United Way’s Holiday Gift Drive kicks off in Santa Barbara County

By Giving List Staff   |   November 8, 2023

Annual initiative helps make holiday season special for Santa Barbara County families in need.

United Way of Santa Barbara County has announced the launch of its fourth annual Holiday Gift Drive, a local volunteer opportunity that connects generous individuals and organizations with families in need to make the season extra special for their children.

Every year, the Holiday Gift Drive works with local schools and community organizations to bring joy and smiles to hundreds of families throughout Santa Barbara County, spanning from Carpinteria to Guadalupe. This year, the need is greater than ever before, and United Way invites partners and supporters to come together to help reach its goals for the 2023 program.

“This program is a great way for our community to get involved during this holiday season” said Kevin Muto, development executive at United Way. “The Holiday Gift Drive is one of our favorite experiences each year and it’s an honor to be a part of neighbors and friends coming together to make the season brighter for the families we serve.” 

United Way, in collaboration with its extensive network of program and community partners, has gathered wish lists from hundreds of children in the region. Each wish list shares more about the child’s general interests, hobbies and specific gifts they’re hoping for this holiday season. These wish lists serve as a general guide for those who wish to participate in this initiative, and volunteers are encouraged to select and purchase special and personalized gifts for the lists they’ve adopted however they are able.

As the holiday shopping season and Black Friday sales approach, all wish lists will be distributed to participating organizations by the third week of November, ensuring ample time for gift selection and preparation.

United Way invites community members to participate in this initiative by confirming involvement or adopting their wish lists by Nov. 10. To ensure the timely delivery of gifts to participating families, all presents should be wrapped and dropped off at the United Way office (320 E. Gutierrez St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101) by Friday, Dec. 8, 2023. To learn more about the drive, adopt a wish list, or view a list of commonly requested items, please visit https://www.unitedwaysb.org/hgd

About United Way of Santa Barbara County

Since 1923, United Way of Santa Barbara County has been a key leader in local efforts to empower children, families, and communities through its own unique collaborative programs and initiatives, partnership convening efforts, volunteer development, and funding. United Way’s mission is to enrich the lives of children and families and build resilient communities by leading local programs and partnerships that improve school readiness and academic achievement, financial empowerment, and crisis response and recovery. To learn more, please visit unitedwaysb.org.


United Way of Santa Barbara County

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(805) 965-8591
President & CEO: Steve Ortiz


Our mission is to enrich the lives of children and families and build resilient communities by leading local programs and partnerships that improve school readiness and academic achievement, financial empowerment, and crisis response and recovery.

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Decades of Support

What I appreciate most about United Way’s approach to programming and outreach is that there is an organizational insistence on engaging the whole community. What that means for me personally is that United Way makes it fun and easy to support Fun in the Sun as it encourages more direct donor involvement with the program. This gives me a hands-on and close-up view of the work being done to support both our public schools and students. United Way makes it easy for donors to access all the programs and it involves members of our community at all levels in contributing, volunteering, and active learning about how we can collectively make our wonderful city and county an even better place for all.
David Jackson
Zegar Family Foundation

The Next 100 Years

In addition to its celebration of the 100-year anniversary alongside the volunteers, staff, partners, and supporters who have made the milestone possible, United Way of Santa Barbara County is also undertaking its first endowment campaign since 1982. 

“Our success in launching new programming and establishing new projects and partnerships are a benefit of that campaign 40 years ago,” President & CEO Steve Ortiz says. “With an evolving community, we need to prioritize maintaining UWSBC’s responsive and innovative programmatic infrastructure to adapt to changing needs. Endowment gifts or special anniversary donations will help UWSBC to stay strong for the next 100 years and sustain our impact on behalf of individuals, children, and families countywide.”

UWSBC Board of Directors

Cliff Lundberg, Chair
Vice President Emeritus, Westmont College
Diane B Doiron, CLU, Vice Chair
Owner, Doiron Financial Associates
Susan Hersberger, Vice Chair
Retired Public Relations Executive
Leo Hamill, Treasurer
Senior Vice President/Regional Manager, City National Bank
Steve Ortiz, Secretary
President & CEO, United Way of Santa Barbara County
Rick Scott, Immediate Past Board Chair
Nonprofit Executive
Tim Armour
Retired Executive
Sue Birch
Retired Educator
Lance Connor
Reliable Engineering Services
David Flattery
Vice President of Business Development, DuPont Displays
Robert Hollman
Commercial Real Estate Developer & Owner
Alex Koper
President & CEO, MoXi, Global Mortgage Group
Shari Liu Fellows
Co-Founder/Principal, The Grayson Agency
Terri Maus-Nisich
Assistant CEO, County of Santa Barbara
Art Merovick
Retired Executive
Kevin Nelson
Director of Corporate Compliance, Cottage Health
Patrice Ryan
Retired Executive