Barbara County
- Projects providing direct services without a social change component
- Direct support to individuals, capital ventures, or building improvements
Affirmative Action considerations are among the criteria used in all funding decisions.
Fall 2017 Grant Cycle
The Fall Funding Cycle is now closed and we are currently reviewing applications. For those who applied, stay tuned for updates on the application process. Everyone is welcome to join us on Tuesday, December 5th for our Fall Grant Awards Party at Veterans Hall in Santa Maria! The Spring Funding Cycle will open in February 2018.
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Important Dates and Deadlines
Sept 5 - 5:00 p.m.
Sept 8 - 5:00 p.m.
Pre-Application Proposal Review Deadline
Oct 16 - Oct 27
Grantmaking Committee Conducts Site Visits
Amount of Funding Available
The maximum award for each individual project is $10,000. The average grant is approximately $6,500.
We do accept requests for repeat funding of projects. Such proposals must include detailed information about the outcome of the previous grant, how further financial assistance would advance the goals of the original proposal, and in-depth analysis of the successes and failures of the original grant.
How to Apply for a Grant
- Contact us at by phone at (805) 962-9164
- Consider attending a Grant Application Workshop to receive more information and support.
- Return a completed application in person by 5:00 p.m. on the application due date.
Our Grant Making Committee strongly encourages applicants to attend one of our free Grant Application Workshops held during each funding cycle and to call the office to take advantage of staff assistance before you write your grant proposal.
Tax Exempt Status
The Fund for Santa Barbara will accept grant applications from groups regardless of their tax-exempt status as long as their activities clearly fall within IRS tax-exempt guidelines. Fiscal sponsorships are acceptable but not required.
Submitting Your Application
When submitting your application please expect to be in the office for 30 minutes. At this time staff will review your application to assure it is complete. Please do not submit any additional folders, envelopes or the like with your application. One original copy is required, plus one unstapled copy. Please submit single-sided.
Additional Grant Making Programs
The Fund for Santa Barbara has several additional grant-making programs.
Youth Making Change Grants
Please click here if you are interested in the Youth Making Change Grant Program.
Emerging Need Grants
Projects that need immediate financial assistance and could not meet the deadline for our regular Fall or Spring Grant Cycle due to extraordinary, unforeseen circumstances may be eligible for an Emerging Need Grant. We do not consider poor planning, cash flow problems, depletion of funds or insufficient fund-raising efforts to be grounds for an Emerging Need Grant. If you are interested in the Emerging Need Grant Program, please contact Associate Director Elena Richardson at (805) 962-9164 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Multi-Year Grant Application is different than the regular grant cycle. Applications are accepted during the Spring Cycle only. Any interested applicants must first contact the FUND office. Please call (805) 962-9164 for a pre-application and guidelines.
Donor Advised Grants
The Fund for Santa Barbara also manages a limited number of Donor Advised Funds focused on social justice work. These grants are not available through the regular application process. If you are interested, please contact Executive Director Marcos Vargas at (805) 962-9164 or email@example.com.