Each month we identify a special project or community partner and we give away 25% of our weekly Sunday offerings to this effort.
July 2021: Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California (UUJMCA)
The Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California (UUJMCA) is dedicated to advancing justice in our state by cultivating and connecting leaders and communities, and by empowering the public voice of those who share UU values and principles.
UUJMCA works to make sure that UUs have access to and participate in statewide justice education, advocacy, and witness that deepens their faith and changes life for the better in California; to make sure justice leaders are trained, effective, inspiring, and connected; to make sure congregations have strong justice ministries; and to help policy-makers and justice leaders value UUJMCA as a visible and credible partner in advancing justice in California.
Our Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to educate and organize for justice that transforms our world. UUJMCA core issues include:
- Climate and Environmental Justice
- Economic Justice
- Immigrant Justice
- Healthcare Access
- Racial Justice
For more information about how UUJMCA creates collaborative justice, and what your contribution will support, please visit the organization website: http://uujmca.org/
Justice is not simply helping others survive. Justice is collectively ensuring that we are all able to THRIVE.
June 2021: The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
The Foodbank’s mission is to end hunger and transform the health of Santa Barbara County through good nutrition and increased food security. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Foodbank has had a huge strategic responsibility to provide food and services to 300+ nonprofits across the county. It has provided emergency food to the thousands who are and will continue to be laid off from work, at a time when unemployment and food stamp offices are overwhelmed and struggling to be responsive.
In 2020, the Foodbank served 177,000 community members facing food insecurity. (For scale, 37,000 individuals were served in the aftermath of the Thomas Fire & debris flow, and 51,000 people during the government shutdown in 2019.) 41% of those served by Foodbank programs are children.
Financial donations and volunteers are urgently needed to help the Foodbank address this tremendous and unanticipated demand. For more information about the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County, including how to volunteer, please visit their website: www.foodbanksbc.org
Moving the community from hunger into health.
May 2021: The Foothills Forever Fund
(San Marcos Foothills West Mesa Purchase & Preservation Campaign)
The San Marcos Foothills West Mesa is a privately owned 101-acre property visible from Santa Barbara and Goleta, adjacent to the County-owned San Marcos Foothills Preserve. The property’s owners had planned to develop the area with eight new homes and associated outbuildings, but after extensive community interest and advocacy, have have agreed to sell the property for $18 million to a conservancy to protect and preserve it forever. The Foothills Forever Fund, a fiscal sponsorship fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation, is collecting donations from the community to complete the purchase.
The land, which is accessible by bus and bicycle, would be managed in concert with the existing 200-acre Foothills Preserve, adding to wildlife, watershed, and conservation goals. Members of the Chumash community will be involved in planning, stewardship, and uses of the land. This purchase would:
- Help create 300 acres of contiguous wildlife habitat
- Honor Chumash heritage
- Maintain open space
- Provide environmental education opportunities
- Protect the trail experience of walking in nature
This effort is a continuation of our community’s legacy of saving important open space lands for the community’s use in perpetuity. The Douglas Family Preserve, Carpinteria Bluffs, and Elings Park all faced daunting odds at first, but were successful through strenuous effort and the community rallying to save lands we treasure. Foothills Forever has a deadline of June 2 to raise the money so the time is short.
For more information about Foothills Forever, including how to volunteer to support this effort, please visit their website at www.foothillsforever.org.
April 2021: Camp de Benneville Pines
Sixty years ago this month, Rev. Ray Manker finalized the purchase of the San Bernardino Mountain property that was to become de Benneville Pines Camp and Conference Center. Camp de Benneville Pines is owned by the congregations and fellowships of the Pacific Southwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and for six decades it has been, in Rev. Manker’s words, “a special place where people could gather in nature and breathe clean, crisp mountain air while sharing their ideas about making a difference in the world.”
In normal years, Camp de Benneville Pines welcomes a year-round community of campers of all ages for three- to seven-day camp and retreat sessions. Closed since March of 2020, and at least through this upcoming summer, the camp has established an Emergency Fund for support through this time of diminished revenue.
The Camp’s Executive Director writes:
2020 was a difficult year for people and the planet. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected global society, and weather events have wreaked havoc on communities and the environment. Camp de Benneville Pines was affected by both. We continue to keep the camp in good physical shape while protecting it from potential damage from rain and flooding due to the aftermath of the El Dorado fire last fall. With hope in our hearts, we are watching the progress of controlling the pandemic and look to the day we can be together on the mountain top. Camp without campers is a lonely place.
We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received through this challenging time.
Please contribute as generously as you are able to the Camp de Benneville Pines 2020/2021 Emergency Fund Campaign. Your donation will help ensure that this beloved camp will remain open for current and future generations of youth and adult campers.
For more information about Camp de Benneville Pines, please visit www.uucamp.org.
March 2021: Immigrant Legal Defense Center
Did you know that immigrants in immigration court do not have a right to government-appointed counsel? Lack of legal representation has a profound impact on immigrants’ outcomes in removal proceedings.
Santa Barbara’s Immigrant Legal Defense Center (ILDC) believes that no one should walk into an immigration court alone, families should remain together, and no one should be kept in a detention center, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. They envision a society in which ALL people are treated equally and with dignity.
The ILDC promotes equal access to justice and due process by:
- Providing free legal services to asylum-seekers that may be eligible to obtain relief on humanitarian grounds,
- Representing people in detention seeking release through bond,
- Striving to provide security and stability for unaccompanied children who are abused, abandoned or neglected,
- Conducting Know Your Rights presentations in Santa Barbara County, and
- Hosting community clinics to screen individuals for immigration relief, assess their criminal record, and determine whether they have a final order of deportation.
The ILDC also trains and supervises its volunteer attorneys, and was recently selected as a host organization for an innovative state-funded legal fellowship program for attorneys committed to providing legal services to immigrants. Please give as generously as possible this month to support the ILDC and our immigrant neighbors. To learn more, visit www.sbimmigrantdefense.org.
February 2021: Hunt for Justice
Learning to “put legs on our faith” through giving is one of the earliest religious values we teach our children. Caring and sharing behaviors can be taught and modeled at all ages and are at the roots of teaching empathy.
And a great place for children to learn about giving? Home. Once again we are making our traditional Easter egg hunt, the Hunt for Justice, a family project. Our Outreach Offering for February will fund the charities chosen by our children.
Many children have little opportunity to learn about the work of local charities. Linking giving to interests or experiences they have had is a wonderful way to teach. A child who enjoys animals might want to support the Humane Society. Has your child had a classmate who is seriously ill? It might be helpful to learn about the work of medical charities. Or maybe your child has a classmate who lives in foster care who has benefited from a court-appointed special advocate
Thank you for helping us teach giving as a reflection of our Unitarian Universalist values.
January 2021: Sumi Nungwa
Although there will be no spring service trip this year, USSB can still support our Hopi and Navajo neighbors through Sumi Nungwa.
Sumi nungwa is a Hopi phrase meaning “to come together to help and benefit one another with no expectation of reward.”
Sumi Nungwa’s core mission is to provide food, clothing, medical supplies, and firewood to Navajo and Hopi elders seeking to maintain their traditional lifestyle on their reservations in northern Arizona. The organization also encourages Hopi and Navajo artists to continue to produce their traditional arts and crafts, as well as hosting service projects like the ones USSB has been part of in past years.
Visiting groups like USSB have roofed hogans and homes, cleaned up and recycled trash, built traditional stone bread ovens, and taken on other projects for the elders and their families. More importantly, Sumi Nungwa observes, “they’ve learned about the Hopi and Navajo cultures and spent time with the people. Interacting with the Native people is as important as learning to fix a roof.”
In response to the pandemic, Sumi Nungwa is distributing “COVID-19 boxes” to those who test positive for the virus. Each box contains a fourteen-day supply of sanitizing and isolation supplies. Let’s come together in generosity to support our elder Hopi and Navajo neighbors. For more information about Sumi Nungwa, please visit www.suminungwa.org.
December 2020 : Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara
Throughout Santa Barbara County, very young children are in need of a soft place to land after experiencing abuse or neglect. Angels Foster Care places infants and toddlers with carefully screened and trained foster families, and helps those families provide loving care until the court decides on a permanency path for the children.
Founded in 2006, Angels Foster Care is a private agency that operates independently, but in cooperation with the Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services. Angels serves children from birth to age three, and siblings to age five, all of whom are Santa Barbara County residents.
As a non-profit 501c(3) organization, Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara is completely funded by private donations from philanthropic individuals, companies, and foundations. All funding received is used to recruit, train, and support Angels families and their foster children.
For more information about Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara, please visit www.angelsfostercare.org.
November 2020 : Hillside
Hillside is an independent nonprofit residential facility serving 59 intellectually and developmentally challenged adults. Hillside’s dedicated staff provide 24-hour care, implementing their person-centered plan that includes medical care, a wide range of therapeutic support, and a wealth of life-enriching opportunities.
The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for a significant increase in expenses, as additional staff have had to be hired to care for residents who are required to remain in their bedrooms. Financial support will also assist in the creation of smaller group homes for the residents, greatly improving their quality of life.
Please give generously during the Outreach Offerings in November to support our neighbors who live at Hillside.
For more information about Hillside, please visit www.hillsidesb.org.
October 2020: PATH Santa Barbara
Founded in 1984, PATH is the largest nonprofit organization working to end homelessness for individuals, families, and communities in California. PATH provides affordable supportive housing and homeless services in 150 California cities and serves 20% of the state’s population experiencing homelessness. In the last five years, PATH has helped more than 10,000 people move into permanent homes.
In Santa Barbara, PATH operates a 100-bed interim housing program on Cacique Street that works with chronically homeless men and women, many of whom suffer from severe behavioral and physical health conditions, and some of whom are the most vulnerable in the county. PATH also operates a number of community-based programs that will house over 40 people in permanent housing over the next 12 months.
COVID-19 posed a serious threat to people living in congregate housing like PATH. Thanks to early action, high–quality protective equipment, and safety protocols, PATH Santa Barbara continues to be COVID free! The pandemic has impacted PATH financially as the agency has had to address an extensive need for personal protective equipment, and revise programming to maintain safety for staff, people receiving services, and volunteers.
PATH envisions a world where every person has a home. Please give generously in October to support this vision for our neighbors in Santa Barbara. To learn more about PATH, including volunteer opportunities, please visit www.epath.org/regions/santa-barbara-central-coast.
September 2020: Academy for Success – Santa Barbara Public High Schools
The Academy for Success is a life-changing program of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, available in each of Santa Barbara’s public high schools. The Academy provides academic and emotional support for students who identify themselves as not likely to make it through high school. Participating students are placed in a cohort to work with Academy teachers and mentors, and attend group and personal counseling to help develop healthy behaviors. The Academy program is a three-year plan. Students are identified as eligible for the program in the ninth grade, and start the program at the beginning of their tenth grade year:
- Year One—Teaching Success: Making them students
- Year Two—Connecting Lives: Community partnerships and integration
- Year Three—Post-Graduation: College and career planning
In 2018, 98% of the seniors in the program graduated from high school and 92% enrolled in post-secondary education. This year will be a particularly challenging one for all students. Funds collected through the Outreach Offering will support students’ remote learning needs, including noise-canceling headsets, electronic pencils, and other electronic necessities, as well as the purchasing of non-perishable snacks to be distributed at school sites during drive-by pick-up times. Please give generously in September to support this program and the dedicated young people it serves. For more information, please visit the SBEF website: www.sbefoundation.org/the-academy-for-success/
August 2020: Our Local LGBTQ+ Partners
The Outreach Offering for August goes to our local LGBTQ partners, including Pacific Pride Foundation (PPF), Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network (SBTAN). These organizations provide services and advocacy for the gay and transgender community.
- Pacific Pride Foundation (PPF) The Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara has had a longstanding relationship with the Pacific Pride Foundation. We turn to PPF for resources and education as we seek to grow in our understanding of the current needs of the LGBTQ community. Our own spiritual journey is enriched by our work with Pacific Pride, and we have stood with PPF in the public square to advocate for justice and celebrate our progress! www.pacificpridefoundation.org
- Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) PFLAG describes itself as “the extended family of the LGBTQ community.” Its membership consists of LGBTQ individuals and their family members, friends and allies. They provide peer-to-peer support, publications, tool kits, and other resources to support LGBTQ family members. This allows families to further support, affirm, and advocate on behalf of their LGBTQ loved ones. www.pflagsantabarbara.org
- Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network (SBTAN) SBTAN educates individuals and organizations on best practices for transgender and gender-expansive clients, patients, students, congregants and families. It creates spaces, actions, and policies that advance the welfare of transgender people and their allies in Central Coast communities. SBTAN has provided training to workplaces, schools, medical providers and social service agencies, including Cottage Health Emergency, UCSB Faculty and staff, and Santa Barbara public and private high schools. www.sbtan.org