Part II: Santa Barbara Businesses Give Back to the Community

Santa Barbara Businesses Give Back to the Community: Venoco, Santa Barbara, and Dean Axelrod, Edward Jones

Over the course of the next month, NPRN will be shining a light on a handful of business-nonprofit partnerships developing out of the Business Giving Roundtable to show the varied methods companies are using to infuse philanthropic giving into their business models, as well as how nonprofits benefit big when they do.

Business Giving Roundtable (BGR) is a growing forum where local business leaders share strategic approaches to corporate social responsibility and employee volunteerism. BGR promotes business giving, and elevates the generous contributions of its members including local entrepreneurs, international corporations and local chambers of commerce. You can see the full list of members here. Today, we focus on Venoco, Santa Barbara Foundation and Dean Axelrod, Edward Jones.

One of Nonprofit Resource Network of Santa Barbara County’s goals is to be an outlet to share news coming from the social sector.  We were honored to attend a recent BGR gathering with the purpose of reporting back to the NPRN community about the ways BGR members are infusing philanthropy into their business models.


Nonprofits see the investment that companies are making to support their causes, and are paying attention in regards to how to leverage this support.” – Marybeth Carty

ven-logoVenoco, Inc. is an independent energy company engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of oil and natural gas properties. Committed to the communities where they operate, Venoco provides Santa Barbara-based organizations with funding support, volunteer time, and with outreach and educational opportunities. Venoco is a founding member of Business Giving Roundtable.

Marybeth Carty serves at the Community Partnership Manager for Venoco, and has been working for the company over the last fourteen years to build relationships that support the nonprofit community. Venoco is currently ramping up its volunteer program in an effort to spend more time interfacing with the community. Venoco currently supports  relationships with the Transition House, as well as Partners in Education where they provide mentoring, fluency coaching, and career days. A positive, unintended consequence of making grants and building relationships with Santa Barbara county nonprofits was a recent offering by Girls Inc. of Santa Barbara and Goleta to shine a light on Venoco through their marketing channels in an effort to show appreciation for Venoco’s philanthropic support.

Santa Barbara Foundation

PrintOne of the programs that the Santa Barbara Foundation is especially excited about at the moment is the 2016 Youth Grant Program, which supports programs and experiences that promote the positive, healthy development of young people and help them achieve their fullest potential..” Cody Howen

The mission of the Santa Barbara Foundation is “to use every tool at our disposal to facilitate the building of philanthropy, strengthen the nonprofit sector, and identify and strategically address important community opportunities and needs.” Their 2016 Youth Grant Program, received more than 45 applications totaling $1.1. million dollars in requests. The Santa Barbara Foundation is awarding $450,000 through this program, which shows the need in the community for this type of support.

Dean Axelrod, Edward Jones

When business giving is strengthened, there is often a direct return on that investment.” Dean Axelrod

edwardjones-logo-usDean Axelrod of Edward Jones helps families understand how philanthropy can benefit business, as well as how when business giving is strengthened, there is a direct return on that investment. Axelrod helps individuals and businesses develop strategies for giving, and helps those who may previously be uncomfortable with talking about philanthropy become comfortable with it.  Axelrod begins conversations with clients by asking questions about the challenges they are facing, and if he hears examples that come up that seem like they could be fixed with a nonprofit partnership, he will suggest options or philanthropic relationships.

Stay tuned throughout the month to learn about a handful of other businesses giving back to Santa Barbara county organizations through innovative, impactful partnerships!

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