How did a small foundation with entrepreneurial roots help
change the culture of early childhood education, public school
nutrition, and disaster readiness in Santa Barbara County?
The Orfalea Fund helped to bring about new standards in early childhood education, school food, and disaster readiness by doing in-depth research, taking risks to discover what works, bringing together dedicated partners to execute programs, and helping families, educators, and policy-makers raise their expectations for a healthier, more resilient community.
Good nutrition and the ability to learn are inextricably connected. The School Food Initiative envisioned a culture of school food personnel fully trained, equipped, and inspired to provide healthy, cooked-from-scratch school meals. Today, that vision has resulted in healthier meals available daily to over 50,000 students throughout the county.LEARN MORE
By studying the most recent research on early childhood education, the Orfalea Fund was able to invest where it mattered most: in the relationships among directors, teachers, and parents, in the quality of environments, and in the establishment and documentation of best practices. The result was preschool accreditation at eight times the state average.LEARN MORE
Santa Barbara County is subject to fires, floods, earthquakes, and mudslides — all of which have already happened, repeatedly. With the Aware and Prepare Initiative, The Orfalea Fund experimented with an investment in preparation, and the entire community joined us. Now, the county is not only ready for the next disaster, but 400,000 people are safer — every day.LEARN MORE
From the start, The Orfalea Fund explored ways to create sustainable results, not perpetual programs. We are not the first philanthropic entity to sunset, but we were surprised by the lack of practical information available to limited-life foundations. As a result, we chose to document salient aspects of our own sunset that may be of use to others.LEARN MORE