The Caring Spirit of St. Francis Is Alive in Santa Barbara

In 1908 the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart made their way west from Illinois to Santa Barbara to operate the St. Francis Hospital. Their mission was to provide quality medical care, with special emphasis on those people most in need.

In 1956 a group of prominent local businessmen, with a deep desire to help St. Francis Hospital, formed the St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara. Their goal was to ensure the hospital continued providing excellent medical care with all funds raised to remain in Santa Barbara.

St. Francis Medical Center of Santa Barbara, 1908-2003

In 1998, St. Francis Hospital and the St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara became part of the Catholic Healthcare West system, now known as Dignity Health. Although the St. Francis Hospital closed its doors permanently in 2003, the St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara continued it’s focus of grant-making in our community, and in 2022 the Foundation, in cooperation with Dignity Health, terminated their agreement making St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara an independent, entity.

Our Giving (to-date, 20+ Million Dollars in local support)

Through wise fiscal management of donations, bequests, and a gift from the sale of the hospital’s properties, the St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara’s Board of Directors succeeded in growing a substantial investment portfolio, comprised of restricted and unrestricted funds, which has positively positioned the foundation to grant nearly a million annually to local organizations focused on health, end-of-life, palliative and geriatric care.

The Foundation’s Grant-Making process thoroughly assesses, evaluates, and selects local organizations whose missions are to help the most- in-need in our community.

We also share a long history of support for the Parish Nursing Program, which began at St. Francis Hospital in 1996 and focuses on serving the poorest and most vulnerable in our community. The program moved to Cottage Health in July of 2003, where it’s been thriving ever since. We’re eternally grateful to Cottage for welcoming the Parish Nursing program into their service offerings and we’re proud of the longstanding partnership we’ve created.

Click here to learn more about Parish Nursing program

Partial list of Grant Recipients through the decades

  • 4Kids 2Kids
    Adventures in Caring
    American Indian Health
    Casa Esperanza
    Catholic Charities
    Cecilia Fund
    Center for Successful Aging
    Direct Relief
    Doctors Without Walls
    Family Service Agency
    Food From the Heart
    Friendship Center
    Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation
  • Garden Court
    Hillside House
    Hope Refuge
    Hospice of Santa Barbara
    Jodi House
    Mental Health/Mental Wellness
    New Beginnings
    Organic Soup Kitchen
    Pacific Pride Foundation
    PATH Santa Barbara
    Sansum Diabetes Research
  • Santa Barbara City College
    Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics
    Santa Barbara Rescue Mission
    Santa Barbara Street Medicine
    Sarah House
    Scholarship Foundation
    Serenity House
    SEE International
    Showers of Blessings

With cherished memories of the past, and a vision to the future, we look forward to the opportunity to continue helping those in our community who require our assistance. We invite all who share our vision to join us in our mission.

Please contact: [email protected] for a conversation about Donor Advised Funds, Legacy Giving, Bequests and more.

ALL bequests and donations go directly to local nonprofits who meet the Grant Criteria. ALL fees associated with our Foundation’s operating costs are covered by the Foundation, no amount of any donor monies goes towards overhead.

“The St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara is a steward of financial resources bestowed to them to support local community organizations, focused on health, palliative and geriatric care.”