Funding Social Change – Elena Richardson – Fund for Santa Barbara

In 805conversations by Mark Sylvester

In the heart of the progressive community

Elena Richardson, Director of Grantmaking, at the Fund for Santa Barbara, sat with Mark and Patrick to talk about the progressive movement in the region and the Fund’s role. We learned about the organization, her passion for philanthropy and activist causes.

This wide-ranging conversation covered a lot of ground including:

  • What she loves the most – working with the grantees
  • How they work hard at giving away 500K a year to most deserving organizations that are aligned with their Mission
  • The Fund was founded in 1980 and a bit of the history
  • What she does – it’s about grantmaking and providing technical assistance
  • Learn about the “Poetic Justice Project” as an example of the types of projects they support
  • Patrick educated Mark about Art and Activism – good to know!
  • What was an unlikely proposal that landed on her desk? Hint: it’s about bioaccumulation
  • Funding student-led work, like the Isla Vista Governance Project
  • The Youth Making Change project – sounds excellent
  • 3 Tips for successful grants
  • – Use fewer words
  • – Have clear budgets (utilization of funds)
  • – Get feedback in advance
  • – bonus tip: go to an application workshop
  • Resources for Grantees
  • We got to talking about David and Goliath battles, and there’s plenty of them in the Progressive community
  • Cool class: How to Lobby
  • How do you pay for these services you ask? Great answer – sliding scale. So if you have an idea you might just get a seed grant if you want to pursue a dream of social activism
Change. Not charity.