As the Weingart Foundation ends our grant program in Santa Barbara County, we wish to honor and thank our many grantees and partners in the region, for whom we hold the deepest respect and gratitude.
We are proud to have partnered with the region’s many strong organizations working to achieve positive social change, particularly for those communities facing the greatest barriers to opportunity, justice and inclusion. These nonprofits are leaders on a wide range of issues, including immigrant rights, mental health, youth development, healthcare, disability services and rights, domestic violence, sexual assault, food insecurity, affordable housing, early childhood development, equitable education, abuse and neglect, legal services, and vulnerable seniors.
To support this critical work over the last 40 years, the Foundation has provided more than $30 million in grants for direct services, capital projects, community organizing, advocacy, capacity building, leadership development and civic engagement. The Foundation also increased its commitment to organizations serving the northern parts of the County to focus our funding on the areas of greatest need. As our grantmaking has evolved through the years, Unrestricted Operating Support has become our primary vehicle for strengthening organizational capacity and effectiveness in support of the work in the above issues and strategies.
In many long and thoughtful conversations, as well as through our formal learning and assessment process, regional nonprofit leaders have affirmed that the Unrestricted Operating Support has provided them with the tools they need to address complex social issues. Fully flexible and dollars, with no restrictions, have helped organizations build core capacity and become stronger and more effective at what they do.
Many nonprofits have demonstrated stronger fund development, financial management, board governance and program evaluation. Others have been able to establish and build operating reserves. Flexible dollars have allowed organizations to innovate in programming and take important risks. And leaders report that being able to shore up administrative capacity has freed them to think more strategically about their work, as well as advocate more fully for those they serve. We have had generative conversations with grant recipients about their efforts to deepen their impact with truly responsive and culturally competent programs, as well as by making their boards and staff more representative of those they serve.
Santa Barbara County’s nonprofits can be proud of the impact they have achieved. Thousands of individuals have been served, and nonprofit organizations have grown stronger and more effective. Therefore, it is with sadness that the Weingart Foundation has made the very difficult decision to no longer provide grants within Santa Barbara County. As our work has continued to deepen and be more geographically concentrated in the Los Angeles area and its adjacent counties, it is important to consolidate closer to our home office in order to maintain our own effectiveness and impact.
In addition to thanking the Weingart Foundations grantee’s through the years, we also wish to send our strong appreciation to the members of the Foundation Roundtable of Santa Barbara for their collaboration, leadership in the region and for each of their significant and meaningful contributions to Santa Barbara County.
Through the years, we have learned a tremendous amount from local leaders and funding partners as they have worked to make Santa Barbara County a more equitable place, and we feel heartened to know that Santa Barbara County has such a strong social sector leading the way.