Helen Paul Memorial Grant Awarded for Activating Senior Volunteers

The Senior Programs Fund, a Committee Advised Fund of the Santa Barbara Foundation, awarded a special, one-time $50,000 Helen Paul Memorial Grant to Family Service Agency, an established human-service organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Santa Barbara County’s most vulnerable children, seniors, and families.

The Senior Programs Fund was established earlier this year from the assets remaining after the dissolution of the nonprofit agency, Senior Programs of Santa Barbara, founded in 1987 by the late Helen Paul. Ms. Paul recognized how activating senior citizens in volunteer positions throughout the Santa Barbara County created a win-win situation: seniors would benefit by remaining connected to their community and the community would benefit by receiving the skilled services of its retired citizens.

The spirit of the original organization continues through the fund, and the Helen Paul Memorial Grant honors the memory and intentions of its founder.

In deciding which nonprofit organization to award, the fund looked for a program involving senior volunteerism in creative and useful ways. It sought a group that engaged seniors in ways that develop their lives emotionally and intellectually, and would also grace the lives they touched.

“We found this in the Family Service Agency’s Big Brother, Big Sister mentoring program, which matches adults 55+ with at-risk children aged 6-18,” explained Jean Gilbert, Senior Programs Fund Chair. “We recognized that the agency was experienced in managing such a program and in managing its overall services. The Senior Big Brothers and Sisters would be cultivated by participating in the program, as would the at-risk kids.”

"That," Gilbert noted, is a “Helen Paul win-win!”

Moving forward from this signature grant, the Senior Programs Fund will offer program grants ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 to support programs and projects directed to the welfare of senior citizens. The fund will also make $10,000 available each year for Express Grants. These are grants up to $1,000 for small projects, short-term opportunities and sponsorships that address the needs of local senior citizens.

Click here to learn more about the Senior Programs Fund and its grant opportunities.

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