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Message from the President & CEO: March 2017

We are excited to share our quarterly news with you. We have changed the layout to accommodate deeper story-telling, as we work harder to capture the voices of our community. It is your insights, passions and incredible work that fill these pages and we could not be more proud to showcase them.

In this issue, we highlight efforts to empower leaders throughout Santa Barbara County. The Santa Barbara Foundation is deeply committed to strengthening the capacity of our nonprofit sector, supporting our military service members, and ensuring that our next generation of leaders has access to educational opportunities and professional growth. Cultivating leadership is more important than ever and is core to our values at the foundation.

Leadership exists in many ways. It exists among the famous and unknown, as well as in goodness and evil. It is something some are born knowing, and something that can be learned. It comes in many different forms – inspirational, charismatic, quiet, careful listening, provocation, divide and concur, and consensus building. However, I believe that leadership absent empathy, leadership absent morality, and leadership absent good intention is empty. This is why I offer that a core part of the definition of leadership must include the notion of service, of community, and of making the best use of our time to make humanity a little better.

I am convinced that everyone can be leader. It does not take power, position, or money. We could not have come this far as a species if it were not for those millions of our brothers and sisters throughout human history who – often against great odds and risk to personal safety – led one person, family, community or people to believe in themselves, to declare that dignity is not something one waits to be bestowed on them, to make something more beautiful, to change something for the better, to resist or to cooperate.

What being a leader does require is recognizing our obligation, paraphrasing Parker Palmer, to take “our private passions into the public square.” We must go beyond ourselves and engage others. We must become more aware that how we talk, what we say, how we behave and who we choose to interact with, are all important aspects of leadership. Most of all, we need to trust that leadership matters and that we can all participate in it.

The Santa Barbara Foundation has long had a passion for leadership development and for nearly nine decades we have supported organizations that thrive on passion, leadership, dedication to others, and building better communities. Now, we are leaning into leadership even more deliberately. We live in a time where we cannot depend on just the organic identifying and nurturing of good leadership. There is too much to be accomplished. There is an urgency in the air. In such times, intentionally building leadership in every person and in every community is critically important.

We need to capture the talent, encourage the energy, boost the confidence and unleash the potential of every person who wants to lead, who knows they could lead and even those who never before recognized their leadership qualities. I hope you find inspiration in these pages to strengthen your own leadership skills, empower future generations of leaders, or to support this important work in our communities.
North County Headquarters:  (805) 346-6123  |   2625 S. Miller Street, Suite 101, Santa Maria, CA 93455
South County Headquarters:  (805) 963-1873  |  1111 Chapala Street, Suite 200, Santa Barbara, CA 93101