The Cecilia Fund

By Lynda Millner   |   May 16, 2019
Cecilia Fund co-presidents Marion Schoneberger and Susan Johnson

The Cecilia Fund is the oldest philanthropic organization in Santa Barbara having been chartered in 1892. It was then called the St. Cecilia Club because she is the patron saint of music and the ladies had a small orchestra. They used their music to give concerts to raise money to assist patients at the new Cottage Hospital.

Today there is no orchestra but their only purpose is to help low income residents pay critical medical or dental bills. Cecilia pays the provider directly and many times are able to get a discount. They are still an all volunteer organization with no paid staff. Referrals for help come through social workers, healthcare providers, and medical and dental providers.

Emcee for the Cecilia Fund tea Ernesto Paredes, honoree Mary Solis, and speaker Zane Stull
Cecilia Fund members Sigrid Toye, Mary Ellen McCammon, and Sallie Coughlin at their tea

To celebrate their 127th year, the Cecilia Fund held an afternoon of “Earl Grey & Chardonnay” at the Santa Barbara Club. The emcee was Ernesto Paredes, who is executive director of Easy Lift Transportation. Then we heard from the co-presidents Susan Johnson and Marion Schoneberger describing what the group does. Like Maria whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. She had chest paints and was left with an $1,800 medical bill. She was also caring for her granddaughter. Cecilia Fund helped out. The Fund always has more requests than they can meet. They average 100 requests totaling almost $300,000 annually. Zane Stull is suffering from a hereditary blindness disease. He spoke to us about being a recipient of the Cecilia Fund’s largess and how much his new devices have bettered his life. If you’d like to donate you can do it online at or mail a check to The Cecilia Fund, P.O. Box 92213, Santa Barbara, CA 93190.


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