Behavioral Health Program Area 2020 Grant Guidelines

In 2020, the Foundation will continue to be intentional in supporting purposeful pathways to build stronger communities. Of particular importance is how critical the provision of health care and behavioral health is to life outcomes of individuals, and how often this is beyond the control of those most impacted.

Behavioral health needs within our communities continue to rise rapidly among all ages and demographics, and individuals with mild-to-moderate mental health impairment are experiencing unusually long wait periods for treatment as a result of the lack of psychiatrists and psychologists within the county. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that in 2018, an estimated 47.6 million adults aged 18 or older (19.1 percent) had any mental illness (AMI) in the past year. Moreover, (SAMHSA) also reported that an estimated 11.4 million adults in the nation had serious mental illness (SMI) in the past year, corresponding to 4.6 percent of all U.S. adults. Yet if this was not concerning enough, in 2018, an estimated 11.2 million adults aged 18 or older in the past year with an AMI and 5.1 million adults in the past year with an SMI had a perceived unmet need for mental health care at any time in the past year.

In order to more adequately address the different approaches required by critical areas of human need, the Santa Barbara Foundation has established four separate program areas of funding: Health Care, Behavioral Health, Food, and Shelter & Safety. Applicants will be required to select the area of funding that most closely represents the mission of the applying organization. Organizations are not eligible to apply for more than one program area.


Grants will be available to nonprofit organizations directly providing behavioral health programs. Funding can be used for operating expenses and/or costs related to sustaining or expanding service delivery programs to meet demonstrated demand.

In summary, funded organizations will:

  • be providing direct services to address behavioral health
  • be well-managed, financially viable, and operate effective programs that primarily serve the needs of poor and underserved communities
  • have developed short-term and long-term strategies for addressing identified organizational needs



Priority will be given to organizations that:

  • demonstrate sustained and/or increased demand for behavioral health services
  • are taking steps to sustain or expand organizational capacity to address demand for services
  • provide holistic approaches to serving clients, undertaken by the agency itself or in partnership with others
  • demonstrate cultural competence among volunteers, staff, and board members for the communities served
  • are addressing barriers that prevent access to services
  • are developing strategies to address the root causes of behavioral health issues
  • special consideration will be given to organizations working in collaborative approaches to address behavioral health issues


Funding Amounts and Duration

The maximum award for Behavioral Health grants is $50,000. The grant review panel may reduce or increase award amounts at its discretion. The grant period is up to one year from the award date. As a final report for this work, we are planning on hosting a convening with other recipients of the program area to learn and share your work in 2021.


Grant Limitations

Grants in the Behavioral Health program areas are not intended for:

  • services and programs that are not directly providing services to address behavioral health
  • solely food, shelter & safety, or health care (in this grant cycle.)
  • clothing or transportation
  • individuals

Please visit the Eligibility Criteria & FAQs for a complete list of what the foundation does not fund.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Grants are available to organizations serving all regions of Santa Barbara C
  • Organizations must be certified as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or use a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) tax status. Applications that do not contain a valid EIN (tax ID) number will not be considered. Organizations using a fiscal sponsor must review the Eligibility Criteria & FAQs for additional information and instructions.


ONLINE Application Process

Santa Barbara Foundation utilizes an online application. Please follow the instructions below to access, complete and submit your application to the foundation.

  • To apply, go to If you do not already have a log-in for this platform, please proceed to the next steps.
  • On the Welcome to the Santa Barbara Foundation Grants Portal page, click on “Register” and complete the form to create an account for the Grants Portal. You will be asked to furnish an email address, create a password and state the name of your organization. We advise using a perpetual email address (such as or so that the organization’s profile is not exclusively linked to one individual’s email address.
  • IMPORTANT – You will receive an email confirming that your account is active and you will then be able to complete and submit a grant application. Please take this timing into consideration when reviewing application deadlines as you must allow time for your account to be created prior to submitting an application before the deadline. (If you are establishing an account on Friday, the registration confirmation will occur on the following Monday.)
  • Once your account has been confirmed, you may login and complete the grant application.
  • Save your work often and log out at any time.
  • To access the partially completed application again, you will need to log into the account you created to access the grant application.


Important Dates

March 9, 2020 Application Deadline
August, 2020 Funds Awarded


Contact Information

For questions regarding the Health Care program area and funding eligibility, please contact Jenny Bruell, Community Grants Program Manager, or (805) 880-9390.

For technical assistance, please contact Sydney Casler, Community Grants Program Associate, (805) 963-1873 or