We’re following up on Women’s Equality Day by highlighting some of the incredible organizations and female leaders with whom we’re so proud to collaborate. To all of the female leaders, creators, and innovators, on our team, in our community, and beyond, thank you for doing your part to create a culture of positive disruption.
Scroll onwards to see the organizations and get to know the leadership behind their incredible work!
1. African Women Rising
A small nonprofit with big impact, AFW was launched in 2006 in Santa Barbara and Uganda to empower women after War by providing technical skills and support for success via education, agriculture, and microfinance training. The African Women Rising staff, board, advisors, and directors are passionate about global women’s empowerment. Their board members and advisors are experts in various fields, and their staff in Uganda are from the communities where they work.
2. Community Environmental Council
Recognized as a 2020 California Nonprofit of the Year, CEC is one of the nation’s most accomplished environmental action nonprofits. For 50 years, the CEC has been a leader of the modern environmental movement, driving local action to affect global change. At the helm of this organization is Sigrid Wright. Sigrid has 25 years of experience in non-profit environmental management and has served as CEC’s CEO since 2015. She co-founded the Central Coast Climate Justice Network, and the Central Coast Climate Collaborative. She is co-author and/or editor of policy documents, including the county’s Regional Energy Blueprint. She is on the executive team and advisory board of the countywide Food Action Network, and has led the annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival production team for over 15 years.
3. Heal The Ocean
Heal the Ocean is a 501(c)3 non-profit focused on Santa Barbara County, but their methods also serve as a model for other coastal communities across the country. Their Co-founder, President, and Executive Director, Hillary Hauser, has been commended with recognition from the U.S. Congress, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, the CA State Assembly, and more recently a Joint Assembly Senate Resolution. She also received the venerated NOGI Award from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences for Distinguished Service.
4. Girls Inc of Greater Santa Barbara
Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, through direct service and advocacy. Girls inc of greater Santa Barbara’s board is dedicated to assuring high-impact services for girls in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and beyond. They set clear strategic direction that supports our community’s needs and their National organization’s bold goals to equip girls and teens to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers, and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.
5. Bring Back The Blue
Bring back the blue converts waste to money through the new industry “Mining For Plastic” to deliver on the promise of a Blue Circular Economy that creates jobs to remove plastic from our oceans, generate up-cycled products, and incentivizes people not to put plastic back into the ocean. Founded by Megan Havrda and Andrea Neal, BBTB is a majority Women-owned Benefit Corporation whose Pick-Up Partners are also Women-Owned Businesses.
6. The Grace Fisher Foundation
The Grace Fisher Foundation’s mission is “bringing the arts to kids of all abilities”. Grace Fisher has been a source of inspiration to many. She began her foundation after a rare polio-like disease that paralyzed her from the neck down at the age of 17. Now 23 years old, Grace is a prolific composer and artist, and remains dedicated to connecting children living with disabilities to music, art, dance, and other forms of artistic expression.
7. Shelterbox USA
ShelterBox USA hand delivers emergency shelter to families around the world who have been displaced by disaster or conflict. Kerri Murray of Sana Barbara leads their team. In addition to serving as President of ShelterBox USA, Kerri is Board President for GIRLS ROCK Santa Barbara. She is also an active member of the Rotary Club of Montecito. Kerri has more than 11 years of experience as a nonprofit executive, including at Direct Relief. She regularly speaks on issues of philanthropy, international development, and female empowerment.
8. Gwendolyn Strong Foundation
Victoria Strong exemplifies the phrase “strong as a mother”. Thanks to the work of her family’s organization, Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a changed disease. When their daughter was diagnosed with SMA, Victoria and her husband Bill were told, “There is no treatment. No cure. Nothing you can do”. Nevertheless, they launched into advocacy and funded cutting-edge research around the globe. SMA now has multiple treatments and a groundbreaking gene-therapy ‘potential’ cure for newborns, with more progress to come. In tribute to their daughter Gwendolyn, they are building the first fully inclusive playground in Santa Barbara and the foundation continues to offer practical family support for the overwhelming expenses of life with a disability.