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Racial Equity Fund aims to invest in Santa Barbara County anti-racism initiatives

Courtesy: The FUND Santa Barbara

After the killing of George Floyd in 2020 reignited an ongoing racial justice movement, Santa Barbara County’s Board of Supervisors declared racism a public health crisis and pledged $500,000 to address equity issues locally.

About half of that money was allocated for Santa Barbara County’s internal equity projects.

The remaining funds were earmarked to be distributed through something called the Racial Equity Fund of Santa Barbara County, built specifically to invest in and strengthen organizations that are addressing anti-racism through systemic change strategies in the county. It’s part of a larger community foundation called The FUND.

Patricia Solorio is the associate director for the FUND. She said local communities are really leaning into supporting racial justice work right now.

“What happened with the pandemic and then since George Floyd and all that has happened since, it’s just kind of highlighted and elevated the issues that we’ve been working on for all of these years,” Solorio said.

She said the FUND is accepting applications for the Racial Equity Fund from historically oppressed, marginalized and underrepresented Santa Barbara County groups that are working on advocacy projects that address policy and systemic racism.

“We want groups that have been directly harmed by racist policies and marginalized by systemic racism,” Solorio said.

Applications are accepted through February 11. Interested applicants are invited to attend a grant application workshop via Zoom January 18 at 6 p.m.

Rachel Johnson is one of two co-chairs of the FUND for Santa Barbara’s Grant Making Committee. She said the workshop is unique because it allows for a community-oriented grant making decision process.

“Part of the inclusive, transparent process is also a lot of capacity building where the fund staff and grant making committee members, as they’re able, meet with community members who are interested in applying,” Johnson said.

She said supporting projects through the Racial Equity Fund has far-reaching community impacts.

“When it comes down to it, there is really no area of our community or any individual who is not in some way touched by inequities or equity work,” Johnson said.

The workshop will be recorded and available on the FUND’s website. Applicants can still apply if they miss the workshop. A total of $230,000 is available to distribute to applicants. Individual groups can apply for up to $100,000 for up to 3 years.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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