Uplifting Beauty, in All Its Incarnations

By Giving List Staff   |   October 29, 2021

Santa Barbara has been fortunate to have many proud residents. One of them was Pearl Chase, a founding committee member of Santa Barbara Beautiful, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to stimulate community interest and action toward the enhancement of Santa Barbara’s beauty as a complement to current and future civic and private activity.

Chase dedicated herself to a life of beautifying Santa Barbara and was a pivotal figure in the transformation of the city’s aesthetic, including the integration of the city’s now iconic Spanish Colonial architecture. One of Chase’s greatest contributions to the mission of the organization was to define beauty in much broader terms than the physical beauty for which Santa Barbara is already so renowned.

“What is community beauty? What is natural beauty? What is family beauty? People would answer that in different ways,” says 2021 Board President Deborah Schwartz. “It is important because beauty needs to be larger in its definition. We want everyone in the community, every demographic, to experience the beauty of Santa Barbara in a way that’s accessible, enjoyable, and enriching – not just those who have the financial means to pay for beauty.”

The organization does much to enhance natural beauty, of course. Find any tree on any street in Santa Barbara and the odds are high it was planted with the support of Santa Barbara Beautiful.

To raise awareness of the trees in Santa Barbara’s urban forest, a popular series on their website features a Tree of the Month profile. Each article is read by thousands, with website hits from all over the world.

The nonprofit contributes to the city’s physical beauty too, supporting public art projects like the I Madonnari Italian Street Festival, Pianos on State, and the new Granada Plaza Mural, as well as the restoration of the Campbell Bridge at the Botanic Garden. Each year, individuals, organizations, and businesses are recognized and celebrated for their contributions to the fabric of Santa Barbara. Important private and community public-access projects that have enhanced the quality of life and expanded the beauty of Santa Barbara are honored. It is also active in civic beauty, with a long track record supporting cultural and educational initiatives. Every year it grants multiple scholarships to college students in Santa Barbara majoring in horticulture and architecture.

In celebration of National Arbor Day in April, the Adams Elementary School and Cold Spring School welcomed the return of in-person Arbor Day Tree Planting Ceremonies. The children were excited to help with shovels of dirt, and the newly planted trees supplied by Santa Barbara Beautiful lifted everyone’s spirits. Now in its 66th year, Santa Barbara Beautiful continues with the mission expressed by Pearl Chase to encourage and enhance beauty and civic pride in Santa Barbara.


Santa Barbara Beautiful

Donate now!

(805) 965-8867
Board Secretary: Susan M. Bradley


The purpose of Santa Barbara Beautiful is to stimulate community interest and action toward the enhancement of Santa Barbara’s beauty as a complement to current and future government and private activity.

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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.

Now in its 12th year, Pianos on State is an interactive musical experience that takes place in downtown Santa Barbara during Arts and Humanities Month. Santa Barbara Beautiful has been a major sponsor and champion of this public art project since its inception. Pianos on State appreciates how Santa Barbara Beautiful’s support has inspired creativity and spontaneity for all to enjoy. We are so grateful for their visionary and steadfast support of this popular program as it has grown over the years.
Casey Caldwell
Managing Director
of the Community Arts Workshop

Planting Seeds of Beauty

Since its inception in 1965, Santa Barbara Beautiful has been actively involved in promoting and supporting the planting of trees along Santa Barbara’s streets.

The nonprofit administers the Commemorative Tree Program for qualified new and existing city street trees. Sponsorship with a commemorative plaque gives donors an opportunity to support the urban forest and create a lasting tribute. To date, Santa Barbara Beautiful, in partnership with the Urban Forestry Division of the City of Santa Barbara, has funded the planting of over 13,000 street trees.

In addition to the Commemorative Tree program, Santa Barbara Beautiful rounds out their annual budget through memberships, private donations, and Legacy gifts. In supporting the organization, donors contribute to keeping the county beautiful through the planting of trees, the funding of art in public places, the restoration of community landmarks, and the nurturing of cultural and educational programs.

Key Supporters

2021 Board of Directors:
Deborah L. Schwartz, President
Santos Escobar, Vice President and Treasurer
Jeffrey Sipress, Vice President IT
Susan M. Bradley, Secretary
Jacqueline Dyson, Assistant Secretary
Suzanne Fairly
David Gress
Penny Haberman
Lori Kari
Kate Kurlas
Kerry Methner
Robert Ooley
Ellen Robinson
Caroline Rutledge
Leslee Sipress
Nathan Slack
Mark Whitehurst