Staff Report

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, funds raised for the COVID-19 Joint Response Effort to support Santa Barbara County are still available to help individuals and families, as well as the nonprofits serving them. Those in need of financial assistance are urged to apply for funding as soon as possible.

“United Way and its lead partners deeply appreciate our community’s trust in this collaborative effort as we get these funds into the hands of individuals and organizations that desperately need financial support,” said Steve Ortiz, CEO/president of the United Way of Santa Barbara County.

To date, the COVID-19 Joint Response Effort to support Santa Barbara County families has secured more than $1.5 million to provide ongoing relief grants for individuals and families in need. To date, 1,586 households (representing more than 5,200 individuals) have received support to help meet basic needs like housing and food, medical expenses, and other assistance from lost wages.

United Way is working in partnership with Family Service Agency to distribute individual assistance grants to individuals and families on a rolling basis for as long as funds are available.

United Way and Family Service Agency are reviewing applications and conducting remote interviews with all applicants to verify information and needs to provide case management services. United Way and the Family Service Agency will continue to review and approve individual assistance grants on a rolling basis, as funds remain available.

Those in need should submit an application for funding as soon as possible. Applicants must be Santa Barbara County residents and must be able to demonstrate need. Undocumented individuals are eligible to apply for funding. Visit to apply.

The COVID-19 Joint Response Effort partnership has also provided close to $1.6 million to 107 local nonprofit organizations to help them meet immediate and long-term community needs. Overall, this countywide collaborative led by United Way of Santa Barbara County, the Santa Barbara Foundation, and the Hutton Parker Foundation, has raised close to $4 million to respond to community needs.

“Given the long-term nature of this pandemic and its devastating economic impacts, we anticipate that community members will soon face longer-term unmet needs,” said  Ortiz. “Additional funds are needed for United Way to continue deploying critical services, and for us to continue leading collaborative efforts to address the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

United Way of Santa Barbara County urges those fortunate enough to be able to give to support the COVID-19 Joint Response Effort for Santa Barbara County.

Donations to support individuals and families can be made at United Way. To support local nonprofits serving affected community members, donations can be made at the Santa Barbara Foundation.


To learn more about United Way, visit For more about Santa Barbara Foundation, visit