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A Big Start to A New Year!


In the January 2021 issue…


What A Year – You Are Extraordinary!

2020 is not likely to make it onto anyone’s “My Favorite Year” list. But 2020 will make it onto the Women’s Fund list of most generous years. During this extraordinarily disruptive year of extraordinary need, Women’s Fund members—you—showed extraordinary generosity.

This past year, some of you “rounded up” your donation or even doubled your usual contribution. We received unexpected gifts of $5,000 and even $10,000. We were thrilled to welcome 95 women as members—about half the number we saw in 2019—in a year when personal resources faced unusual demands.

While we’re still auditing our numbers, it looks as though we will have a grants pool of at least $700,000 to be distributed to deserving nonprofits this spring! That’s nearly three quarters of a million dollars from us—from you—to help local women, children and families as the community continues to cope with the effects of the pandemic and forge a path to recovery.

The Women’s Fund Research Committee is moving swiftly to finalize the 2020-21 candidates that you will vote on in March. Please mark your calendars with important dates that will lead to the announcement of our new grantees in early May; see the article below with all that information.

We sincerely thank you all—long-time members and new friends—who made our 2020 membership year such a philanthropic success. We will change more lives together!

     - Lynn Karlson, Board Chair


Mark Your Calendars – Important Dates

The next few months will be busy ones for the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara. Here are the important dates leading up to the selection of our new 2020-2021 grant recipients.

  • Friday, March 5 – Ballot Information Package emailed to all 2020 Women's Fund members. This important package includes the information you need to know as you consider planning for your individual or group vote.
  • Wednesday, March 10 AND Thursday, March 11 – Part One and Part Two Virtual Ballot Review Meetings. The Research committee will present half the candidates in each meeting. We’re hosting two meetings so you don’t have to be on one Zoom event for three hours. You’ll want to attend both to make sure you learn about all the candidates; the meetings will not be recorded because the information being shared is confidential, so this is your chance. Both events will include presentations and opportunities for Q&A. And the good news is that all members can attend; we are not limited by space constraints.
  • Thursday, March 11 – Ballots emailed by Survey Monkey to all eligible voters (Individual Members and voting Group Captains) with a link to cast electronic votes.
  • March 11-27 – Window for voting. Group Captains host meetings with their groups to discuss the ballot and decide on how to cast their group votes. Captains should start planning now to host virtual meetings for your group discussions.
  • Saturday, March 27, 6:00 PM – Deadline for electronic voting by eligible voters.
  • Wednesday, May 5 – Virtual Celebration of Grants! Save the date to help celebrate our new 2020-21 grantees. These nonprofits will join the more than 100 agency programs that have received nearly $8 million in Women's Fund grants since 2004.

Say Hello to Our 2021 Board of Directors

At the Women's Fund Annual Meeting in December, the board of the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara elected its directors for 2021, which include Board Chair Lynn Karlson, CFO Kathy Dunlap, and Corporate Secretary Melissa Gough. Here are the volunteers who are helping to lead our organization this year and into next.

Jackie Belt
Linda Stafford Burrows
Sarah de Tagyos
Jamie Dufek
Kathy Dunlap
Melissa Gough
Nancy Harter
Kathy Hollis
Shelley Hurst
Lynn Karlson
Michele Saltoun
Laurie Tumbler
Sabina White

Many of you may know Lynn from her role as Membership Chair for the past two years. Over the past 30-plus years, she also has served in various leadership roles at local nonprofits, including as board chair for the Channel Islands YMCA, the Nonprofit Support Center, and The Arts Fund. She was vice president for Family Education Services at Independent Means Inc. before taking on the role of executive director for the Youth and Family Services YMCA. She holds a master’s degree in agricultural and resource economics and first started her career as an economist with the Federal Reserve, later moving into public affairs.

You can learn more about all our new board members on the Women’s Fund website.


SEE Helps Preserve Sight

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old. But blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment.”

That’s really important to Rocio, a local woman who had been working two jobs as a janitor and dishwasher. Unemployed because of the pandemic, she suffers from this disease and needed timely treatment. She was unable to afford her important six-month eye exam and vital medications.

It was then that she was referred to the Santa Barbara Vision Care Program, a project of SEE International. Rocio is receiving the treatment and medications she needed. She was one of the approximately 260 low-income clients this year that had access to vision care, provided at no charge.

SEE International received a $60,000 grant from the Woman’s Fund in 2020 that allowed them to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to replace old and often broken items in the clinic. The clinic took advantage of the pandemic closure to re-equip the Santa Barbara Vision Clinic, bringing the facility to a new level, ready to tackle their large number of patients with quality care.

Rocio’s situation is a reminder that despite COVID-19, the Women’s Fund is providing critical funding to support the most vulnerable people in our community.

       - Contributed by Joanne Schoenfeld


Membership Corner: 19 New Members Celebrate the New Year with the Women’s Fund

Welcome to the 19 new members that joined us in December: Rebecca Benozare, Margaret Briggs, Annmarie Cameron, Jackie Carrera, Vicki Collins, Barbara Davis, Lucrezia DeLeon, Sandy Elliot, Jennifer Frangos, Heidi Henderson, Jorden Hirsch, Kara Jardine, Lauren Katz, Kirsten McLaughlin, Jacqui Moore, Carla Neufeldt, Sara Skrinski, Kai Tepper, and Helen Wong.

133 East De La Guerra Street, #15
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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