Food Grant Program

2019 Grant Guidelines

Statistics from Feeding America indicate that 44,960 people, or 10% of Santa Barbara County’s population, are food insecure, and for children under 18 years of age, the food insecurity rate is as high at 18.5% (Children’s Scorecard, 2017). Food insecurity describes a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active and healthy life. Food insecurity is one way to measure and assess the risk of hunger. In the United States, 1 in 8 people currently struggle with hunger. As of 2016, 41.2 million Americans live in food-insecure households, including 28.3 million adults and 12.9 million children. Yet, the majority of individuals who are food insecure do not live in poverty, and the majority of people who live in poverty are not food insecure. Although the preceding may seem counterintuitive, the reasons may be varied, but in general, those who fall into poverty have greater access to government assistance programs than those who are above this threshold.

Food insecurity can have wide impacts on both individuals and families. Such impacts include:

  • Serious health complications, especially when people facing hunger are forced to choose between spending money on food or medicine or medical care
  • Damage to a child’s ability to learn and grow
  • Health difficulties for seniors, who are often living on fixed incomes and have to choose between paying for food or critical health care

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. The timeline for the grant cycle related to the food program area will take place from mid-July through December. Applicants must select the area of funding that most closely represents the mission of their organization. Organizations are not eligible to apply to more than one program area.



Food Grants will be available to nonprofit organizations directly providing programs that are addressing food insecurity. 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 food insecurity
  • 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 programs that provide food security
  • 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 food insecurity


Funding Amounts and Duration

The maximum award for Food 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. In lieu of a final report for this work, we plan to host a convening in 2020 with other recipients to learn and share your work. If your organization received a Core Support for Basic Needs Grant in 2018, the corresponding final report is independent of this grant application.


Grant Limitations

Food Grants are not intended for:

  • Organizations that are not directly providing services to address food insecurity
  • Solely behavioral health, shelter & safety, or health care-related projects or programs
  • 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 County.
  • 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 log in 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

 August 15, 2019 Application Deadline
December 2019 Funds Awarded
December 16, 2020 Final Report Deadline



Contact Information

For questions regarding the Food program area and funding eligibility, please contact Pedro Paz, Director of Grantmaking, (805) 963-1873 or

For technical assistance, please contact Deanna Vallejo, Community Engagement Associate, (805) 963-1873 or