Granting Change

Fall Application Deadline August 31

The Fund for Santa Barbara’s Fall 2010 Grant-Making Cycle has begun. According to Executive Director Geoff Green, the fund supports “organizations and activists for social justice issues,” such as economic, environmental, social, and political change. The 30-year-old nonprofit has awarded nearly $4 million to over 800 projects, and grants around $200,000 annually. Grant applications are available on the Fund for Santa Barbara Web site and at its offices. Applications are due Tuesday, August 31, at 5 p.m.

To help organizations apply for grants, the Fund for Santa Barbara has scheduled optional grant-writing workshops. According to Green, the 90-minute workshops supply both a basic introduction to grant-writing and specific guidelines on how to apply for a grant from the fund. Green said that the nonprofit has a different approach to grants than most other organizations; the requests are sent to a committee of community organizers instead of to a staff member or board of directors or trustees. The committee may even edit draft applications, if they are submitted sufficiently ahead of the deadline. “We’ll do everything except write the grant requests for people,” said Green.

The schedule for the grant writing workshops is as follows:

Thursday, August 5
noon to 1:30 p.m.
Fund for Santa Barbara Office
26 West Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara

Monday, August 9
6-7:30 p.m.
Community Cornerstone Building Conference Room
120 East Jones Street, Santa Maria

Tuesday, August 17
7-8:30 p.m.
Buellton Senior Center
164 West Highway 246, Buellton

Wednesday, August 25
6-7:30 p.m.
Goleta Valley Community Center, Room 1
5679 Hollister Avenue, Goleta

In addition to grants, the Fund for Santa Barbara supports social justice groups with a free technical assistance program, which Green describes as “a jargon term for everything except for money, such as advising, consulting, facilitating, relationship building, and coalition-ship building.” Green said that over the past 30 years, the Fund for Santa Barbara has supported grassroots organizations for gay marriage, anti-discrimination, environmental education, and addressing the needs of English language learners in public schools.

The fund looks to root causes of problems, Green said, and their motto is “change, not charity.” Green admits charity “is absolutely critical, but you can do that forever and never solve all these problems because charity addresses an immediate need.” He also said that the Fund for Santa Barbara is often the first funder for small neighborhood programs, before the organization undertaking the project is even registered as a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

“Our founders 30 years ago saw all these problems with society, and we see this program as just as critical, or more so, now than it was then,” said Green. “I think the long history of our program does show we make progress in the right direction.”

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