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 for Santa Barbara (est. 1980) is a non-traditional community foundation that supports organizations and groups working for progressive social change in Santa Barbara County. The FUND is dedicated to helping find solutions to current and emerging social problems and issues that challenge our society as a whole. 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 believes that significant social changes ultimately require broad participation in and democratic control of all social, political, and economic institutions. 

We define social change as change that addresses the systemic, root causes of social (economic, environmental, political, and racial) inequalities in an effort to alleviate those inequalities but also the underlying conditions and circumstances that cause and sustain them. The FUND gives preference to projects that address the systemic root causes of social inequalities. We support projects with a strong systemic change component. 

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.


  • 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 social, economic, political, and/or environmental change? Please refer to The 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 funding? Would the project go forward without support from The FUND?
  • Critical Timing/Need: Does the organization have the capacity to reach its 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