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Spotlight Organizations

Spotlight Organiztions

While we donate to a wide range of organizations, we have supported a number of organizations in special ways, from founding educational programs to founding entire charitable organizations. Our interest in these specific organizations has helped them to achieve their goals which span across all philanthropic areas. From political action to bike safety, these organizations are an important way to bring about social change.

DiPaola Family Foundation

Series on the Sustainable Built Environment

Sustainable Built Environment

“Unless we are sleeping out under the stars, we spend our lives moving from one built environment to another. Understanding the incredible impacts these human constructions have on the natural word is essential to understanding the environment in its totality.” – Neil DiPaola

Mission: The DiPaola Family Foundation Series on the Built Environment will raise awareness about crucial societal needs, behaviors, tools, strategies and technological innovations that promote a more sustainable built environment locally and globally.

Initiative: The DiPaola family recognizes  that the solutions to the world’s environmental problems require multi-pronged approaches, and informed citizenry and a cadre of well- trained professionals. For this reason, funding for the the series will deepen solution-centered thinking with the ultimate outcome a culmination of the nation's top research data combined with a socially conscious commitment to sustainability.

The Series: While the Bren School has tremendous strengths in subjects such as land and water resources management, life-cycle assessment and industrial ecology, the DiPaola Series will allow the Bren School Program to leverage these strengths and address new dimensions of the sustainable built environment equation. Traditional topics will be addressed through comprehensive courses geared toward developing new concepts that encourage technical and social solutions to promote sustainable built environments.

Bren Graduate School:  The Bren School’s nationally recognized professional Master’s program, its highly visible double Platinum building and its commitment to multi- and interdisciplinary education uniquely qualify the Bren School to serve as home for the DiPaola Family Foundation Series on the Sustainable Build Environment.

Social Venture Partners

Social Venture Partners

Social Venture Partners Santa Barbara doesn’t principally give money.  The value of what SVPSB Partners offer Investees goes way beyond funding.  Partners are giving of themselves… Enriching all participants involved… Strengthening the fabric of the community itself.   - Naomi Schwartz, Partner

Mission: Social Venture Partners Santa Barbara has a dual mission, seeking to catalyze significant, long-term positive social change in our community through philanthropy development and capacity building.

Projects: Our distinguished team of venture philanthropists challenges the way things are and how things are done. Partnering with like-minded nonprofits, business, and foundations, we dream big dreams and we make them happen. Our partners are advocates of social change. They use business models to solve social problems in an effective, long-lasting, and self-sustaining way. The current area of focus and investment is homelessness and affordable housing. 

Initiative: The DiPaola Foundation, has joined the collaborative efforts of some of Santa Barbara’s most prominent business leaders to create the Santa Barbara initiative called Social Venture Partners. As a member of Social Venture Partners, this allows the DiPaola Foundation to pool our resources and makes strategic investments that leverage our time, expertise, and money to build long-term capacity for our community's nonprofits. We deliver continuing partner education about local community needs and best practices in philanthropy.

Below are Santa Barbara nonprofits that have been supported by SVP funding and guidance. To find out more please visit the SVP website here


Mission: WillBridge is a path to restoration; creating opportunities to embrace life changes. The program focus is on rebuilding self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-respect. Structure, discipline, peer accountability and self-accountability aid in reintroducing people to interactive and fruitful daily lives. Gifts and talents are explored and cultivated by means of positive expression through music, art, writing and poetry.

Peer Outreach Program: One way that the WillBridge program has achieved their goals is through the Peer outreach program.

In July 2008 WillBridge of Santa Barbara, Inc. implemented its Peer Street Outreach Program. The teams consist of two Community Coaches and two WillBridge residents that make contact with and assist individuals who are homeless, secluded, and do not routinely access services. The Outreach Teams have weekly connects and reconnect with individuals they met reassuring them that they are genuine in their caring and service.

The Peer Street Outreach team identifies locations where the lone homeless individual or small groups congregate. The ultimate goals are: establish relationships, build trust, address their immediate needs, connect them to services and assist them in acquiring and moving into housing.

In addition to working with people who are homeless, the team educates local businesses to let them know about the program.

Casa Esperanza

Mission: Our mission is to assist homeless individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency, by helping as many as possible access the services they need to transition to stable employment and housing.

Street Outreach Program: Street Outreach workers comb the streets of Santa Barbara every day, building relationships that allow the homeless to seek shelter for the first time. 

Day Center: Food, clothing, medical care, job development, social services, life coaching, substance abuse recovery, and other vital services are offered to assist our members/clients into permanent housing. 

South Bay Bicycle Coalition

South Bay Bicycle Coalition

Working to make biking safer and more accessible throughout the South Bay.

Mission: The SBBC is a nonprofit organization working to make biking safer and working exclusively for the thousands of cyclists throughout the South Bay. Through advocacy and education, the SBBC brings together a diverse bicycling community in a united mission: to make the South Bay region a safe and enjoyable place to ride!

Initiative: The SBBC develops campaigns, programs, resources and events to support bicycle related advocacy and education. SBBC's current focus is to organize cyclists for advocacy, secure funds to develop and deploy a master bike plan for the South Bay, and educate the public.


SBBC Master Plan: With some sensible planning and implementation, we can create a plan that not only makes our cities more environmentally and fitness friendly, but also improves safety. SBBC is currently working with El Segundo, Gardena, Hermosa Beach, Lawndale, Manhattan Beach and Torrance to formally adopt a resolution committing staff time and City support to the South Bay Bike Master Plan initiative.  The resolutions committing City support are expected to be on the City Council agendas in each City later in the month of September.

The SBBC has been working on their master plan which calls for the implementation of sharrows. A sharrow is a shared lane marking on roadways and research has proven that they are beneficial in two ways. First, they make drivers more aware of the presence of cyclists and more likely to leave sufficient room when passing. Studies also demonstrate that sharrows educate cyclists by making them more likely to obey the rules of the road and bike safely. Specifically, cyclists are more likely to riding on the street rather than on the sidewalk (which is very dangerous), ride predictably in the correct direction, use the safest placement in the lane for visibility, and avoid parked car doors opening. To find out more about SBBC please visit their website here.


Sharrows (shown above) have been recently implemented in Hermosa’s Bicycle Master Plan.

Common Cause California

Common Cause California

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“With an imperial presidency, truth is the first casualty…. The only place where democracy really works is at the local level. The key to addressing our democracy in distress is an informed public.”

- Robert Scheer

Mission: To make public officials and public institutions accountable and responsive to citizens.

Common Cause California is a nonprofit, non-partisan citizens' lobby organization. We believe that by banding together, citizens can make a difference. We throw a spotlight on issues that affect all Californians. We work to strengthen public participation and to ensure that the political process serves the public interest, rather than the special interests.

The issues that the organization is currently focusing on include money in politics, media reform, redistricting reform as well as voting rights and registration. This broad spectrum of interest allows the CCC to ensure open, honest and accountable government institutions. 

Initiative: Common Cause California has made a difference. We have been on the front lines of numerous hard fought battles for government reform and accountability. For three decades California Common Cause has led efforts to give ordinary voters a voice in government, end the stranglehold of big money interests on politics, and put our democracy back in the hands of Californians. 


  • California Common Cause championed the Political Reform Act in 1974, statewide ethics, campaign and disclosure laws that are a model for the nation. 

  • After the election debacle of 2000, CCC successfully sued to require California to eliminate punch-card voting.

  • In 2008, California Common Cause led the effort to pass Prop 11, the California Voters First Initiative, to reform California's redistricting process and ensure accountable representation for all Californians.

We have also joined the fight to bring local ethics laws to cities across California including Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego. Find out more about Common Cause California by visiting their website here.

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