The Fund for Santa Barbara donated $16,000 to Santa Barbara Channelkeeper in order to promote water quality and sustainable practices in Santa Barbara County.

The grant — one of several the nonprofit dispenses each year — will fund the organization’s lobbying efforts and outreach programs seeking to alter county sewage collection and bag use. The FSB will allocate the money evenly over a two-year period.

According to Channelkeeper Executive Director Kira Redmond, the finances will help support the organization’s local campaign to change the county’s sewage collection and plastic bag use policy and educate the public on the harmful nature of its current practices.

“Funds will go towards paying a portion of the advocacy staff’s salary, benefits and travel, as well as education and community outreach,” Redmond said. “Some of the money will be used to educate the community on the problems with the sewer system, and the negative environmental impacts of plastic bag and paper bag use. At past outreach events we have handed out free reusable shopping bags to help curb the use of plastics.”

Redmond said the campaign is part of the group’s overall goals for the region’s environmental conservation.

“We are trying to get Santa Barbara to invest in upgrading its sewage collection infrastructure and we are lobbying local cities and counties to ban plastic bag use,” Redmond said. “Our
organization’s goal is to protect and restore the channel and its watersheds through advocacy and education to protect water quality.”

According to Fund for Santa Barbara Associate Director Nancy Weiss, the group allocated the grant to SB Channelkeeper because of their commitment to preserving the coast.

“We think Channelkeeper is uniquely poised as ocean advocates to make change in helping to clean up our oceans,” Weiss said. “We hand out multi-year grants twice a year to organizations in the county and Channelkeeper received one of these grants.”

The Fund also awarded multi-year grants to the Pacific Pride Foundation, the PUEBLO Action Fund and the Santa Barbara County Action Network.

Weiss said the association serves a similar role as the nonprofit organizations it provides financial resources to.

“We have a small privately funded endowment but we are more like the grassroots organizations that we fund,” Weiss said. “80 percent of our money comes from fundraising every year. We are not government funded.”