“What about our veterans?”
For veterans and their families, it is no secret that finding support services can be a confusing and daunting ordeal. But why? What are the barriers to support services and how can they be addressed? Five years ago, Kathy Simas, then North County Director at the Santa Barbara Foundation, asked these questions.
Knowing that an assessment was needed if the meaningful change was to be made, Kathy partnered with Nancy Berglass, project consultant and Senior Fellow at the Center for New American Security, to produce the Santa Barbara County Veterans Needs Assessment.
“We knew early on that data and creating evidence-based strategies would result in healthier, better integrated, and more civically engaged veterans,” said Simas. “The assessment clearly identified the overwhelming need to connect our community service providers in efforts to provide more leverage for funding and wrap-around services.”
The resulting Santa Barbara Veterans Needs Assessment serves as a baseline for assessing how veterans are faring in our region and identifying opportunities for how to better serve them. The study made clear that better communication and collaboration between the many public, private, and nonprofit organizations serving veterans throughout the county was necessary. As a result of these findings, the Santa Barbara Foundation deepened its investments in veteran services by providing additional grant funding and staff support.
Years of dialogue, planning, and partnership development culminated in the creation of the Santa Barbara County Veterans Collaborative, a 501c3 nonprofit in formation with a collective impact model. READ MORE
The Santa Barbara Foundation led a community-wide effort to conduct an assessment of veterans and those who provide services to veterans throughout the county. The Foundation commissioned Nancy Berglass, project consultant and Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, to conduct an assessment of the county’s veteran population.
The project aimed to define the demographic and other attributes of the local veteran population, describe the landscape of services available to them and identify opportunities through which the local community can make an impact in the lives of those who have served in uniform.
Using a mixed-method approach, the assessment included: an extensive review of national, state, and local literature relating to veterans; compilation and review of government data; compilation and review of nonprofit data; analysis of existing literature describing the national veteran population, California-specific studies, and local reports and stories from Santa Barbara-based public agencies and media; facilitation of two large-scale, geographically-based working groups of stakeholders in Santa Barbara County; and scores of individual interviews.
The Santa Barbara Foundation wishes to express our sincere gratitude to our partners, who provided financial and in-kind support, and to the many participants for their honesty and passion for the veterans in our county. The foundation remains committed to working with nonprofits, donors, and public and private organizations to improve the well-being of our veterans.
BY JORDAN KILLEBREW | June 21, 2021 “What about our veterans?” For veterans and their families, it is no secret that finding support services can be a confusing and daunting […]