There’s no doubt that among donor organization in the Tri-Counties, the Santa Barbara Foundation is at the top of the food chain.
With $300 million in assets and the ability to provide $27 million a year in community grants, it ranks among the top 50 community foundations in the country.
But these days even the biggest players in philanthropy are bumping up against harsh realities. Thanks in part to the stock market meltdown, endowment levels are not what they used to be.
The state’s $15 billion budget shortfall is creating holes in the social safety net that are big enough to drive a truck filled with homeless people through. And then there are the urgent needs that come along and divert everybody’s attention — the latest being the Tea Fire in Montecito.
For the past 19 years, Chuck Slosser has seen the Santa Barbara Foundation’s asset base grow 10-fold. But he’s also seen demand for services grow exponentially. Recently he stepped down as head of the foundation, but the 65-year-old Slosser continues to consult and he’ll be a senior fellow at The Philanthropic Initiative, an organization based in Boston.
He sat down with me over coffee recently to describe how the philanthropic world has changed in the past two decades.