Former Chair Lynn Karlson speaking at 2022 Celebration of Grants with current Chair Jamie Dufek
Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara provides $925,000 in grants to local organizations
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the rising costs of living, housing crisis and more, the volunteers with the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara have made it their mission to rise from these challenges.
The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara is a volunteer-led donor organization that, according to their website “enables women to combine charitable dollars into significant grants addressing the critical needs of women, children and families in south Santa Barbara County.”
The Women’s Fund educates and inspires women to engage in making lasting change in the community.
As of 2023, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara has grown to 1,200 members of all ages and backgrounds and hopes to grow even more.
Recently, the Women’s Fund announced an increase in its grants to others, totalling $925,000. This is huge for the organization, as it allows it to expand its efforts to help the community and grow deeper roots in the Santa Barbara County area.
On May 9 at the Marjorie Luke Theatre in Santa Barbara, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara will host its annual Celebration of Grants, where it will award grants to various community organizations.
As explained by Kerry Parker, the Women’s Fund Communications Committee co-chair, the main areas of exploration for these grants are for family support services, housing assistance, education, mental health and health care.
Specifically, there have been community involvements in the past few months that have been a direct cause of the grants provided.
“Freedom 4 Youth” is a mission that uplifts and empowers youth impacted by the criminal legal system to build safe and compassionate communities. Last year, a Women’s Fund grant of $100,000 helped establish a program reducing recidivism for young females currently or formerly incarcerated or on probation.
Another area that the Women’s Fund has assisted in is the Sanctuary Centers. Located in downtown Santa Barbara, the center provides extensive mental health care. Ms. Parker noted there is a “critical shortage of psychiatric services for youth” and that the Women’s Fund provided a grant of $100,000 last year, which was able to fund two more psychiatrists for the program.
A main area that the Women’s Fund focuses on is the homeless population in Santa Barbara. “The most effective approach to helping homeless individuals transition to permanent housing is to provide safe temporary shelter with support services,” Ms. Parker explained.
A $75,000 Women’s Fund grant last year supported an onsite case management office at the DignityMoves Village in Santa Barbara.
Ms. Parker added that once the grant is given, the Women’s Fund stays committed to staying in contact with the various programs to check on their progress and see where they may need more help.
“The agencies we work with keep us posted on the progress of the projects we fund,” she continued. “We often conduct site visits to allow our members to witness the impact of the work we’re supporting firsthand.”
The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara is desiring growth in the Santa Barbara community from volunteers and donors. “We welcome all women to join us!” exclaimed Ms. Parker.
The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara will host its annual Celebration of Grants May 9 at the Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High School, 721 E. Cota St., Santa Barbara. A reception will take place 4:45 to 5:40 p.m., followed by the awards presentation from 6 to 7 p.m. This event is open to members of the Women’s Fund and those who are aspiring to become members.
To purchase tickets, go to womensfundsb.org/event/celebration-grants-2023.
To become a member, visit womensfundsb.org.