10 Years of Core Support for Basic Needs Grants


Earlier this month, the Santa Barbara Foundation celebrated 90 years of service in Santa Barbara County. This September also marks 10 years of the Core Support for Basic Needs (CSBN) community grant program. Originally developed in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the CSBN grant program was designed to increase funding for nonprofits that directly provide food, shelter and healthcare services. The ultimate goal was to create a social safety net for Santa Barbara County residents.

Three students at a Harding School Teens Love Cooking summer class.

The CSBN grant program has evolved through the years. Beginning in 2010, homelessness among families and the elderly became a larger concern due to a lack of affordable housing, leading to increased funding for organizations addressing this issue. In 2014, a mental health component was added to the grant guidelines, facing evidence of rising need surrounding this often unspoken issue. More recently, behavioral health became an even greater priority; following the twin disasters in Montecito this past winter, demand increased for an already impacted mental health system.

“Families throughout Santa Barbara County are challenged every day to meet basic food, shelter, healthcare, and mental wellness needs,” says Pedro Paz, the Foundation’s Director of Grantmaking. “For a decade now, the Santa Barbara Foundation has supported nonprofits facing increased demand for their vital services. As the Foundation moves forward, we are committed to strengthening support for programs that help people meet these needs.”

The 2018 CSBN grant review cycle was finalized in early September, with the Foundation’s grantmaking team awarding a total of $872,000 in funding support to 23 organizations. These grants, ranging from $12,000 to $50,000, can be used for operating expenses or costs related to sustaining and/or expanding service delivery programs to meet demands. Over the last five years, the Santa Barbara Foundation has granted nearly $4 million in CSBN funding to 57 unique organizations.

Community members attend a monthly Foodbank distribution event.

There is a critical need for the services provided by these organizations. Within Santa Barbara County, hardworking families with low-to-moderate income find themselves living on the brink of poverty. The statistics are alarming: nearly 1 in 4 Santa Barbara County residents lives below the federal poverty line, and the county has the third-highest rate of child poverty in California. Many working families live paycheck to paycheck, struggling to put food on the table or pay for medical costs beyond what is covered by insurance. Organizations such as the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County collaborate with other nonprofits to ensure all community members have a support system, especially during times of crisis.

“Since the twin disasters of last winter, we’ve seen increased need for supplemental food. We served 42% more Santa Barbara County residents in January 2018 than we did the previous year,” said Foodbank CEO Erik Talkin.

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating hunger and food insecurity by providing nutritional food to those in need, while also promoting food literacy through educational programs.

“We’ve expanded the reach of our Feed the Future children’s nutrition education in all areas of the county,” Talkin explained. “Through this children’s health initiative, we provide fresh produce and cooking lessons for kids to share with their families. In fiscal year 2018, we served 67,000 children from pre-school to 8th grade countywide. The Santa Barbara Foundation’s support has been critical in helping us meet community need for food and improve families’ health through our children’s programs.”

By partnering with over 300 nonprofits, the Foodbank has been able to provide food support to a quarter of all Santa Barbara County residents – that’s over 146,198 people, of whom 38% are children.

There is real poverty in our community. The lack of affordable housing continues to affect the homeless, working families, and the elderly. Fortunately, there are many organizations doing amazing work to address these needs. The success of nonprofits like the Foodbank are essential to the health of our community, and the Foundation is committed to supporting organizations that provide high-quality services to our residents

To learn more about the Core Support for Basic Needs community grant program, please visit our Grant Opportunities page.


2018 Grant Recipients

Casa Serena – $50,000

Channel Islands YMCA, Youth & Family Services – $35,000

Community Action Commission of SB County – $50,000

Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA) – $50,000

Cuyama Valley Family Resource Center – $20,000

Domestic Violence Solutions for SB County – $25,000

Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara – $25,000

Foodbank of SB County – $40,000

Good Samaritan Shelter – $50,000

Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc. – $35,000

Mental Wellness Center – $25,000

Pacific Pride Foundation, Inc. – $35,000

PATH Santa Barbara – $50,000

Planned Parenthood CA Central Coast – $50,000

Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara, Inc. – $50,000

Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics – $50,000

Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center – $35,000

Santa Barbara Rescue Mission – $35,000

Santa Ynez Valley Fruit & Vegetable Rescue – $12,000

Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People – $50,000

Sarah House Santa Barbara – $15,000

The Salvation Army – $35,000

Transition House – $50,000

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