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. Their goal was to ensure that the hospital continued providing excellent medical care and all funds raised were used locally.

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

In 1998, St. Francis Hospital and the St. Francis Foundation 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 continued in our community under Dignity Health.

In 2022, the St. Francis Foundation in cooperation with Dignity Health, terminated their agreement positioning St. Francis as an independent, public foundation.

The Parish Nursing Program, which began at St. Francis Hospital and now managed through Cottage Health, is of great focus for the Foundation.  Nurses work in local churches and with organizations such as: PathPoint Mental Health Program, Catholic Charities, PATH, several housing facilities for low-income seniors and many local service agencies.

In addition, the Foundation also funds nursing scholarships, street medicine, family support programs, palliative and hospice care.

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 in our vision to join us in our mission.


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


Donations go to local nonprofits that prescribe to the St. Francis Mission.  ALL fees associated with our Foundation’s operating costs are covered by the Foundation. No amount of your donation goes towards overhead.