Welcome to The Giving List Santa Barbara, 2023

By Gwyn Lurie   |   November 26, 2022

We are thrilled to present you with this year’s edition of The Giving List Santa Barbara.

One of the things I love about Santa Barbara County is that it’s small enough to feel manageable, yet big enough to offer a robust and interesting tapestry of people, communities, and causes. In Santa Barbara you can make a difference in people’s lives through good work and innovative programs to tackle challenges that in larger regions seem too overwhelming; you can bring together groups to create invaluable partnerships to solve problems. Nowhere is this reflected more clearly than in Santa Barbara’s nonprofit and philanthropic community.

The Giving List was created out of the belief that storytelling, humanity’s most powerful tool, is vastly underutilized in educating donors on the work being done by nonprofits. Three years ago, Santa Barbara became the lab for us to test this theory – that telling powerful stories could help nonprofits raise more money by providing donors with a compendium of narratives describing the work being done by some of the region’s most vital nonprofits. We also suspected that by giving donors more information on a broader array of giving options, we could help build stronger relationships between our local nonprofits and the community it depends on for its survival.

So began our Giving List journey and our work telling the stories behind the region’s nonprofit leaders and organizations on the front lines of recovery, pressing for social and racial justice, uplifting our children and families, supporting the arts, and fighting to preserve our precious natural world. 

We’ve learned a lot since that first book. We’ve learned about the importance of specificity in an ask. That when people feel moved, they feel motivated to give. That a big check is great, and we’ve seen many come in, but nothing’s more important for the long-term resilience of a nonprofit than building strong, lasting relationships with donors. 

This is the first year we’ve included some of Santa Barbara’s prominent religious organizations and their powerful stories about the intersection of faith and philanthropy. I’ve been so inspired to learn about the deep impact that our local faith organizations have on our region and how vital a role they play in providing a safety net for Santa Barbara residents.

These are fast-moving times, with an ever-growing list of causes that demand our attention. As we move through COVID and the inequities it laid bare, a cataclysmic housing crisis, and the ongoing call for greater racial and gender equity, there are other pressing needs: the war in Ukraine, gun violence, an assault on women’s reproductive rights, and an uptick in racism, antisemitism, and hate, all while wildfires and drought underscore a deepening climate crisis.

If you’re a longtime donor to Santa Barbara nonprofits, we hope this book can help you be more thoughtful in your giving as you’re inundated by all the challenges mounting around us. If you’re newer to Santa Barbara, or to giving in general, we hope we can help direct you to some of the wonderful giving opportunities that would make a difference in this region and beyond. In any case, our intention is to help you break through some of the noise created by so many pressing needs.

The organizations in this book are not the only ones that are worthy of your support. But we do believe that the nonprofits represented in these pages represent Santa Barbara’s uniquely vibrant nonprofit and philanthropic culture. They are organizations doing important work, at an important time, and are worthy of your strong consideration. 

This book would not be possible without the support of some of Santa Barbara’s premier institutions. We are deeply grateful to Montecito Bank & Trust, which wrote the book on community giving and has been our premier partner since The Giving List’s inception. The Santa Barbara Foundation and the Mosher Foundation have likewise been amazing partners to us from the start. The impact of these institutions’ ongoing commitment to Santa Barbara’s nonprofit community is immeasurable. We also want to say a heartfelt thank you to our partners Southern California Public Radio and California State University, Northridge for their continued support and belief in The Giving List. And we are also grateful for our newer relationship with J.P. Morgan, and for their partnership in this book.

We hope you are as inspired by reading this book as we have been in making it.


Gwyn Lurie
CEO, The Montecito Journal Media Group