8:00AM – 5:00PM

Step outdoors, inspire each other, and make impactful connections among the sycamore trees and over great food.

PFE is reshaping the way our community funders and nonprofit leaders connect with one another.

With a program featuring stimulating Ignite Talks, Community Conversations and spacious reflection time, you may recharge aspects of yourself and others that our average work days do not allow.


Join us at the Partnership for Excellence 2020!

Envision a full day nestled within the rolling hills of mid-county Santa Ynez Valley at The Alisal Ranch –  where deepening connections and collaboration with funders and nonprofit colleagues are the focus. Venture beyond buzzing phones, back-to-back meetings and endless emails to reconnect with the outdoors and your peers surrounded by big trees, fresh air and stunning natural vistas. Come and co-create something amazing with others who share your passion for serving this community. 

Generously sponsored by The Foundation Roundtable for more than 25 years, the Partnership for Excellence (PFE) convenes hundreds of Santa Barbara County nonprofit and foundation leaders to learn, network, and collaborate together. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to last year’s event, PFE 2020 will again be hosted at the stunning Alisal Ranch. The program presents elements of nature, interaction, and play — an unplugged day of inspiration and connections found nowhere else.

Over two decades of participant surveys, attendees have named networking and community connections as the highest value of their PFE experience. Participants have described short reconnections in the hallways, conversations over lunch, and small group reflections during receptions as highlights of previous Partnership for Excellence conferences. This year, those precious conversations are the focus of our day.



Together we are building Partnership for Excellence around conversations with your peers, funders and colleagues. PFE will be a space to actively engage and explore with one another. Again this year, PFE 2020 participants will help co-create our day. The PFE program is intentionally designed to ignite our actions and collaborations to impact our organizations, foundations and county-wide relationships in the sector for years to come. Short powerful talks from our peers will introduce ideas and share stories to activate deeper conversations and storytelling throughout the day.

Storytelling elements of the program’s complementary Ignite Talks and Community Conversations will generate opportunities for a variety of inspirations, new connections, idea exploration and moments to imagine and refresh.

There are two ways for you to play a part in shaping our PFE program and your day on April 22:
Present an Ignite Talk and/or co-host a Community Conversation.



Our full day outdoors at The Alisal Ranch will take us from the lodge into the Sycamore Grove, gathering around picnic tables, and later letting our minds wander at the tranquil Alisal Lake. Envision trading in your commute, mobile phone and business attire for comfortable layers, sturdy shoes and fresh perspectives. Just for a day, unplug and recharge your human batteries and reconnect to build our county’s vision for the future. Together, we will explore community in a new setting and welcome the emerging and unexpected in nature.


This 10,000-acre ranch just 45 minutes north from downtown Santa Barbara and south from downtown Santa Maria is deeply-rooted in the beauty and history of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Seasonal streams crossing this land see annual runs of 10-pound steelhead trout. Rolling hills are dotted with valley oaks and coastal live oaks, many over 300 years old. The verdant glens and riverbanks, shadowed by the mountains, support healthy groves of western sycamores. The original inhabitants called this land “Nojoqui.” The new arrivals know it by the name “Alisal” (meaning “grove of sycamores”).


Your ride to and from this year’s PFE is not just functional — it’s a fun and connecting way to launch the day together. PFE will provide free, roundtrip transportation from Santa Maria (from the OLD Costco parking lot at 1700 S Bradley Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93454) and Santa Barbara (old SEARS parking lot at 121 S Hope Ave, Santa Barbara, CA 93105) and Lompoc (location TBA).  Skip driving and reduce your carbon footprint while connecting with other participants!

“Opt in” during registration to reserve your spot on the bus, make fast friends and ensure you are on time at the ranch for PFE 2020. Bus/shuttle riders, please arrive at your pick up location no later than 6:55am for 7am departures to The Alisal Ranch. At the end of the day, busses will depart back to Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc at 5 pm.

Due to limited parking and private vehicle restrictions at The Alisal Ranch, individual late morning arrivals or early departures cannot be accommodated at this venue. All attendees will be transported from the parking areas/lodge to our Sycamore Grove program site at 8 am and back to the parking areas at 5 pm. Private vehicles are not permitted in the ranch. If you must opt-out of free transportation and drive on your own, see details on FAQ page.

Whether you opt-in for bus/shuttle or opt-out to drive a private vehicle, all registrants commit to stay the full day onsite. Thank you for understanding this is a unique outdoor venue.

Questions? See FAQ page or email


This year, PFE will convene over 250 local representatives from nonprofits and foundations with the intention to represent the diversity of our community. We welcome grassroots, small and larger organizations as well as a diversity of roles in the sector from throughout the county. 

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 2020, organizations are invited to register up to four (4) persons. Participants are encouraged to diversify your registrants, and the PFE convening, by including staff from two or more county locations (north/mid/south), as well as representatives from foundation leadership, programs, community outreach/advocacy, executive/development, and board members. 

Interested in volunteering?

We’ll need an energetic team to help support Partnership for Excellence 2020. Inquire about volunteering now


Audacious Foundation

James S. Bower Foundation

The Crawford Idema Family Foundation

Fund for Santa Barbara

Hutton Parker Foundation

The Ann Jackson Family Foundation

La Centra-Sumerlin Foundation

Linked Foundation

McCune Foundation

The Henry E.  and Lola Monroe Foundation

The Samuel B. and Margaret C. Mosher Foundation

Ryan and Sarah Muzzy

Anthony and Kyra Rogers Family Foundation

Santa Barbara Foundation

The Towbes Foundation

United Way of Santa Barbara County

Wood-Claeyssens Foundation

Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara