News Archives

2004 Founding Women's Fund Groups

Our mission has remained the same, but the number of members has grown significantly from 2004 when a group of women created the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara. The 12 founders grew into 67 contributors that first year – including three groups. 

Jane Honikman, the captain of Caregivers, one of the three original groups, says the founders wanted to support local nonprofits that worked with women and children in the community; however, they wanted to forego the gala method of fundraising so popular at the time.

Jane helped initiate the concept of giving groups, as a way to give... Read More

Doctors Without Walls

In the recent member survey, a majority of you said you’d like to learn more about the impact of Women’s Fund grants in our community. Grants in Action (GIA) events, being scheduled throughout the fall and winter of 2020 and 2021, are a great way to get more information.

Attending a GIA event, which includes both site visits and educational forums, helps you learn how the Women’s Fund grants impact the work of our grantees, expand your knowledge grantees’ work, and understand the critical issues affecting the lives of women, children and families. 

... Read More

Maria Vega joins the ILDC as its first full time staff attorney

The Santa Barbara Immigrant Legal Defense Center (ILDC) has hired Maria Vega as its first full-time staff attorney. Vega will lead the nonprofit’s efforts in providing legal representation to local community members facing deportation. 

Vega joins the ILDC with extensive experience in public interest and immigration law, after time at both the Northwest Justice Project and Colectiva Legal del Pueblo in Washington. She is a graduate of the University of Idaho College of Law, where she was honored for her service to the community and her dedication to human rights work.Vega attended... Read More

Students at El Camino creating video productions

A bright spot in education in these challenging times, the Goleta Education Foundation is thrilled and grateful to announce receipt of a $65,000 grant awarded by the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara to create a STEAM lab at El Camino School. The existing computer center, with fixed seating and outdated equipment, will be transformed with flexible seating, interactive monitors, laptops, and tablets. The lab will also be equipped with digital media production equipment, a green screen, and video design and editing software. Hands-on learning will promote student competency in science,... Read More


At its 16th annual Celebration of Grants held on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara awarded grants totaling $685,000 to nine local nonprofit agencies  The event marked the end of the 2019-2020 Women’s Fund grant cycle and honored its newest grantees, voted on by the membership of nearly 1,100 women. Since 2004, these generous women have been combining their charitable dollars into significant grants.  To date, nearly $7.9 million has been distributed to 111 local area nonprofit... Read More


These are difficult times. The coronavirus has impacted us all in so many different ways. Our hearts break for those who are enduring the virus, those exposed, and those living in areas where the numbers keep rising exponentially.

For 15 years we have been committed to helping the most vulnerable in our community—women, children and families struggling to get by. Today that work is more important than ever. So, what do we do in a crisis when critical needs change on a daily basis?

At this point, stay the course. We are known—and counted on—as a funder to local nonprofits on... Read More

A lively discussion at the ACEs Forum

It’s been proven: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can lead to serious health problems and shortened lives.
On October 29, Women’s Fund members and guests gathered at the New Vic Theater to hear a riveting forum about a ground-breaking ACE study. We also heard how a collaboration between Women’s Fund grantees CALM, SB Neighborhood Clinics (SBNC) and Isla Vista Youth Projects (IVYP) is creating a childhood safety net for ACEs victims and their families. 

An ACE score measures ten types of childhood trauma: physical, emotional and sexual abuse; physical and... Read More

Women's Fund Leadership

At their eighth annual Table of Life Gala In September, 2019, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara honored the Women’s Fund “which typifies the powerful impact of women taking collective action for the common good.”  In 2018, the Women’s Fund awarded the Foodbank a grant of $95,000 for a new refrigerated truck. In honoring the Women’s Fund, the Foodbank said, "With more than 1,000 members, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara has been one of the most potent forces in local philanthropy for 15 years. The Women’s Fund conducts a rigorous application, research and review process and makes sizable... Read More

Homelessness Forum

Out of California’s 58 counties, Santa Barbara ties with Orange for the second highest child poverty rate. Grim statistics show that homeless children are three to four times more likely to become homeless adults. These are among the startling facts shared by local experts on September 26 when the Women’s Fund hosted an information-packed evening entitled Homelessness and the Working Poor: Creating a Bridge to Hope.

This forum was the first of an expanded series of Grants in Action programs featuring our 2018-19 Women’s Fund grantees and... Read More


Generosity characterizes many of the families that live in Hope Ranch. "We know we're fortunate to live here," says Denise Lilly who has lived on Camino Medio for ten years. "And it feels natural to give back." Like many other women in the Ranch, Lilly supports a variety of local nonprofit organizations but she is especially drawn to the Women's Fund, an organization she joined three years ago. "There's a sense of sisterhood because women are coming together to fund important projects in our community. I take pride in being part of that."

The idea for the Women's Fund germinated in... Read More


The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will host its 8th Annual Table of Life Gala, 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Montecito estate of Betsey and John Moller.

The 2019 event will benefit local college and university students facing hunger and homelessness, and will honor the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, which (worth noting on the eve of the 2020 centennial of the 19th Amendment guarantee of women’s right to vote) typifies and advances the powerful impact of women taking collective action for the common good.

“The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara identifies food and... Read More

Community Defenders, Photo: Paul Wellman

Public Defenders and Family Service Agency Give Clients a Voice Through Holistic Defense
At 40 years old, Jessica is learning to live a new kind of life. She grew up in Santa Barbara helping her mom steal things from stores and being verbally and physically abused by her family. “I grew up so sad,” she told the Independent. Jessica (not her real name) was still a bright kid who got good grades, but nevertheless had to juggle holding down a job, watching her younger siblings, and tending to the house. “By 17, I wanted to retire,” she said.

She moved in with an... Read More

W2D2 group members enjoy the Celebration of Grants in May

We asked Captains Caryl Bowman and Judi Brooks to explain why and how they started the new W2D2 group last fall.
What prompted you to start a group?
We both have been Women's' Fund group members for over five years. We wanted to invite additional friends to join us, but we prefer a smaller group that can meet in a member's home, get to know each other well and bond. Ultimately we decided to leave the group we were in and start a new one before the year-end deadline so we could vote in the spring as our new group.

How did you select the... Read More


1000-member Organization Gives $585,000 to Area Non Profits

On May 1, more than 450 members and guests of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara gathered at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort for their 15th annual Celebration of Grants, where $585,000 was awarded to nine area nonprofits.

A volunteer-led, collective donor group with nearly 1,000 members, the Women’s Fund combines its members’ donations into large grants focused on the needs of women, children and families in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria. The organization holds no fundraisers – all funds come from... Read More


Women’s Fund announces plans to become independent nonprofit

Santa Barbara, CA – On Wednesday, May 1, 2019, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara awarded grants totaling $585,000 to nine local nonprofit agencies at its 15th annual Celebration of Grants reception. This event marks the end of the annual Women’s Fund grant cycle and honors its newest grantees, voted on by the membership of nearly 1,000 women.

In celebrating the organization’s 15th anniversary, Steering Chair Shelley Hurst also announced the Women’s Fund will begin operations as an... Read More


As part of our strategic plan to leverage our growth and maximize our community impact, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara has thoroughly researched the viability of becoming an independent nonprofit. The question that guided our research was clear—would the community benefit from the Women’s Fund becoming an independent nonprofit? Ultimately, the answer was yes, an emphatic yes.

Therefore, we have applied for our tax-exempt status and plan to begin operating as an independent nonprofit on January 1, 2020. We do this with the full support of the Santa Barbara Foundation where we have... Read More

Women's Fund Honored by Kinwanis in 2019

On September 19, the Women’s Fund received the 2018 Kiwanis Community Collaborative Award for our support of Teen Court. In May 2018, CADA – Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, received a $75,000 Women’s Fund grant to provide mental health support to help prevent possible reoffending and incarceration of Teen Court youth.

In the photograph: Pictured (left to right) Marsha Gray, President of Kiwanis; Jill Frandsen, Director of the Daniel Bryant Center; Shelley Hurst, Women's Fund Steering Chair; Sabina White, Women's Fund Researcher; Eduardo Cue, Teen Court Program Manager

Lynn Karlson and Maureen Ellenberger with Chris Tucker, ED Garden Court

On January 24, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara hosted a reception for new and prospective members to meet others and learn more about this volunteer-led collective donor group of 900 Santa Barbara-area women. Held at Garden Court and sponsored by Mission Wealth, the evening began with a lively reception. Then Membership Chair Lynn Karlson welcomed the 130 guests and shared how the Women’s Fund supports the critical needs of women, children, and families in south Santa Barbara County. Areas of support include early child development, education, domestic violence, employment skills, food... Read More


New suggested minimum and voting thresholds for 2019 membership

With growth comes many opportunities—more dollars to grant to local nonprofits, more women engaged as knowledgeable philanthropists. Growth also has its costs—namely in increased expenses to manage a larger organization. 

Effective January 1, 2019—​and for the first time in 15 years—we are increasing the suggested minimum contribution for Women’s Fund membership from $250 to $275 and raising the voting threshold from $2,500 to $2,750 (one vote per $2,750 contributed).... Read More


Pictured here are Kendall Pata (upper right) and four members of SB4EVA with some children from the United Boys & Girls Clubs during the site visit at the Carpinteria center.

To get to know one of our newest membership groups, SB4EVA, we interviewed Group Captain Kendall Pata.

What is the one word you would use to describe the Women’s Fund?
Effective. Easy. Empowering. Do I have to choose just one? Plus, I seem to like alliteration.

Why did you join the Women’s Fund?
I learned about the Women’s Fund when I... Read More

2017-18 Grantees

On September 24, about 240 members and guests of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara gathered at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort to hear presentations by their most recent grant recipients on the impacts of the $535,000 in grants bestowed last spring.

An all-volunteer, collective donor group with nearly 900 members, the Women’s Fund combines the donations of its members into significant grants focused on the critical needs of women, children and families in south Santa Barbara County. Over the course of nearly a year, its Research Committee conducts in-depth research on... Read More


On May 2, 2018, more than 400 members and guests of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara gathered at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort (formerly Fess Parker) for their 14th annual Presentation of Grants, where they awarded $535,000 to seven area nonprofits.

An all-volunteer, collective donor group with nearly 900 members, the Women’s Fund combines the donations of its members into significant grants focused on the critical needs of women, children and families in south Santa Barbara County. Such a large turnout reflected the high level of interest members have in helping meet... Read More

Children's Resource & Referral accept award

Seven local nonprofits have received a total of $535,000 in grants from the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara, bringing the organization's total contributions to the community, since it began in 2004, to more than $6.6 million.

The grants have gone to 93 local nonprofit programs impacting more than 97,000 women, children and families in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria.

The $535,000 grants pool was also the largest solely-member funded pool in the organization's history. The presentation was made during an event last week at Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort.


Domestic Violence Solutions (DVS) for Santa Barbara County has announced the completion of its new emergency shelter playground.

“DVS is incredibly grateful for the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, the generosity of its members, and its tremendous impact in the community,” said Charles Anderson, executive director of DVS.

This project, sponsored by a grant received from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, improves the aesthetics, safety and enjoyment of the present shelter facility by fully replacing a 25-year-old institutional-grade playground.

Helping children who have... Read More

Leslie and Sabina

To get to know this new membership group, Health Cares, we interviewed Sabina White and Leslie Mathers-Winn.

Some years ago, Sabina started a group, Compassion in Action, and this year she reached out to her UCSB friends and Health Cares was launched. Her good friend, Leslie, agreed to be captain. Sabina, a member of three groups now, gave us some information about her experience with the Women’s Fund.

I first heard about the Women’s Fund in 2013 through a friend who was a member of a group. When I asked her how to join, she was a little uncertain,... Read More


On September 26, members and guests of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara gathered at the The Fess Parker to hear presentations by their most recent grant recipients on the impacts of the $485,000 in grants bestowed last spring.

An all-volunteer, collective donor group with about 750 members, the Women’s Fund combines the donations of its members into significant grants focused on the critical needs of women, children and families in south Santa Barbara County. 


The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara will host the Site Visit Kick-Off, 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, at The Fess Parker. The annual event, now in its 13th year, features progress reports from the local nonprofits that received $485,000 in Women’s Fund grants this past spring.

Grantees will describe to Women’s Fund members and their guests the impact the grants have had on their organization and their clients.

Laurie and Shelly speak to Sunset Rotary

Laurie Tumbler and Shelley Hurst of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara paid the Sunset Rotary a visit this week to review how the Fund serves the communities from Goleta down to Carpinteria. The volunteer-driven collective donor group has funded more than $6 million to various organizations since 2004—close to $1 million of that right here in Carpinteria. The following local organizations have received grant funds: Carpinteria Children’s Project, Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, Community Action Commission (Senior nutrition), Peoples’ Self-Help Housing (Dahlia Court and Casas de las Flores... Read More

AHA! Peace Builders

An AHA! initiative called Peace Builders was recently expanded into four junior high schools—Santa Barbara, La Colina, La Cumbre, and Goleta Valley—after receiving a grant from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara. The Peace Builders program consists of interactive workshops and bimonthly meetings that promote camaraderie in the classroom as well as empathy and curiosity among students and their peers, said Melissa Lowenstein, Programs Coordinator and Facilitator. “The idea is that we really want to empower the kids and have it be their program."


First, a little background—in May 2016, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara gave TRADART Foundation a $50,000 grant, earmarked for materials to build three Tiny Houses on the campuses of Santa Barbara’s three high schools—Santa Barbara, San Marcos and Dos Pueblos. To ensure the sustainability of the program, upon the completion of the Tiny Houses, they are to be sold and the proceeds used to fund the construction of three more houses.

Once construction on the houses began, it was clear to the Advanced Woodworking and Construction Technology project instructors that completion of the... Read More

Laurie Tumbler and Shelley Hurst

Every year after the Presentation of Grants, the Women’s Fund Steering Committee Co-Chairs change, and a new year begins under their leadership. This year our co-chairs are Shelley Hurst and Laurie Tumbler. Laurie returns after having served last year with Nancy Harter, and Shelley is brand new to the position.

So that you can get to know them better, we caught up with them at a local café during one of their frequent meetings.

First we asked them some questions about their new positions as Steering Co-Chairs. Here are their responses:

What are... Read More

Parm Williams and DPEA founder Amir Abo-Shaeer

We wanted to get to know D'Penguineer Friends, so we intreviewed Group Captain, Parm Williams.

What inspired you to join the Women’s Fund and when did you join?
Jo Gifford, a Women’s Fund founding member, asked me to join the Women’s Fund in 2004. I joined in 2005 as part of a two-member group with Sarah de Tagyos. Our group name was “PS”—for Parm and Sarah—not very creative, but it worked for us! We both were so impressed with the Women’s Fund that we volunteered for committees right away. I chaired the Membership Committee from 2005 to... Read More

2016-17 Grantees

On May 8, 2017, 345 members and guests of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara gathered for the 13th annual Presentation of Grants Reception at the Fess Parker Doubletree hotel. Grants totaling $485,000 were distributed to area nonprofits for eight programs: the Accelerated Reader Program, AHA! (Attitude, Harmony, Achievement), Casa Pacifica, Channel Islands YMCA (for Noah’s Anchorage), Domestic Violence Solutions, PEAC (Program for Effective Access to College), Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, and St. Vincent’s.

Novel Women

We wanted to get to know this group better, so we interviewed Group Captain, Karen Feeney.

Why and when did you join the Women’s Fund?
I decided I wanted to join the Women’s Fund after having had the opportunity to observe the organization as a sponsor. I work for Allen Construction, and Barbara Hauter Woodward, a former Allen client, asked the company if we would support the Women’s Fund by sponsoring the buses for the annual Site Visit, which we gladly did. I was immediately impressed by the mission and work of the Women’s Fund. Barbara invited me to a... Read More

East Beach Walkers

To get to know East Beach Walkers, we interviewed Co-Captains, Lalla Brutoco and Pat Fulmer.

Why and when did you join the Women’s Fund?

Pat: I first heard of the Women’s Fund and its good works shortly after moving to Santa Barbara, but was under the impression it was a very exclusive organization. In 2011, I met Barbara Hauter Woodward at Susan Case’s house and was pleased to gain a new understanding about women working to make a difference in our beautiful community—and having a good time doing so. We were all... Read More

SBHS construction student, Melissa Perez

The success of the Tiny House project at the three participating local high schools—Dos Pueblos, San Marcos and Santa Barbara—falls significantly on the shoulders of two instructors—Caleb Chadwick at Santa Barbara High and Chris Mollkoy at Dos Pueblos. Caleb teaches in both the construction and the Academy for Success programs.

Eighty-nine of Caleb’s students have made significant progress toward the completion of their Tiny House, and we recently had the opportunity to visit with him and view the construction site. It’s impressive. As the photos depict, walls have been framed and... Read More

2015-16 Grantees

On September 29th more than 200 members and guests of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara gathered at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort to hear from six of the seven nonprofits that the Women’s Fund collectively awarded $470,000 last Spring. 

At the event, each grantee gave a short update on the use of the funds and then participated in a lively panel discussion moderated by former grantee liaison Carla Whitacre. A couple of the participants shared stories about how funding from the Women’s Fund had benefited their organizations far beyond the direct benefit bestowed by the grant.... Read More


Supporters of Doctors Without Walls - Santa Barbara Street Medicine (DWW) gathered at Gauthier Wear Art on July 21 for a “launch party” for its new mobile medical van. The van, made possible by a $65,000 grant from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, will enable the nonprofit to greatly expand the healthcare services it provides to homeless and low-income individuals.


It has come to our attention that there may be some confusion about qualifications for membership in the Women's Fund. So, let's set the record straight.

MYTH #1: You must be invited to join. False!

FACT #1: The Women’s Fund is open to every woman.

There are absolutely no restrictions.

MYTH #2: Membership in the Women’s Fund costs $2,500... Read More


Click on this link to listen to the KCSB interview with LuAnn Miller, Executive Director of Isla Visa Youth Projects, a 2015-16 grantee. She spoke with Lisa Osborn about how IVYP plans to use our $75,000 grant.

Angels Among Us

Pictured above at the April Presentation of Grants reception are: Bettie Weiss, Charmaine Rogers, Kathy Nobis, Vicky Lorelli, Ellen Rauch, Shareen Khatapoush, Janet Booth, Marianne Wetzel (behind Janet), Kim Holmquist and Theresa Harris.  Other members are Christine Hoehner, Robin Riblet, Dana Hoffenberg, Eden Slone, Betsy Teeter and Karen MacDonald.

Group Captain Marianne Wetzel filled us in on her motivation to begin a new Women’s Fund Group. Marianne recently joined the Women’s Fund Membership Committee as the New Member Liaison. In that role, she will be contacting each new... Read More

Students with a model

Late last month, Santa Barbara High School (SBHS) received a lumber delivery for its inaugural Tiny Homes program. Over the 2016-17 school year, Advanced Woodworking and Construction Technology students will build a 230-square-foot house, complete with a bathroom, kitchen appliances, solar panels, and a loft big enough for a queen-sized bed....Seed money for this debut, Chadwick said, came from a $50,000 grant from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, on top of lasting support from the TRADART Foundation for career development. “TRADART has really kept all our woodshops open,” Chadwick added... Read More

2015-16 Grantees

At its 12th annual Presentation of Grants Reception at The Fess Parker on Monday, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara awarded $470,000 to seven local nonprofit organizations.

An all-volunteer, collective donor group with 668 members, the Women’s Fund combines the donations of its members into significant grants focused on the critical needs of women, children and families in south Santa Barbara County.

Over an eight-month period, its research committee conducts in-depth research of programs at local nonprofit organizations and submits a ballot of organization finalists to the... Read More


A tradition began years ago establishing that, on April 5, California’s First 5 chapters would join together and visit their legislators in Sacramento. Tuesday is First 5 Advocacy Day, when the nonprofit focused on preparing children for kindergarten addresses its concerns to elected officials.

The message this year will be the same as the last: Santa Barbara County needs more quality child-care slots.

Since the majority of a child’s brain development occurs before they reach kindergarten, First 5 has been working to ensure more quality child-care options exist for the 70... Read More

Earth Angels

Pictured (left to right): Cynthia Owen, Cecia Hess, Joyce Tamborello, Bonnie Tanase Cairns, Kathryn Padgett,Robin Martinelli and Julie Franke.

Other members of the group include: Jorgia Bordovsky, Gray Felstiner, Dale Hromadka, Nina Hunt, Mary Maxwell, Fran Piacente, Carol Poundstone Olson and Carol Simon.

To get to know this group better, we asked Co-Captains Dale Hromadka and Julie Franke some questions:

Why did you join the Women’s Fund? The emphasis is on women and children and in addition, it is a wonderful way to learn more about Santa... Read More

Joyce Dudley delivers Keynote

“Changing Lives Together” was at the heart of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara’s 2015 Site Visit program, held Thursday, October 29, at the First Presbyterian Church.  More than 200 Women’s Fund members and guests gathered to learn how $460,000 in recent Women’s Fund grants are changing lives for local women, children and families. 

“The Women’s Fund is a unique all-volunteer organization where women combine our charitable dollars to make large, impactful grants to local nonprofits,” said Women’s Fund Chair Nancy Harter.  “We’ve donated more than $5.1 million to local agencies... Read More

Joyce Dudley

The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara will host a site visit kick-off from 3–6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara.

This annual event features progress reports from the seven local nonprofits that received Women’s Fund grants this past spring. For the first time, there will be a keynote speaker at the event: County of Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley.

“Joyce knows that prevention and early intervention strategies are key to changing lives,” said Women’s Fund Chair Nancy Harter. “For more than a decade, the Women’s Fund... Read More

Jackie Inskeep

$100,000 surprise gift to Women’s Fund Endowment – and more!

Great news!   Women’s Fund member Jackie Inskeep made July seem like Christmas when she surprised us with a $100,000 gift to the Women’s Fund Endowment. 

In making her generous donation, Jackie applauded the work of Women’s Fund volunteers, saying “I am so pleased and proud of the women who make the Women’s Fund possible.”  She added, “I made the gift because I am confident that intelligent women are making... Read More

Nancy Harter with her grandson, Isaac

How long have you been in Santa Barbara and what brought you here? Family and job—the usual—brought us to SB in 1982.  At the time, I had regrets about moving here from the Bay Area. Needless to say, it worked out.

What is the one word you would use to describe the WF? Powerful!

When and why did you join the WF?  I joined in 2009. I knew about the WF but had no idea that I didn’t need an invitation to join and that they offered group opportunities.

What do you do when you’re not... Read More

2014-15 Grantees

Seven local nonprofits received a total of $460,000 in grants from the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara on Monday afternoon at the Montecito Country Club, bringing the organization's total contributions to the community, since it began in 2004, to more than $5.1 million.

"The Women's Fund is an all-volunteer organization based on a simple, creative model—women combining our charitable donations so we can make a larger impact in the community than most of us are able to do on our own," Women's Fund co-chair Sallie Coughlin said. "We give large grants, frequently for programs that wouldn... Read More

Carol Palladini and Carolyn Novick

The power of collective giving and its effect on communities was the emphasis of The Women’s Fund of Smith County’s Seventh Annual Power of the Purse Celebration Luncheon. More than 300 women attended the event on Tuesday at the CrossWalk Conference Center at Green Acres Baptist Church. The event, which had a theme of “In Harmony with Philanthropy,” featured Carol Palladini, founder of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara as the keynote speaker.

 As founder of The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara and that city’s Woman of the Year honoree, Ms. Palladini said she wanted to share with the... Read More

DPEA Capital Campaign Donor Wall (DPEA photo)

If you build it, the saying goes, they will come. On Saturday, the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy showed off its newest handbuilt creation, the Capital Campaign Donor Wall, and people came indeed—the people whose generosity gave the award-winning educational experience the ability to build the Elings Center for Engineering Education on the Dos Pueblos High campus. Sandy Seale, DPEA Foundation president, proudly noted that all the metal panels on the wall were handmade by students and staff in the DPEA’s own machine shop. DPEA founder and Director Amir Abo-Shaeer addressed the crowd of... Read More

Amir Abo-Shaeer and Parm Williams

On October 30, 2014 the Women's Fund was honored for giving a transformational grant of $150,000 to the Dos Puebles Engineering Academy in 2008. Amir Abo-Shaeer, Founder and Director of DPEA is pictured with Parm Williams, a longtime Women's Fund member and researcher in 2008.

Carol Palladini

Women's Fund founder, Carol Palladini, to speak at Women's Fund of Smith County, Power of the Purse Luncheon on October 28, 2014.

Carol Palladini said she plans to tell the story of The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara and some of the interesting things about the organization’s 10-year journey during the upcoming event.

The luncheon, which is put on by The Women’s Fund of Smith County, is open to all women. Betsy Brush Hahn, The Women’s Fund of Smith County coordinator, said the annual luncheon provides an opportunity for the organization to celebrate women’s giving, talk about... Read More

Women's Fund members and guests tour grantee sites on four SB Airbuses

Annual site visit allows members to hear firsthand how their recent contributions totaling $550,000 are helping local nonprofits

The mood was particularly festive at the 10th annual Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara site visit on Wednesday as more than 200 members of the organization were greeted with the news that founder Carol Palladini had received the prestigious Woman of the Year Award from the Santa Barbara Foundation and Noozhawk the day before. 

Carol Palladini

Hundreds of friends and supporters gathered at the Four Seasons Biltmore to recognize Steve Lyons and Carol Palladini for their long-standing commitment to volunteerism and the significant impact they have had throughout the community.

Women's Fund Steering Committee

Women's Fund of Santa Barbara Celebrates 10 Years of Collective Giving
If simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, then the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara has distinguished itself as one of the most sophisticated giving groups on the Central Coast. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Women's Fund has steadfastly held to a single vision: to change lives together.

Single mom with her children

An award of $90,000 from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara will go to SBCC’s Single Parent Achievement Program to provide child-care support for low-income single mothers, allowing them to attend college.

"Thanks to this generous grant from the Women's Fund, SBCC is able to expand the Single Parent Achievement Program, providing one full year of exceptional child care,” said Vanessa Bechtel, executive director of the SBCC Foundation.

Carol Palladini, Susan Robeck, Carrie Lundquist receive the Girls Inc. award

On May 19, 2014, the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara was honored at the Girls Inc. of Carpinteria Women of Inspiration Luncheon. In 2013, the Women's Fund gave a transformative grant. The grant funded a year of training for one first- and one second-year cohort (50 girls) participating in the year-round, coordinated five-year Eureka! Program. This UCSB summer program is designed to expose young women from disadvantaged backgrounds to the university experience and to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Presentation Luncheon Leadership

Women's Fund of Santa Barbara marks decade of 'Changing Lives Together.' The organization distributes $550,000 in grants to nine local nonprofits, with members' contributions to date totaling $4.7 million.

Women's Fund 10th Anniversary Logo

On Monday, April 28, 2014, the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara awarded grants totaling $550,000 to nine local nonprofit agencies at its 10th Annual Presentation of Funds Luncheon.


For many girls, the prospect of attending college seems like an unattainable dream. But thanks to Girls Inc. and its innovative Eureka! program, cohorts of lucky young women are learning the steps necessary to make that dream a reality.

There is no compelling reason as to why girls do not enter the fields of science, technology, engineering or math at the same rate that boys do, except for a possible lack of support from family or community along the way. The Eureka! program is designed to provide girls with that added bit of encouragement, and a whole lot more, to nudge them toward... Read More

Thank you notes

By any measure, the Women's Fund appears to be thriving. Ten years ago, it had 68 members who gave away $140,000. Today, its membership has swelled to nearly 600, the vast majority belonging to groups with names like "Instead of Shoes" or Benevolent Babes." Now, it gives away roughly half-a-million a year. Typically, the grants are pretty beefy, ranging in size from $50,000-$100,000. Over the years, the fund has given away $4.1 million to 55 groups. Of that, more than a million came in the form of matching grants provided by Ofalea Foundation and Betty Elings Wells. Santa Barbara... Read More

Sarah Stokes, Carol Palladini and Sallie Coughlin

Nearly 200 members and guests of the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara witnessed the power of collective philanthropy...see page 12 for the full story.


Ninth annual site visit highlights the work of local nonprofit organizations benefiting from $525,000 in contributions.

It's often said that seeing is believing, and that was certainly the case for more than 150 members of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara last Thursday as they toured local nonprofit agencies to see what their most recent $525,000 in grants were doing to help the community.

The annual site visit included tours of three nonprofit facilities — ... Read More

Victoria Jaurez and Craig Price, Girls Inc. of Carp. with Sally Tannenbaum

Victoria Juarez, Executive Director, and Craig Price, Board Trustee of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, attended the Women’s Fund annual awards luncheon to accept a $50,000 grant for the Girls Inc. Eureka! project, a five-year program for girls beginning the summer before eight grade and continuing through the twelfth grade.

"The Women's Fund of Santa Barbara is thrilled to be supporting the Eureka! Program of Girls Inc. Carpinteria," said Sally Tannenbaum, member of the Women's Fund. "Our members believe the program is compelling and look forward to hearing success stories of girls from... Read More

Presenting the check to Easy Lift

Fueling efforts to provide specialized transportation services to the entire Santa Barbara community, Easy Lift Transportation will now significantly expand its Children’s Accessible Transportation program thanks to a $65,000 gift from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara. 

Presenting the check at Easy Lift’s board retreat on May 30 was Women’s Fund Research Committee members Sallie Coughlin and Debby Ciambrone.

Carol Palladini, WF and Irene Macias, SB Library Director

The 17th Annual Wildlife Sanctuary Awards was held at the Biltmore on April 7, 2013. The event is sponsored by the SB Wildlife Care Network which rescues and rehabilitates both birds and mammals. The Women's Fund, CALM and the Garden Club were presented with awards by Irene Macias, the director of the SB Library.

"Each year the Wildlife Sanctuary Awards are presented to those whose generous donations of time, energy, and financial support have made a difference in our community, 'our sanctuary'. We are honored to celebrate those women, men, and institutions that have contributed so... Read More

Carol Palladini and Susan Deacon

On October 13, 2012, the Women's Fund received the Santa Barbara Education Foundation's 2012 HOPE Award, given annually to honor those who are champions of public education in our community.

Pam Maines, WF; Michele Allyn, Friends of the SB Library; Irene Macias, SB Public Library Director

The Friends of the Santa Barbara Public Library received $65,000 from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara to expand the number of Early Literacy touch-screen computer stations available in the library system 19 to two. The new educational computers for young children will be installed in the Goleta, Eastside, Montecito, Carpinteria and Central libraries this year. 

The Early Literacy computers from AWE (Advanced Workstations in Education) have child-friendly menus, about 30 English and 30 Spanish learning games, touch-screens and colorful keyboards. Eleven Early Literacy stations will... Read More


Philanthropist Betty Elings Wells surprises the group with a $250,000 matching grant pledge for the next giving cycle.

The power of collective giving was out in full force Monday when more than 300 members of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara gathered for the Eighth Annual Presentation of Funds Luncheon, doling out $520,000 to support the work of eight local nonprofits. The new grants bring the total contributions by the Women’s Fund to the community to $3.6 million.

2011 WF Site Visit

Seeing the impact of their gifts in action was a gift in itself for more than 100 Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara members who toured local nonprofit agencies last week. The visits were a way for Women’s Fund supporters to see how their most recent $565,000 in grants—for the 2010-2011 giving cycle—were addressing critical needs in the community.

Heroes for Justice award ceremony

The Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County presented its fourth annual "Heroes for Justice" awards on May 14, 2011 to a full house at the DoubleTree Hotel. The Women's Fund of Santa Barbara was the nonprofit selected to receive this prestigious award. Pictured with Parm Williams are: Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa (honoree), Ellen Goodman (Executive Director of the Legal Aid Foundation), Allan Ghitterman (honoree) and Sylvia Barnard (Executive Director, Good Samaritan Shelter of Santa Maria - honoree).

Parm Williams, Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa, Ellen Goodman, Allan Ghitteman, Sylvia Barnard

The Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County presented its fourth annual "Heroes for Justice" awards on May 14, 2011 to a full house at the DoubleTree Hotel.

The Women's Fund of Santa Barbara was the non-profit selected to receive this prestigious award.


Six organizations are selected to receive awards funded in part by a matching grant from philanthropist Betty Elings Wells.

“If there is a theme to this day — and to this past year — it is growth,” Steering Committee chairwoman Sarah de Tagyos said in welcoming more than 300 members of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara to the Seventh Annual Presentation of Funds Luncheon on Monday. This year, the fund awarded $565,000 to support the work of six local nonprofit organizations: the Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main, the Channel Islands YMCA, the Children’s Project Academy... Read More

Women's Fund Members Honored

At the 2010 annual Mistletoe Ball, the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara was honored for its $85,000 grant to Catholic Charities of Santa Barbara for installation of solar panels on the agency's food pantry, lowering energy costs and thus increasing their Foodbank budget to feed low-income families.

Women's Fund Logo

During a time of economic uncertainty and lower trends in charitable giving, one longtime Santa Barbara philanthropist is leading the way and demonstrating her belief in the power of collective giving, through the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara.

Betty Elings Wells, a member of the Women’s Fund since 2005, has committed $250,000 in a 2-for-1 match for every dollar the Women’s Fund raises above $350,000 by December 1. As of May 1, Women... Read More


Philanthropy pool unites 400 women and makes a $2.5 million difference in the nonprofit community.

“Low-key, yet high-impact” is an apt description for both the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara and its founder, Carol Palladini. Formed in 2004 around the idea that rather than spending their energy planning elaborate fundraisers, women could work together and pool their donations to help meet the community’s most critical needs, the group has already given more than $2.5 million to 33 nonprofit agencies in the Santa Barbara area.


The six-year-old Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara awarded a hefty total of $365,000 in grants to five local nonprofit agencies, focusing this year on organizations that provide shelter. In a ceremony at the El Paseo Restaurant on Monday, February 8, Casa Esperanza Homeless Shelter was awarded the largest grant, at $90,000; followed by Catholic Charities ($85,000); Domestic Violence Solutions ($75,000), St. Vincent’s of Santa Barbara ($75,000) and Sarah House, a hospice residence for low-income individuals ($40,000). Founding board chair Carol Palladini expressed gratitude to the Women’s Fund’... Read More


Seeing the impact of their gifts in action was a gift in itself for more than 100 members of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, who toured local nonprofit agencies last week to see what their $725,000 in grants were doing to improve the community.

Tish Gainey with future leaders

Future Leaders of America was the proud recipient of a coveted and competitive grant award from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara this week. Fund representatives Tish Gainey and Parm Williams presented a $65,000 check at the nonprofit organization’s board meeting Monday. Representatives from all area high schools, SBCC, Future Leaders of America executive director Angeles Arroyo and board members were on hand for the ceremony.


A record $725,000 in grants is made by the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara to the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy and nine other organizations.

In a climate of economic uncertainty, the tendency is to stand pat rather than step forward. The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara didn’t get the message.

On Tuesday, more than 250 women — and a smattering of men — packed themselves in to El Paseo Restaurant to learn who got what when the fund’s 2008 grants were announced. The 5-year-old pooled investment organization has been growing steadily, from 79 members doling out $140,000 to two... Read More

Research Co-chairs, Stina Hans and Tish Gainey

The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara has announced its leadership for 2009. Rachael Ross Steidl and Fleurette Barsom-Janigian have been named co-chairwomen of the oversight committee, and Stina Hans and Tish Gainey have been named co-chairwomen of the research committee.

Women's Fund honorees

The Women's Fund received the Light of Hope Award from Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the children they serve at their November Forgotten Children event. The inscription reads: "We appreciate your vision, patience, and generosity for our casa at CASA." In 2006, the Women's Fund granted $180,000 for CASA's new headquarters, which are now completed.

WF logo

At the annual Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Shining Star Luncheon in 2007, the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara received one of two "Shining Star" honors. The Women's Fund gift came at a critical time when the Center moved to new headquarters.

The old quarters were overcrowded and in extremely substandard condition. Finding a place was difficult because many landlords would not rent to this type of agency. Therefore, when the current location was found, SBRCC needed to immediately take the lease, with no funding for remodeling or furnishing for the interior spaces in place.

Our gift... Read More

WF logo

At the 2007 opening of the Twelve35 Teen Center, the Women's Fund was honored as "Best Executive Producer" for donating equipment and furnishings to the Santa Barbara Teen Center! The Library/Study Room is dedicated to Harriet Miller, WF member and former city mayor. We can feel good knowing that our gift is keeping many teens off the street and out of harm's way.