Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Restaurant Fund Grant Program
The Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Restaurant Fund, a Committee Advised Fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation, provides financial assistance grants to small, independently owned, dine-in restaurants in the City of Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley (including Los Alamos) to support the basic needs of these businesses to continue operations in the short term while they are suffering from the effects of COVID-19, particularly addressing where there are gaps in federal, state, and foundation funding related to pandemic relief. Providing support to these businesses, their owners, and their hundreds of employees will benefit the entire Santa Barbara County community. The Elaine F. Stepanek Restaurant Fund Committee is made up of Santa Barbara Foundation representatives and local experts. All distributions of funds are voted on by the committee members.

Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Restaurant Fund Grant Limits
  • Up to $10,000 per grant based on the number of qualifying applicants.

Eligibility Criteria
In order to qualify for the Elaine F. Stepanek Restaurant Fund Grant Program, restaurants must meet the following requirements:
  • Located in either the City of Santa Barbara or the Santa Ynez Valley (including Los Alamos).
  • Be a small, independently owned, dine-in restaurant that has been adversely affected by COVID-19.
  • Operational prior to March 1, 2020. (Businesses that opened in 2020 can contact Jessica Sanchez at jsanchez@SBFoundation.org to discuss application exceptions.)
  • Gross total sales declined by at least 25% as a result of COVID-19 during any quarter of 2020 compared to the same period of 2019.
  • No more than $3 million in gross total sales between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019 (Businesses that opened in 2020 can contact Jessica Sanchez at jsanchez@SBFoundation.org to discuss alternative metrics.)
  • Ability to provide documentation to verify the economic hardship suffered as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, including tax returns, financial statements, and other financial data.

  • Businesses are required to submit a report on grant expenditures 60 days after receiving a grant.

Eligible Grant Uses
  • Rent, Utilities, and Payroll.
  • Items necessary to operate safely under current public health guidelines, including but not limited to signage, personal protective equipment, and other items to accommodate currently allowed service.
  • Food Supplies (specifically from independently owned food & beverage providers).
All 2021 Grants Now Open for Application
Next deadline is this coming February 11, for Jump StArts
The California Arts Council’s 2021 grant funding has been streamlined, allocating funding to meet the greatest needs of the field during this challenging time. Funding is aligned with three categories and six specific grant offerings, including new grants for general operating support for organizations and fellowships to support the creative practice of individual artists, as well as continued support for project-based activities.

Click the individual grant opportunity links below for application and eligibility details.

2021 California Arts Council Grants

Up to $50,000 for high-quality arts education and artists-in-residence programs for priority youth and young people impacted by the justice system.

Up to $30,000 in operational relief funding for arts and cultural organizations who have experienced economic hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing small organizations.

Up to $35,000 in support of arts service organizations providing practical resources for the communities they serve.

Support to a single partner organization to administer unrestricted rapid relief funding for artists and cultural practitioners of color facing dire economic consequences due to the COVID-19 on behalf of the CAC. (Applications for individual artist and cultural practitioner grants will be announced through both the CAC and the partnered administering organization at a later date during the 2021 grant season.)

From $5,000 to $50,000 to recognize, uplift, and celebrate the creative practices of California artists at key career levels.
Downtown Business Spotlight is a virtual interview series, where we chat and get to know our Santa Barbara business owners. Join us for this interview series in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Independent, each Thursday at 3 PM.


TOPIC: Downtown Neighborhoods

Join Robin Elander in conversation with Albert DiPadova (Sevilla Square, Riviera Towel Company), Hugh Margerum (Presidio Neighborhood), and Mary Lynn Harms-Romo (Paseo Nuevo) in this week’s Downtown Business Spotlight.
Did you miss the last Downtown Business Spotlight?
Watch it below!
Join Robin Elander in conversation with Janet Garufis (Montecito Bank & Trust), Nicki Parr (WEV), Clare Briglio (ED Collaborative), and Miguel Avila (Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) in this week’s Downtown Business Spotlight.
State Street Promenade Market
Thursday, February 11, 3 - 7:30 PM
Staying Alive: Small Business Resilience in the Pandemic
Featured guests for this event are Tami Mayorga, Owner of The Talk of the Town Hair Salon; Elly Iverson, Owner of Eji Experiences; Reyna Chavez, Owner of Scrubs on the Run. 

Moderator: Kathy Odell, CEO, Women's Economic Ventures 

Wed, February 10th, 2020 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM (PDT)
2021 Black History Month - The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity

Monday, February 1, 2021, 5:00 PM 
Sunday, February 28, 2021, 6:00 PM
Downtown Santa Barbara invites you to the 2021 Annual Awards Ceremony, Presented by Southern California Edison. This event includes the announcements of the 2020 Volunteer of the Year, Citizen of the Year, Business Champion of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, and the 2021 Harriet Miller Youth Leadership Award recipient.

It’s a Downtown Santa Barbara tradition, more than two dozen years old - the Annual Awards Ceremony, designed as a way to celebrate past accomplishments and share our goals for the coming year. The occasion is also a way to honor people, organizations, even historic buildings that have gone above and beyond to make a difference in Downtown Santa Barbara. Join us, and celebrate Downtown Santa Barbara.
Various Business Resources

Montecito Bank & Trust is taking PPP applications from any business even if they are not a current client and have modified their application portal to make it as easy as possible. Learn more at https://montecito.bank/ 
As your performing arts venue been closed due to COVID? 
Learn more about the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (sba.gov) that may be a good fit for your organization. 
WEV's COVID-19 Resources:  
Monthly Virtual Networking/ Empowerment Groups at WEV
For Spanish Speakers: Café Conexito every 4th Friday at 9:00am. For English Speakers: Strong Women, Strong Coffee every 3rd Friday at 9:00am. To register for this and other events:
Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board provides a monthly labor market update (includes unemployment and because of COVID-19 many of the resources we are sharing among us) from the information we receive from the State. If you'd like to be included in the distribution email alma@sbcwdb.org
Want to explore a new location in Downtown SB to support your changing business needs? Reach out to Amy Cooper at info@sbedp.org to see what options are available and share what you're looking for. Learn more about the Santa Barbara Economic Development Collaborative and the work being done to retain and recruit great businesses to Downtown Santa Barbara at https://www.sbedp.org/
Reminder: Before finalizing a new lease, City staff can provide info on: ADA/Accessibility, Restroom/Plumbing fixture requirements, storm water requirements (if there's a footprint change), and Fire Sprinkler requirements. If something new/unique is proposed, a free Planner Consultation can be provided. Visit the ACCELERATE Program page:
Have a business in Goleta as well as downtown SB? 
Here's a grant opportunity to explore or share with friends (Closing Monday)
Considering Laying off Employees?
Any businesses that are closing/potentially closing or laying off/furloughing employees should connect with Alma at alma@sbcwdb.org. She can provide resources and information to their affected workers and see if there are any other options we can provide to avoid from closing or laying off employees. 
Mental Health Resources and Info for Business Owners in Need: 
Times are nuts! Don't hesitate to ask for support from Downtown SB Staff or the resources below. There is no need to do this alone. 
SB Residents: 
For Ventura Residents: