What’s New with Research Because of COVID-19?

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 more than 40 community leaders and agencies to understand how the coronavirus was impacting people in our region. The goal – identify any emerging critical needs, and which nonprofits might be best positioned to meet those needs when we make our grants next spring.
  2. Adapting: in a normal year, an agency that has received a grant in the previous two years is not eligible. We’re waiving that requirement this year so we can respond to the most critical needs.
  3. Broadening: we’re tweaking the financial parameters we use in our conversations with local agencies.
  4. Broadening: we’re also broadening our scope to consider more operational and gap funding this year, in addition to our normal program and capital projects.

And how are we doing? In two words – very well. Despite the extra research and the restrictions because of COVID, we’re on track.

  • We’ve completed the Listening Tour
  • We’ve completed the initial vetting of our list of more than 200 local nonprofits
  • We are compiling our short list of agencies for consideration and are inviting them to apply for grants
  • From now to December: we are meeting twice a month to review the agencies and projects under consideration
  • From now to December: we are making site visits to agencies under consideration– in a virtual and coronavirus-safe way
  • From December to January: we will make final recommendations for the ballot
  • Early February: the ballot will be completed and approved by the WF board
  • March: Ballot Review Meeting – we will share information about the projects that members will be voting on this year
  • May: Celebration of Grants – we will share which projects will be funded!
Women's Fund Newsletter September 2020