Winkler to Step Down as Scholarship Foundation President

Candace Winkler, who instituted a number of organizational and planning reforms as president and CEO of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, will leave the venerable nonprofit in January. The foundation will begin a nationwide search for her successor.    

“It has been a tremendous honor to lead the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara during this exciting period of change, and I believe the organization is well-positioned to continue its critically important work,” said Ms. Winkler, who began serving as the foundation’s president and CEO in July 2015. “I feel very good about all that we accomplished over the last two and a half years, including modernizing and streamlining our scholarship application, evaluation, and distribution processes, and increasing the organization’s focus on student outcomes. The Scholarship Foundation’s mission will always be near and dear to my heart, and I am proud to have worked alongside such a dedicated and talented group of people, from the staff and board to our community partners and donors.”  

“We greatly appreciate Candace’s hard work and professionalism as president and CEO of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara,” said Board Chair Don Logan. “As a result of her efforts, the organization is on firmer ground to expand educational opportunities for students throughout Santa Barbara County. We wish her much success in her future endeavors.”

Ms. Winkler oversaw a restructuring of the Foundation’s Programs department and led a months-long effort to draft a new strategic plan. During her eventful tenure the foundation’s investment portfolio grew by more than 10 percent to almost $50 million, and the organization launched a new website, including Spanish-language content, among other initiatives. Earlier this year the foundation surpassed a pair of notable milestones: It has now cumulatively awarded in excess of $100 million to more than 47,000 county students over its 55-year history.

A native of South Carolina, Ms. Winkler earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Vanderbilt University and master’s degrees in public administration and social work at Columbia University. Previously she served as president and CEO of the Alaska Community Foundation for five years, and as CEO of thread, Alaska’s Child Care Resource and Referral Network, for eight years. In 2002, Ms. Winkler was named to Alaska’s “Top 40 Under 40” list by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, and two years later she was nationally recognized as an “Emerging Leader in the Field of Early Education” by the Children’s Defense Fund.

Barbara Robertson, the foundation’s longtime chief operating officer, will serve as interim president and CEO until a permanent replacement is appointed.  

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara is the nation’s largest community-based provider of college scholarships, having cumulatively awarded in excess of $100 million to more than 47,000 county students since its founding in 1962. A nonprofit organization, the Scholarship Foundation also provides free financial aid advising services. For additional information, visit

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