Mission Fundraising Exceeds Expectations

Santa Barbara mission plans additional community engagement

KENNETH SONG/NEW-PRESS PACK PHOTOS
The Santa Barbara Mission’s “Restore and Renew” campaign has already raised $2.25 million.

The Santa Barbara Mission’s “Restore and Renew” campaign is nearly halfway done, and outreach has raised $2.25 million so far.

The board’s goal, when the campaign launched in September 2020, was $4 million.

The mission, home to 17 Franciscan friars, is a gathering place for thousands more. With each passing day in the three-year fundraiser, the Mission Board hopes to expand its reach to those thousands of people who enjoy picnics on the lawn, walks in the nearby AC Postel Rose Garden , summer events “Drinks at Dusk” and, of course, Fiesta.

Donations to the Santa Barbara Mission come from community members, parishioners, and grants.

“The biggest issue is helping people understand who we are, what’s going on here and how we’re funded,” Father Dan Lackie, pastor of Saint Barbara Parish, told News-Press.

The Santa Barbara Mission is not funded by the Catholic Church and does not receive government money, although it is a historical monument. It derives 85% of its income from tourism: the souvenir shop, guided tours, etc. The remaining 15% comes from event rentals and Saint Barbara parish rents.

The COVID-19 pandemic shutdown inhibited revenue streams for months, at a cost of approximately $1.5 million. But the Santa Barbara Mission Board would like to raise more to tackle a list of renovations.

“If we reach our goal and can continue fundraising, we definitely will,” Chief Executive Monica Orozco said. “4 million dollars is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to projects to be carried out.”

The first renovation is the repair of the roof. The mission sports its original tiled roof and the substrates need to be repaired.

“If you own a home, you know you have to put on a roof every few years. Now imagine your house is 200 years old and you never replaced your roof,” Ms Orozco said.

Santa Barbara Mission Custodian Brother Mark Schroeder said work has begun on the roofs of two buildings. He is confident that the generosity of the community will provide more.

Public restrooms should be updated and brought up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards, Ms. Orozco said.

“Being able to update them and provide clean, updated bathrooms to the community is really a testament to our hospitality, and that’s important to us,” she said.

The Santa Barbara Mission also wants to create a Chumash memorial. He has developed a relationship with certain groups and the board members want to honor the tribe.

Father Dan said the Mission has tried to open up dialogue about past offenses.

“I think a lot of us here are thinking, ‘How can we honor those who came before us but also realize that those who came before us got caught up in the colonial system?’ ” he said.

The full list of desired repairs can be found at santabarbaramission.org/campaign.

“In my eyes (the campaign) is going better than expected. We exceeded our first year goals,” Brother Mark said.

Donations have come from community members, parishioners and grants, he said. But because the mission is a nonprofit religious organization, it is not eligible for many government grants or funding opportunities.

“I am very grateful to everyone who donates,” regardless of the amount, Brother Mark said.

The Santa Barbara mission is one of 21 missions in California and one of only two in the state with Franciscan friars. The brothers’ other missions have fallen into disrepair, Brother Mark said.

To give, go to santabarbaramission.org/ways-to-give.

Email: [email protected]

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