Giving Thanks for Giving

By Gwyn Lurie   |   December 3, 2020

There are certain holidays I appreciate less for their historical importance, than for the opportunity they afford us to stop and reflect upon our lives, and to feel gratitude for all we have been given. As well as all we are able to give back.

At the risk of retreading well-travelled terrain, I won’t go into how challenging this year has been for most. Still, there is much for which to be thankful, not the least of which that we live in a stunningly beautiful place that is filled with interesting, thoughtful, giving people who care for their community and their world.

On this Thanksgiving one of the things for which many of us feel thankful, is the ability and the inclination to give back. Countless scientific studies show that being generous and engaging in charitable deeds are the most common and widespread ingredients in people who define themselves as “happy.” Researchers have observed that grateful people give more, and in study-after-study gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater levels of joy.

If you live in Montecito, Hope Ranch, or in certain areas of Santa Barbara, you have likely just received, via the U.S. Postal Service, a copy of the Montecito Journal Media Group’s inaugural publication of The Giving List – Santa Barbara Volume I.

At the Montecito Journal, we believe that the work being done by Santa Barbara’s robust nonprofit community and the generous support of that work by local donors is something to celebrate.

It is commonly said that Santa Barbara is home to more nonprofits per capita than any other county in the United States. This statistic is impressive for so many reasons, not the least of which is it captures a defining characteristic of Santa Barbara, whose strong tradition of philanthropy is not only reflected in the vitality of our nonprofit sector but in the prominent role NGOs and the causes they promote play in the daily lives of local residents.

And that’s important because local NGOs (Non-Government Organization), which meet some of the most critical needs in our community, rely on the unwavering support of Santa Barbara’s philanthropic network. For these nonprofits, building relationships with donors is the key to their very survival – which, in this pandemic year where traditional means of fundraising have disappeared, many organizations are fighting for.

The Giving List was created to provide a portal through which donors can access some of the most powerful stories and information about the inner workings of many of Santa Barbara’s prominent nonprofits. By providing donors with an intimate peek inside these NGOs, we hope to help philanthropists make the most enlightened and impactful decisions about how best to give. We hope this book and the stories therein will inspire you to give even more.

In addition to the book, beginning January 1, 2021, it will be possible to digitally access The Giving List, including up-to-date information regarding The Giving List organizations, as well as a way to directly connect with the organizations’ leaders to learn more about their work, their needs, etc.

Choosing 52 organizations to be included in this inaugural book was not easy. Our aim is for The Giving List to present a wide and representative variety of work being done by our deeply rooted local NGOs. In no way do we mean to suggest that our list is exhaustive or that the organizations represented in this inaugural Giving List are our only important local NGOs. It is for this reason we have included an index at the back of the book that includes the name of every nonprofit in Santa Barbara County that could be identified by our staff – which numbers in the thousands. And it is our intention to have the capacity to include many more of our community’s nonprofits in The Giving List Vol II.

The Giving List’s mission is to help build strong and lasting relationships between our philanthropic community and the nonprofit organizations which not only serve as a critical safety net in Santa Barbara but are foundational to the functioning of a healthy, compassionate and civilized society. Given its long-standing commitment to being a catalyst for good in the communities it serves, we are proud to have Montecito Bank & Trust as The Giving List’s anchor sponsor, as we could not have asked for a more appropriate partner in this endeavor.

From everyone at the Montecito Journal Media Group, we wish you a happy and healthy and peaceful Thanksgiving. We are deeply grateful for this incredible community that allows us to get up every day and work to produce a publication that is worthy of its very special audience.

So, thank you!


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