Main Content

Holiday Giving: Gift-worthy Santa Barbara Organizations


Money gift, big stack of dollars with red bow isolated on white background to illustrate Holiday Givng While the world is full of people in need year-round, at no time is that more apparent than during the season when holiday giving is so important. For every smiling family curled up around a warm fireplace with a massive pile of presents under the tree, there are many others who have no fire, no gifts, and sometimes, even no family or home.

If you’re wondering, “What’s the best way to give back this year?” I have the answer for you. There are plenty of worthy organizations in and around Santa Barbara as well as nationally that could use your help. And don’t forget, donations to specific charities make excellent holiday gifts, especially for those on your list who have everything.

READ: Create a High-Tech Home for the Holidays

Here is a holiday giving list of several unique ways Santa Barbara residents can give back throughout the holiday season.

Casa del Herrero

Anyone interested in architecture will want to support this local 1920’s house and museum. Designed by George Washington Smith, the Casa is one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture in America. The property and house is included on the National Register of Historic Places and maintains National Historic Landmark status in part due to its eclectic mix of Country Place Era and Moorish-inspired gardens.

What They Do:
When visitors come to Casa del Herrero, they are transported back to Montecito as it was in the 1920s and 1930s. The 11-acre estate functions as a nonprofit organization with the goal of preserving the house and grounds, as well as the Steedman family’s collection of fifteenth and sixteenth-century fine and decorative art objects from the “Golden Age” of Spain, books, sketchbooks, drawings, and horticultural records.

What They Need: Financial support for the organization furthers its mission of preserving the historic estate. These donations assist in the completion of conservation projects and maintenance of the garden spaces. Additionally, the Casa is looking for docents and garden volunteers. 

READ: Top Residential Architects in Montecito and Santa Barbara History

Santa Barbara City College Foundation

The SBCC Foundation has provided Santa Barbara City College with private philanthropic support since 1976, serving as the vehicle through which individuals and organizations may invest in the college and its students.

What They Do: The SBCC Foundation provides Santa Barbara City College with private philanthropic support, awarding over $5 million annually for student success programs, scholarships,  book grants, emergency funds, and other needs of the college  and its students–including the SBCC Promise, which provides  all recent local high school graduates the opportunity to attend SBCC full-time for two years at no cost.

What They Need: Donations of financial support for our community’s college and its students.

READ: The Santa Barbara School District


In the aftermath of the Thomas Fire and mudslides that followed, this charity organization was formed as a way to thank first responders and show them how much their efforts were appreciated.

What They Do: One805 supports first responders by funding emergency equipment and services. This is the perfect way to support our local fire, police, and sheriff’s department through your holiday giving by helping to purchase the much-needed high-tech and safety equipment that is out of budget, as well as vital counseling services.

What They Need: Santa Barbara individuals and businesses are invited to become a member at one805 and be an ongoing part of the first responders community. Financial assistance helped us come together as one community to fund essential equipment and resources.

READ: The Montecito Village Recovery Fund: Locals Helping Montecito Recover


Anyone who knows me is aware of my love of animals. That’s why I appreciate the work of C.A.R.E.4Paws, an organization dedicated to reducing pet overpopulation, keeping animals out of shelters, and improving quality of life for pets and pet owners in need in Santa Barbara County.

What They Do: This local charity works in Santa Barbara County’s most under-served communities, promoting animal welfare and assisting low-income, senior, disabled and homeless pet owners with a range of critical pet wellness services. This includes free spays/neuters, low-cost vaccine clinics, affordable veterinary care and delivery of pet food. There is also a youth program that inspires compassion for animals, and a bilingual community outreach that creates awareness around critical pet care and resources available to families in need.

What They Need: This organization is raising funds to assist more low-income, senior, and homeless community members than ever before. Your holiday giving donation will help keep animals happy, healthy, and with their families for life.

READ: A Great Interior Design Challenge: Creating a Dog-friendly Home


Right now, around 85 million people around the world have been displaced by natural disasters and conflict, something Santa Barbara residents can relate to after last year’s Thomas Fire and the mudflow that followed. ShelterBox is working to change this. 

What They Do: ShelterBox is striving for a world where no family is left without shelter after disaster strikes. ShelterBox assists in the immediate response and recovery phase by providing families with customized emergency shelter, tools, and essential items to help them rebuild their lives.

What They Need: Donations to ShelterBox can transform the lives of families who have survived a natural disaster or conflict. Your monetary donation will help the organization to provide emergency shelter and tools for displaced families.

Santa Barbara Rescue Mission

The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission is dedicated to bringing physical, emotional, educational and spiritual resources to all who struggle with homelessness and addiction.

What They Do: Since 1965, this local charity has grown into an organization that provides immediate help in the form of food and shelter 365 nights a year to those with no place else to go. Toward this goal, SBRM offers a 12-month residential recovery program for men and women desiring to break free from cycles of addiction, poverty, homelessness, and crime.

What They Need: Financial support will help provide a security deeper than any the world can offer as homelessness rises.

Of course, there are many other organizations worthy of our holiday giving. In fact, all of these wonderful organizations point to the value Santa Barbara and Montecito residents – so privileged in many ways – place on helping the less fortunate among us. That compassion and empathy is just one more huge reason why living here is a gift in itself.

If you are thinking about moving to, or within, Santa Barbara, consider there are many home buyers out there, even during the holidays. Therefore, it’s imperative to have an experienced Realtor on your team. Give me a call at +1 (805) 886-9378 or email me at and I’ll happily add your home to my portfolio of fine properties while I find you the perfect residence. I can handle the entire process, leaving you time to enjoy the season and concentrate on your holiday giving.


Please follow and like us:
Follow by Email
Visit Us
Follow Me
Trigger Page Preview Option Popup
Page Preview Save

Enjoying Cristal's blog & listings? Please spread the word :)