January 19, 2023
You are here:  Home  >  Opinion  >  Editorials  >  Current Article

Editorial: Regional nonprofits star in California rankings


We’ve known that Central Coast citizens were a philanthropic group, but the quality of area nonprofits has always been difficult to gauge.

Recent reporting by the website Charity Navigator gives a bit of insight into how well the best-run nonprofits in the area fare when compared to their peers in California and nationwide.

We’ve noted previously the excellent and highly effective work done by Direct Relief, Charity Navigator’s No. 1 ranked organization nationally for 2014. That’s right: Among 9,000 nonprofits nationwide, Direct Relief claimed the top spot on a scoring system that measures efficiency and impact.

But what’s also encouraging is that the top 50 Charity Navigator list for California includes Oxnard-based Food Share at No. 17, Dream Foundation of Santa Barbara at No. 31, Santa Barbara Museum of Art at No. 38 and Vitamin Angels, also based in Santa Barbara at No. 46.

With four nonprofits in the top 50, Santa Barbara ranks No. 3 among California cities. That is to say it is behind No. 1 San Francisco and No. 2 Los Angeles, but tied with Oakland and ahead of San Jose and San Diego. With one in the top 50, Oxnard joins Newport Beach, San Mateo and Berkeley in fairly elite company.

Two of the five are local organizations, Ventura County’s Food Share is legendary in its efforts to make sure no one in the county goes hungry, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is the No. 6 ranked attraction in the region, according to the Business Times Book of Lists, reaching 150,000 residents and visitors each year.

Direct Relief’s role in disaster recovery is world renown. Less well known is the work of Vitamin Angels and founder Howard Schiffer and their effort to make sure that pregnant women and kids under five get the vitamins they need. Or Dream Foundation’s national outreach to families with adult members facing grievous illness.