The Fund for Santa Barbara

There are presently no open calls for applications.

Advancing progressive change by strengthening movements for Economic, Environmental, Political, Racial, and Social Justice.

The FUND is committed to uplifting grassroots community organizing fighting inequities on the frontlines; groups that address systemic oppression, and leveraging community power for progressive social change. The FUND believes that significant social changes ultimately require broad participation in and democratic control of all social, political, and economic institutions. We understand that social conditions improve most dramatically when those who have been denied power and justice lead on their own behalf to confront, challenge, and change the conditions that have denied them access to justice and equity. 

Funding Guidelines & Priorities

The FUND seeks to fund groups and/or organizations at the forefront of movement building to create systemic social change in our county. The FUND invites partners who align with our mission to advance movements for Economic, Environmental, Political, Racial, and Social Change to apply. The FUND provides seed grants, general support, and project grants to grassroots projects working for social change.

The FUND defines social change as change that addresses the root causes, not symptoms, of systemic social (economic, environmental, political, and racial) inequities in an effort to alleviate those inequities but also the underlying conditions and circumstances that cause and sustain them.


  • Actively support anti-discrimination based on race, sex/gender, age, religion, language spoken, or immigration status;
  • Actively support communities marginalized by power structures to engage in dialogue and actions that seek to counter social injustice;
  • Actively work to improve the rights of workers and their families whose living conditions have been marginalized;
  • Promote the cultural life of underserved communities and support the activities of cultural workers;
  • Promote self-determination and leadership development in low-income and disenfranchised communities;
  • Promote Global peace and organize locally for just policies;
  • Work on building coalitions to enhance improving environmental justice and address climate change, especially organizing a constituency usually without access to decision-makers
  • Engage in collaborative action and coalition-building to strengthen movement ecosystems; Work against community violence and actively support recovery and restorative justice activities and initiatives;
  • Operate in a democratic manner, responsive to and directed by the constituency being served.

Priorities (these are the guiding questions that the Grant Making Committee uses when deliberating)

  • Guidelines: Does this project have the potential to create or advance economic, environmental, political, racial, and/or social change? Please refer to FUND Guidelines
  • Priorities: Are there elements of Community Organizing, Lobbying, Direct Action, Base-building, Coalition-Building, or Legal Strategy?
  • Access to Funding: Does this project lack access to traditional forms of funding? Would the project go forward without support from the Fund?
  • Critical Timing/Need: Does the organization have the capacity to reach their social change goals? Are the key players familiar with other organizations in the same field to further the goal of movement building?
  • Impact of Funds: How clear is the budget outline? How well does the budget support the project’s social change goals? Will funding help start up the organization, stabilize the organization, and/or leverage other funding sources?
  • Regional Equity: Will this project help the GMC achieve its objective of providing equity in funding throughout Santa Barbara County?

We do NOT Fund

  • Political campaigns that support a candidate or a political party;
  • Private (vs. public) interests;
  • Direct labor organizing;
  • Projects providing direct services without a social change component;
  • Direct support to individuals;
  • Building improvements;
  • Capital ventures, i.e. machines, vehicles, etc.;
  • Equipment, i.e. office equipment, tools, etc; 
  • Projects located outside of Santa Barbara County.
The Fund for Santa Barbara