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What makes someone a member of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara?

A member is simply a woman who contributes to the Women’s Fund - as either an individual or part of a group - enabling her to help select the recipients of a grants pool which is comprised of all members’ donations.

Can anyone become a member of the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara?

The Women’s Fund welcomes all women to join us. Men are welcome to make a donation but cannot become voting members. We value the perspectives brought to committee philanthropy by our increasingly diverse membership. 

Do I have to be invited to become a member?

Absolutely not! Any woman who wishes to make a membership contribution is welcome. If you don't know anyone in the Women's Fund, we will be happy to help you find a group.

How much is a membership contribution for the Women's Fund?

No minimum contribution is required; however, we suggest a minimum contribution of $275. Membership contributions determine how members vote to distribute the funds collected each year. A vote is awarded for every $2,750 contributed.

There are two ways to contribute and vote:

Become a Group Member by joining with other women who together contribute $2,750 (or more) in a calendar year. Each group receives one vote for every $2,750 contribution the group has made. There is no limit to the size of a group or how much a woman may contribute.

Become an Individual Member by contributing $2,750 (or more) in a calendar year. Receive one vote on how collected funds are distributed the next spring for every $2,750 contribution a woman makes, up to a limit of four votes.

How can I contribute to the Women's Fund?

Women may contribute by using the Join or Renew forms on our website using a credit card, PayPal, or a check.


Personal and family foundation checks, IRA, and Donor Advised Fund distributions should be mailed to 133 E. De la Guerra St. #15, Santa Barbara CA 93101. 


To contribute stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, please complete the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara Securities Gift form.  

When is my membership contribution due?

Your contribution is due by December 31 of each year in order to vote on the following year's ballot.

How much of my annual contribution is tax deductible?

The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization with Federal Tax ID 82-5169678. Donations to the Women’s Fund are fully qualified charitable deductions. Please consult your tax adviser or the IRS to determine if you are eligible for the deduction.

Am I a permanent member when I join?

No, membership is based on an annual contribution made during a calendar year, which makes a woman eligible to vote for new grantees in the following spring.

May I contribute to more than one group?

Yes, a woman may join more than one group. Some group members are also individual members.

If I wish to contribute as a group member but don’t have a group, what should I do?

Contact the Membership Committee  and we'll help you find a compatible group or help you form your own group.

What obligations do I have if I become a member?

A member’s only obligation is to make her annual contribution. Most of our members enjoy the voting process but a few opt-outs, trusting the Research Committee to provide a full ballot of worthy projects. If you'd like to do more, we welcome members to volunteer in all areas of the organization. There are short- term and long-term opportunities to volunteer.

If I am interested or have a friend who is interested in the Women's Fund, how can we get information?

Learn more about the Women's Fund by exploring our website, emailing us or calling us at (805) 303-1205. We will be happy to send more information or to speak with you.


Is the Women's Fund a giving circle?

Yes, we are. A giving circle is a group of individuals who pool their money and decide, collectively, where to grant the money. The Women's Fund is part of the national trend of women's giving circles.

How does the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara award grants?

The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara members contribute annually, creating a pool of dollars that fund our grants each spring.

We make grants to nonprofit programs and capital projects impacting women, children, and families in southern Santa Barbara County.

Our volunteer Research Committee thoroughly evaluates proposals and creates a ballot of potential nonprofit projects eligible to receive a grant.

Our member contributors then vote on which projects will receive large, transformational grants. Our minimum grant amount is $50,000 and our largest grant to date was for $180,000. More than half of our grants have been $65,000 or more.

How is the Women's Fund governed and how does it operate?

The Women’s Fund is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who are all Women’s Fund members.

We have no paid staff. All-volunteer committees manage the day-to-day operations of the organization, including communications, membership, and events. All Women’s Fund members are welcome to serve on any of our committees and/or help at our membership and educational events.

We hire contractors to handle bookkeeping and accounting, host our database, and website and provide technical support.

How do I volunteer with the Women's Fund?

The Women’s Fund is powered by member volunteers. To learn more about our volunteer opportunities, visit the Volunteer page on our website. Select the "Volunteer Now" button for a Volunteer Interest Form. When you submit the form, a member of the Volunteer Engagement Team will contact you. You can also email the Volunteer Engagement Committee.


How does someone apply for a Women's Fund grant?

The Women's Fund does not accept unsolicited applications for funding. Each year the Women’s Fund Research Committee reviews our master list of local nonprofit agencies compiled over many years, identifies new and emerging agencies, and seeks input from local community leaders about agencies to add to our list. The committee then invites agencies on our updated list to submit applications for programs and projects that address the needs of women, children, and families in communities from Isla Vista to Santa Barbara to Carpinteria.

The Women’s Fund does not fund events or scholarships, nor do we lobby or advocate for causes.

How is the Women's Fund grantmaking unique?

The Women's Fund supports nonprofit programs and capital projects impacting women, children, and families in southern Santa Barbara County.

The Women’s Fund does not accept unsolicited applications. After a preliminary review of potential projects, nonprofit agencies are invited to submit an application for funding. The Research Committee reviews each application, including financial information, makes site visits to the agency and fully evaluates the merits of the project. The committee creates a ballot of vetted projects for the Women’s Fund members.

Women's Fund members vote to decide which agencies will receive grants each year.

Member Education

How does the Women's Fund educate its members about community needs?

Each year members receive a ballot of potential programs that address the most critical needs in our community. Members are then invited to a Ballot Review Meeting to learn more about the issues and potential grantees before voting. Women’s Fund members meet to discuss the issues and possible grantees and to decide how they will cast their individual or groups’ votes. Each spring at our Celebration of Grants, members, and guests celebrate the announcement of our new grantees and learn more about the programs we’ve funded. Each fall, members and guests are invited to an educational Grants in Action series which includes educational forums on issues as well as small-group visits to some grantee sites. Grantee year-end final reports are posted on the website to provide additional information. Research Committee members have opportunities to learn about nonprofit organizations and their programs as part of the in-depth research process.

Endowment - Legacy Society

Does the Women's Fund have an endowment?

The Endowment was created in 2012 to support our mission and provide financial sustainability for the organization longer term. The Endowment gives members and friends a vehicle to help secure the Women's Fund by donating cash or appreciated assets, leaving a bequest in an estate plan, or honoring someone with a memorial gift. 

The Women’s Fund Agency Endowment is held at the Santa Barbara Foundation and managed by professional investment managers. If you have any questions, please contact us at

What is the Legacy Society?

The Women’s Fund Legacy Society recognizes generous donors who contribute to the Women’s Fund endowment through current donations or planned giving.

How do I become a Legacy Society member?

Joining the Legacy Society is easy. You are eligible when you:

• Make an endowment gift of $10,000 or more
• Give cumulative gifts to the endowment totaling $10,000 over time
• Make a planned gift by including the Women’s Fund in your estate plans for any amount

How do I benefit from a planned gift?

A planned gift may enable you to make a much more significant gift to your favorite organization than you thought possible. It can also create potential savings on capital gains taxes and/or estate taxes. Please contact your financial advisor, attorney, or accountant to discuss your personal situation.

What language do I use to name the Women’s Fund as a beneficiary?

Below is sample wording that might be used to designate the Women’s Fund as a beneficiary of your estate. To determine what works best for you, talk with your financial advisor, attorney, or accountant.

“I/we give to the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, 133 East De La Guerra Street #15 in Santa Barbara, California 93101, a nonprofit corporation (Federal Tax ID 82-5169678) the amount of $__________________or _________% of my/our estate.”

What if I have already included the Women’s Fund in my estate plans?

Thank you! We are very grateful for your support and commitment to the community. Contact us at to let us know of your intentions and to find out more about our Women’s Fund Legacy Society.

Can I give anonymously?

Yes! Gifts to the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara can remain anonymous. We are happy to work with you to ensure your gift is honored in the way you intend.

Can I make a Women's Fund endowment gift in honor of a friend or relative?

An endowment gift or bequest can be made in honor of someone special you would like to recognize. Please ask us for details at

May I designate a specific use for my bequest or other endowment gift to the Women’s Fund?

All bequests and other gifts to the Women’s Fund endowment provide a source of funding to support our mission: improving the lives of women, children, and families in south Santa Barbara County. The Women’s Fund may accept a bequest or other endowment gift designated for a specific purpose, provided the gift is not overly difficult to administer. Restricted gifts that are more specific than “Endowment Fund” will require a written gift agreement specifying the nature of the restriction. Please ask us for details at

May I speak with someone in person about a gift?

We would be happy to speak with you to answer your questions and discuss your ideas. Please contact us at to set up a call.

More Questions?

Did we answer all your questions?

If you have a question that is not answered in the previous FAQs, please contact us