PLATINUM2023

Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County

Empowering Sustainable Independence

aka CommUnify   |   Goleta, CA   |  www.CommUnifySB.org

Mission

We provide education and supportive services in partnership with the community so Santa Barbara County residents can improve their economic security, become self-sufficient, and retain their dignity.

Ruling year info

1967

Executive Director

Patricia Keelean

Main address

5638 Hollister, Suite 230

Goleta, CA 93117 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

95-2491790

NTEE code info

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions (B21)

Congregate Meals (K34)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Santa Barbara County is currently ranked #2 county in California with the highest percentage of its population living at, near, or below poverty, per the Public Policy Institute of California's recent "Poverty in California: Fact Sheet" report (Oct 2023). 16.9% of our county's population is living in poverty, and worse, 19.5% of our children are living in poverty. The high cost of housing is a major contributor to this financial inequity, and CommUnify has joined forces with other local government and nonprofit partners, with guidance from the Urban Institute of Washington DC's Upward Mobility Framework, to change this for the better. We are in the final year of our current strategic plan, and over the course of 2024 will be updating that plan, and issuing a new one.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Energy Services - Home Weatherization and Utility Payment Assistance

CAC Energy Services keep low-income homes safe and warm through weatherization and utility payment assistance.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Family and Youth Services help young people avoid substance abuse, teen pregnancy, gang involvement, violence and incarceration and help families cope with mental health issues. Nothing predicts the future for a child more than the stability of their family life. When families are struggling to deal with one life event after another, stability is the first casualty. A consistent theme across all of CommUnify’s Family and Youth Services is that our programs offer children, youth, and families meaningful and positive contact with staff that are deeply committed to changing their future for the better. Whether addressing the impacts of generational poverty, trauma, adverse experiences, lack of education or stable resources, CommUnify offers youth a chance to build resilience and access the services needed to establish a better future.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

Children's Services delivers Early Head Start for families with infants and toddlers up to age 3 and programs for pregnant women, and Head Start and California State Preschool programs to children 3 to 5 years old. Available to qualified low-income families, these services are sensitive to each family’s linguistic, ethnic, and cultural heritage. A strong emphasis is placed on the valuable role of parents as the first and most important teacher of their child. With focus on the whole child's development in academic, social, emotional and physical growth, combined with a safe, caring environment created by skilled teachers, CommUnify’s early education programs prepare children for a lifetime of success in school and in life.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Our Senior Home Repair program provides free repairs designed to assist Santa Barbara County seniors with maintaining independence. Our installations focus on health and safety, as well as slip and fall prevention. We provide senior referral services to our community partners to assist our clients with continued quality of life within their homes.

Population(s) Served
Seniors

Family Self-Sufficiency provides intensive case management and financial literacy coaching to highly motivated individuals and families striving to achieve self-sufficiency. Coaching is offered in the areas of education, housing, job training and employment, finances. Economic Empowerment and Financial Literacy helps families with young children learn financial strategies that encourage sustainable financial literacy and stability. 2-1-1 Helpline provides information and referrals to all residents of Santa Barbara County, connecting them to health and human services, and emergency/disaster relief information.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of meals served or provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Seniors

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of meals provided annually to seniors in Santa Barbara County. We only operated the program for 6 months in 2021.

Number of children reached with a meal each school day

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Children's Services - Head Start, Early Head Start, and California State Preschool

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The mission of the CommUnify is to create opportunities for Santa Barbara County families to achieve stability. In order to achieve the greatest possible impact upon the low-income children, youth, families and elders that we serve, CommUnify works with its Board, staff and numerous other CBO's and government organizations to deliver programs and services addressing the root causes of poverty, and helping our clients attain and maintain economic stability and emotional well-being. We also work at all times to increase our operational efficiency, keep overhead and administrative costs low, deliver responsive, high-quality services to our clients, and provide a work culture that is inclusive of our staff, incorporates principles of DEI, and provides training and opportunity for advancement.

(1) Enhance the agency's development function, (2) Identify funding opportunities for currently underfunded work, (3) Create an "Advisory Council" composed of people adept at fundraising and willing to donate, (4) Leverage client and volunteer participation to achieve program objectives, (5) Integrate CAC functions and services across programs, (6) Enhance agency processes by establishing a "no wrong door" entrance policy for client intake, (7) Develop and implement comprehensive tools that provide client feedback, (7) Create and conduct periodic staff feedback surveys, (8) Enhance overall staff communication processes and provide more trainings via an internal "academy" for skill set enhancement, (9) Create opportunities for staff members to share best practices, and (10) enhance staff knowledge about CommUnify's impact.

The Community Action Commission (CAC) was incorporated as a private, nonprofit organization in 1967. It is now the largest social service agency serving Santa Barbara County, with an over 70% minority staff of approximately 300 people providing services at 30 sites countywide and serving 7,000-10,000 individuals each year. In order to promote effective countywide service delivery, CommUnify has three main offices: Goleta (South County, main administrative offices), Santa Maria (North County) and Lompoc (Mid County). The agency's annual operating budget of over $24 million is derived from a range of funding sources that include city, county, state, federal and private foundation grants, donations and fundraising.

CommUnuify is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors with equal representation from the public, private and low-income sectors. Elected officials hold the 5 public sector seats. The inclusion of representatives of the low-income community is an important and unique part of our organization.

Our administrative staff are very experienced at monitoring funding agreements. We hold over 50 contracts, all of which are audited by federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CommUnify has two independent audits each year: the agency's annual audit and the Child Development audit, which is required by the Department of Education of the State of California. We have a well-staffed fiscal department that is skilled at using the Grants Management System to account for each individual project. Because of the size of our Head Start Program (23 Head Start centers countywide), which was launched in 1967, we have had long years of practice collecting and reporting extensive quantities of data.

CommUnify has also served as the umbrella and testing ground for numerous emerging agencies, providing the initial effort, administrative expertise and infrastructure to launch Easy Lift in South County, the Community Housing Corporation, Storyteller Children's Center, Shelter Services for Women (now Domestic Violence Solutions), the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and the Friendship Center (for seniors.) All these agencies are now independent and have been sustained over time. Currently, CAC is providing an administrative umbrella to the South Coast Youth Safety Partnership and Seguras Familias, which aim to reduce youth violence and gang activity, and Cal-SOAP, which aims to help send to college those who would be the first generation in their families to attend college.

With a 56-year history, CommUnify is deeply rooted in Santa Barbara County and is a trusted entity. We have earned that trust through responsible management, professional services and quality programming.

Since our inception in 1967, CommUnify has grown from an organization with one program (Head Start), serving low income children and their families, to a full service agency providing life skills, education, parenting skills, financial literacy training, socioemotional and behavioral support, utility, rent and other bill payment assistance, and home improvement/safety services for our clients of all ages. Our programs for seniors, such as our Seniors Safe at Home, combine a myriad of services aimed at enabling the elders in our community to age safely and gracefully at home, whereas our programs for youth/teens help them stay on track for better futures. Head Start provides not only education and kindergarten readiness for our students (ages 3 months to 5 years old), but teaches parenting skills, provides wellness checks, and healthy meals for all of our students. We currently operate 23 Head Start / Early Head Start Centers across Santa Barbara County, employ over 300 staff, and impact thousands of people positively each year.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County

Board of directors
as of 11/07/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Marina Owen

CenCal Health

Term: 2023 - 2026

Karin Dominguez

SMBSD School Readiness

Josephine Torres

Social Work/ Human Services

James Kyriaco

City of Goleta

Mike Cordero

City of Santa Maria

Oscar Gutierrez

City of Santa Barbara

Bob Nelson

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors

Jeremy Ball

City of Lompoc

Phylene Wiggins

Community Member

Guy Walker

Financial Advisor

Elizabeth Snyder

Dignity Health

Alexander Saunders

Community Member

Marina Owen

CenCal Health

Sharon Lutz

Cottage Health

Sanford Riggs

SB County Housing Authority

Areli Miguel

Head Start parent member

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No