In the more than 150 years since the City of Santa Barbara was incorporated, we’ve developed an international reputation. Visitors come from around the world to see our beaches, stroll along our streets, and eat at our restaurants, and Santa Barbara businesses capitalize on the city’s popularity as a tourist destination. But as every local knows, this city is more than just a Pacific paradise. Only those lucky enough to stay a while get to know Santa Barbara for one of its best assets: its unprecedented number of successful nonprofit organizations.
Even the city’s Conference and Visitors Bureau Web site suggests Santa Barbara may be “home to more nonprofits per capita than any other locale in the United States.” We’re certainly top of the class for our region. According to a study of the Southern California nonprofit sector done at Cal State Fullerton in 2000, Santa Barbara County had more nonprofits per capita than any other SoCal County, with 561 reporting 501(c)(3)s. In that same year, county nonprofits reported $1.13 billion in revenues, including $430 million in contributions.
So where does all that money come from? Much of it comes from philanthropic funding bodies, like the Fund for Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Foundation. Some of it comes from individuals and families who call Santa Barbara home and who show their support for their community through generous giving. But another chunk of that money comes from Santa Barbara’s for-profit businesses. These organizations are committed to more than just the bottom line; they know that a healthy community is just good business. Read on for a few examples of S.B. companies, large and small, that dedicate time and resources to support our nonprofits. And to all of you who keep our community organizations thriving, thank you.
This national sportswear corporation has been based in Santa Barbara for 25 years. For the past 14, they’ve held their popular Big Dogs Parade, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the Big Dog Foundation. Every year, the foundation gives thousands of dollars in cash and product donations to S.B. nonprofits, including DAWG, K-9 PALS, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
It may be a multinational corporation with global focus, but Citrix Online makes a big commitment to its home base of Santa Barbara. In addition to corporate sponsorships and gifts-in-kind, Citrix matches its employees’ charitable donations and encourages workers to commit one day per year to volunteering in the community. Recent beneficiaries include Santa Barbara City College, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Surfrider, and the Santa Barbara Symphony.
Martial Arts Family Fitness
A relative newcomer on the city’s fitness scene, MAFF has made a splash with its Kickboxers Ultimate Training program. But in the six years since they opened, they’ve also raised $12,000 for Domestic Violence Solutions, offered free fingerprinting for children in the community as part of Operation Kidsafe, and continue to donate services to community groups like Girls Inc. and the Boys & Girls Club.
Santa Barbara Bank & Trust
They’re fast approaching 50 years in town, and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust is showing its commitment to the community in more ways than sticking power. In recent years, they’ve made financial gifts and in-kind donations to more than 400 organizations, and they offer banking expertise to over 100 Santa Barbara nonprofits every year. Storyteller Children’s Center, Foodbank, the Rape Crisis Center, and Direct Relief International are among the hundreds of Santa Barbara nonprofits who benefit from SBBT’s support.
In the fall of 2002, this then six-year-old real estate company founded the Teachers’ Fund, a program designed to help Santa Barbara public and private school teachers purchase school supplies. To date, they’ve contributed nearly $500,000 to about 1,200 elementary and junior high school teachers in the county, and now partner with the Orfalea Fund as well as holding fundraisers to support education in Santa Barbara County.