A Trusted Table of Community Activists and Visionaries

By Giving List Staff   |   October 28, 2021
2021 Spring Grantees

A common thread connects all those on The Fund for Santa Barbara’s team – if they weren’t professionally involved with The FUND, as it is affectionately known, they’d be steeped in social justice work in their personal lives. Those drawn to the organization feel the responsibility of giving back to the collective, of building a future that is more equitable, just, and inclusive for generations to come.

When Alina Rey Keswani joined The Fund for Santa Barbara two years ago as the organization’s development and communications manager, she immediately found herself surrounded by individuals with a shared vision. “I’ve always wanted to work in something that builds community in a meaningful and sustainable way,” Keswani says.

Fund for Santa Barbara staff

Founded 41 years ago by community organizer Nancy Alexander to help fund local activist groups, The FUND issues grants and helps build the capacity of local organizations and coalitions committed to progressive change around social, political, racial, economic, and environmental justice. 

What makes the organization such a potent force is its unique philanthropic model – it allocates funds for social change, not charity. All grant dollars are determined by a grantmaking committee made up of community organizers, volunteers, and activists with a finger on the pulse of a diverse set of social issues. The FUND believes that social conditions improve most dramatically when people organize on their own behalf, form alliances with other like-minded people and organizations, and build coalitions to confront and change the conditions that have denied them access, equity, and justice. 

“The FUND serves as a trusted table that brings folks into the fold to build intersectional coalitions to support movements for justice in all of its forms,” Keswani says.

In all, The Fund for Santa Barbara has made over 1,000 grants totaling more than $8 million to diverse causes ranging from housing rights to disability justice and food security across Santa Barbara County. Among the projects funded in 2021, Healing Justice Santa Barbara received $10,000 to support a commission that advocates for accountability and transparency in local policing. Freedom 4 Youth’s Freedom Philosophies received $9,000 to support a magazine that chronicles and humanizes the experiences of people impacted by the criminal justice system.

The track record of funding reflects a commitment to tackling issues at more than a just skin-deep level. 

“At so many charitable organizations there’s a kind of band-aid approach to a problem,” Keswani says, “but we’re really looking to get at the core of solutions, and we understand that those solutions are best determined by a constituency of people who really know the community.”


Fund for Santa Barbara

Donate now!

(805) 962-9164
Development & Communications Manager: Alina Rey Keswani


Advancing progressive changes by strengthening movements for Economic, Environmental, Political, Racial, and Social Justice.

Begin to Build a Relationship

We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s director of development and/or Executive Director.

Being able to bring people together, to help them engage in honest and open dialogue and then – most importantly – to give them the tools to put their intentions into action to make progressive change happen – all of these make The FUND an asset in our community and drive my commitment as a supporter
Steve Glikbarg

Be a Part of Local Collective Impact

The FUND raises its own money to support its annual budget; recurring monthly donations expand its ability to support organizations at the forefront of addressing inequity in Santa Barbara County.

Whether it’s providing seed money to community groups that are helping to address the crucial problems of housing inequality and racial justice in Santa Barbara or training the next generation of leaders in this struggle, The FUND is there to help.

Every contribution, no matter how small, makes a difference in this vital effort. To donate, please visit:  fundforsantabarbara.org/donate

Key Supporters

Julia Hamilton
Jean Kaplan
David Landecker
Alice O’Connor
John & Gloria McManus
Sara Miller McCune
Maryanne Mott
Linda & Dennis Fenton
Natalie Orfalea
Gail Osherenko
Sheila & Jim Davidson
Ted Rhodes
Susan Rose
John & Suzanne Steed
Dale Zurawski & Geoff Slaff
Atterbury Foundation
Hutton Parker Foundation
James Bower Foundation
Santa Barbara Foundation
Wood Claeyssens Foundation