News Articles


Silver lining (noun): a sign of hope in an otherwise negative situation.

It’s hard to imagine much of a silver lining in the middle of a global pandemic that has dramatically impacted our lives. But there is one. In Santa Barbara, we’ve seen new and expanding partnerships of public, private and faith-based organizations rising to address the growing needs in our community – particularly among our most vulnerable populations. And the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara is helping... Read More


“March 9th is the day our organization changed forever,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. He was describing the challenges in moving communities from hunger to nutritional self-sufficiency during a global pandemic.

Addressing Women’s Fund Individual Members at a virtual coffee last month, Erik shared information about the dramatic increase in the need for food services, along with the need to reevaluate all of the Foodbank’s systems to ensure pandemic safety precautions. 

“We have been grateful during this critical time,” he began, “... Read More


The Educational Events committee has brought cameras into the field to bring the work of Women’s Fund grantees into your living room. Here are recaps of recent Grants in Action events (with the videos in case you missed the premieres), plus a preview of more to come.


Seeing our Impact at SEE International

On September 29, more than 100 Women’s Fund members virtually toured SEE International’s Santa Barbara Vision Care Clinic to meet the doctors and view the optometric equipment the Women’s Fund provided through our $60,000 grant... Read More


There’s a saying that goes, “By the time a woman realizes her mother was right, she has a daughter who thinks she’s wrong.” It aptly describes the complex relationships between mothers and daughter – but it doesn’t necessarily capture the mother/daughter teams in the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara. These teams showcase all the ways that mothers and daughters connect to make a difference in our community.

In the Spreading Sunshine group, Susan Torrey and her daughter Fia, and Jill Bender and her daughter Natasha are two examples. A third mother daughter pair, Theresa... Read More


The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara research process is one of the things that set us apart – it’s rigorous, thorough, and productive. This year, it’s also flexible. How are we working differently to meet the critical needs of women, children and families in south Santa Barbara County? And where are we in the process?

We are listening, adapting, and broadening!

  1. Listening: this year, at the start of the process, members of the Research Committee conducted Listening Tours with... Read More

Maria Vega joined the Santa Barbara Immigrant Legal Defense Center earlier this summer as the nonprofit’s first full-time staff attorney. She grew up in Santa Maria and attended local schools, then went on to UC Santa Cruz and the University of Idaho College of Law. Her experiences in the Northwest Justice Project and Colectiva Legal del Pueblo in Washington made her a natural fit for the Santa Barbara nonprofit.

“It’s like full circle for me,” Vega said. “I really worked hard to be here, and it is so rewarding to be welcomed back with open hands.”

While at UC Santa Cruz,... Read More


A trip to the dentist is generally not anyone’s favorite activity; however, imagine what it would be like if you were a person who used a wheelchair. Transferring to a dental chair is extremely difficult; sometimes even impossible. It is also physically challenging for a dentist to attempt to care for a patient in their wheelchair due to the fixed height and inability to adjust the for the best working angles. 

In 2019, a Woman’s Fund grant of $70,000 purchased two compact wheelchair platforms for use in the Santa Barbara and Goleta Neighborhood Dental Clinics. The wheelchair is... Read More

PATH New Beds in women's dorm

Prior to the purchase of 50 new steel-frame beds along with bed bug-resistant mattresses and covers, homeless women had to choose the protection at the PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) shelter or the streets. It was not an easy choice as one client said, “I used to hate coming to PATH because of the bed bugs. I couldn’t sleep.”

A $50,000 Women’s Fund grant in 2019 provided an improved experience for the approximately 188 women who needed shelter every year as well as significant savings for PATH’s... Read More

2020 Members' Survey

To all 491 members who responded to the Member Opinion Survey in June, thank you!! That’s a 44 percent response rate, which is great. Your feedback is essential to making sure we are meeting our mission to address the critical needs of the women, children and families in our community.

The 15-question survey explored:

  • Issues you would like to see us research – you said healthcare, domestic violence, mental health, early childhood education and homelessness were top priorities.
  • What you like about being a member – you said combining donations to have a... Read More

Growing from a Field of Interest Fund held at the Santa Barbara Foundation, with only 67 members in 2004, to a nonprofit with over 1,100 members today, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara has come a long way and made a significant impact in our community.

Growing from a Field of Interest Fund held at the Santa Barbara Foundation, with only 67 members in 2004, to a nonprofit with over 1,100 members today, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara has come a long way and made a significant impact in our... Read More