Partnership for Excellence 2023

Welcoming, Connecting and Wellness: What’s Possible?

Join us this spring for a special 30th anniversary convening of the Partnership for Excellence, as we return in person.

In a time when reflecting on pandemic lessons-learned could be beneficial, our social sector seems more pressed and stretched than ever. On May 23, we will focus awareness on how our capacity as individuals and organizations is linked to wellness.

PFE continues its mission to cultivate spaces to invite nonprofit organizations and foundations into community conversations around the leadership and wellness within the Santa Barbara County social sector. Generously sponsored by Foundation Roundtable members, this year the Partnership for Excellence (PFE) celebrates 30 years of learning, connecting, and collaborating together.

Envision a day together amid 17 acres of natural woodlands along Mission Creek in Santa Barbara. We will gather both in the indoor auditorium and outdoor oak groves on the museum campus. Experience elements of nature, interaction, and PFE’s beloved small group Community Conversations in the company of others who share your passion for serving this community.

The Partnership For Excellence invites community stakeholders across north, south, and mid-county Santa Barbara to engage in conversations about wellness. Facing today’s growing challenges in the social sector requires us to ask different questions, share the wisdom of our collective lived experiences, and apply inclusive research and local data.

Understanding wellness in this context:

  • Expands our appreciation, understanding, and ability to respect our differences
  • Increases our ability to build relational trust
  • Equips us with tools to collaborate effectively, and
  • Ultimately leverages our influence to affect change

We invite you to join us in a welcoming and inspiring space that fosters genuine connections, strategic collaborations, and dynamic opportunities for more equitable solutions.


"Our ongoing examination of who we are in our full humanity, embracing all of our identities, creates the possibility of building alliances that may ultimately free us all."

Our program intentions include:

  • Providing a remarkable experience, with meaningful connections and illuminating conversations inspired by nature
  • Reframing our thinking about wellness within the intersections of individuals, organizations, and community
  • Learning new approaches to building trust in our relationships and work environments
  • Gaining strategies to leverage our complex identities and influence to expand equity in our commitment to wellness

What’s possible when hundreds of dedicated Santa Barbara County non-profit leaders and funders convene for an entire day focused on learning, connecting, and wellness?

As we mark our 30th anniversary, we hope to stretch our ideas of what is possible. Partnership for Excellence will serve as a welcoming and restorative space to reflect, share personal stories and explore wellness as a strategic tool to advance equity in our region.

Engaging wellness invites us to explore:

  • The complexity of our individual identities, histories, and organizational wellness stories
  • New frameworks and metrics that build trust to address our wellness needs
  • The relationship between wellness and equity in our organizations
  • The essentials in creating a sense of belonging that fuels committed collective action

Join us and experience a dynamic speaker-facilitated learning exchange on proven frameworks to affect change, latest research data from the State of the Nonprofit Sector Report, and a facilitated audience panel discussion to share lessons learned. You will have opportunities for individual reflection and small group conversations to share personal stories, ideas, and experiences.


Our Gathering Place: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, South County Santa Barbara

Welcome to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, located in the south county and situated on the homelands of the Chumash people. As you explore the museum’s newly renovated space nestled among oak woodlands along Mission Creek, take a moment to reflect on the importance of recognizing and honoring the indigenous lands we are occupying for the day.

In this natural setting, away from the distractions of everyday life, you have the opportunity to slow down and connect with Santa Barbara’s rich and diverse regional history. Sitting in small groups near the creek, allow nature to support you in unplugging, recharging, and reconnecting while deepening your relationships within the community.

Together, we can explore wellness and community in this new setting, welcoming our curiosity in the outdoors while acknowledging the importance of respecting and preserving the natural world and the cultures that have lived on these lands for generations.


We invite you to commit to stay for the full program day to optimize your experience and sustain the PFE sense of community.


North and Mid-County Guests
We have your ease and access in mind. Your ride to and from this year’s PFE is not just functional — it’s fun and community building to launch the day together and share insights on the way home. PFE will provide free, roundtrip transportation from Santa Maria and Buellton locations. You can skip driving, close your maps app, and anchor your wellness experience beginning to end.

“Opt in” during registration to reserve your spot on the bus/shuttle, make fast friends and ensure you are on time at the museum for PFE 2023. If you must opt-out of free transportation and drive on your own, see details on FAQ page.

South County Guests
At this time, our complimentary shuttle is not available to South County residing guests. Carpooling or ridesharing to the museum campus is strongly encouraged.

Questions? See FAQ page or email:


This year, PFE will convene 300 local community stakeholders from nonprofits and foundations with the intention to represent the diversity of our communities. We welcome grassroots, small, and larger organizations as well as a range of roles in the sector.

Staff and board members from 501c(3)nonprofit organizations and foundations serving Santa Barbara County community members are invited to register. Consultants currently serving Santa Barbara County nonprofits are also welcome.

To help broaden perspectives and collaborative opportunities at PFE 2023, organizations are invited to register up to three (3) persons. Organizations are encouraged to diversify your registrants, and the PFE convening, by including staff from two (2) or more county locations (north/mid/south), as well as staff from differing organizational roles and departments.

Interested in volunteering with our team?

We’ll need an energetic team to support Partnership for Excellence 2023. Join our team of volunteers to assist with welcoming and production, or serve as a volunteer facilitator for a small group Community Conversation. Learn more about these opportunities in our registration form.

These dedicated volunteer advisors played a vital role in co-creating this year’s program theme and vision. Their thoughtful discussions and recommendations helped guide the program intentions to prioritize accessibility, connection and wellness for all PFE guests.


Gary Clark

Santa Barbara Foundation

Kym Cochran

New Grit
Untitled design (3)

Rosalyn Collins

RiteCare Santa Barbara

Torrie Cutbirth

El Gato Channel Foundation

Steve DeLira


Ed France

Leading From Within

Rachel Johnson

Santa Barbara City College Foundation

Ana Rosa

Rizo-Centino, Central Coast Climate Justice Network

Lauren Trujillo

Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation


Many thanks to our generous Foundation Roundtable sponsors

Ann Jackson Family Foundation
Anthony and Kyra Rogers Family Foundation
Audacious Foundation
Cottage Health Population Health Department
Crawford Idema Family Foundation
G. A. Fowler Family Foundation
Henry E. & Lola Monroe Foundation
Hutton Parker Foundation
James S. Bower Foundation
June G. Outhwaite Charitable Trust
La Centra-Sumerlin Foundation
McCune Foundation
Mosher Foundation
Natalie Orfalea Foundation
Patricia and Paul Bragg Foundation
Santa Barbara Foundation
Santa Ynez Valley Foundation
St. Francis Foundation
The Fund for Santa Barbara
The Towbes Foundation
United Way of Santa Barbara County
Walter J. and Holly O. Thomson Foundation
Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara
Wood-Claeyssens Foundation
WWW Foundation
Zegar Family Foundation

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