After an urgent call for funding from the community two weeks ago, the nonprofit Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics said it has received more than $50,000 from community groups and philanthropists.
At a press briefing on May 22, the group said it was in a “financial emergency” and would have to close its doors by the end of July if it couldn’t secure enough funding to continue operations. The organization runs a $200,000 deficit each month. The nonprofit said it hoped to raise $1.5 million in donations to allow it to operate for the next six months, after which it hopes to have developed a long-term business model.
Large donors include Santa Barbara-based World Dance for Humanity, which held a dance party benefit that raised $5,000, and Pacific Western Bank, which presented a $15,000 check to the neighborhood clinics at the grand opening of its new Santa Barbara branch, with another $2,500 pending from accounts opened during the event. The Mithun Family Foundation has also pledged $15,000 to the clinics.
“The response has been both heartening and significant,” SBNC acting CEO Mark Palmer said in a statement. “While we realize that our financial needs will not be solved based on individual donations alone, people in our community want to be part of the solution and feel that responsibility. They also understand the huge financial burden this will place on all of us if these folks are left to rely on the emergency room as their primary source to receive health care.”
The nonprofit provides primary care to low-income families in Santa Barbara and is the main care provider to South Coast residents without health insurance. The clinics see about 17,000 patients annually.
Along with a call for donations, the group retained a health care management consulting company to help it draw up a long-term business plan. The consulting firm’s fees were paid for by Cottage Health System.