President & CEO

What We Do

Creating opportunity, transforming lives… one scholarship at a time.

We believe that every motivated, deserving student with the desire for higher education should have the opportunity to pursue it. Our efforts began in 1962 when a visionary group of parents and educators in Santa Barbara created the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara (SFSB) to eliminate disparities between who can and cannot access a postsecondary education. Ignited by the vision of our founders, we exist to encourage and support Santa Barbara County students to and through college, graduate, and vocational school by providing information, advising, and scholarships.

Today, we are the nation’s largest community-based provider of college scholarships, having cumulatively awarded more than $140 million to over 60,000 Santa Barbara County students. Funded entirely through philanthropy, we awarded 2,200 scholarships totaling $7.7 million in 2022, and each year provide critical financial aid advising services to some 30,000 county residents.

We support our students by helping them make smart financial decisions regarding their education. Our staff provides financial aid advising in addition to assistance with scholarship applications, complex federal and state financial aid forms, understanding financial aid award letters, and managing student aid—all free of charge. Last year, through our advisory services we helped scholarship recipients secure an additional $35 million in federal, state, and institutional aid. Please visit us at for more information.


Our work is guided by a highly engaged and connected board of 30 community leaders from across the region. With an annual operating budget of $2.4 million, a carefully managed endowment of $50 million, and through the annual distribution of approximately $8 million in scholarship awards, our team of 15 professionals delivers services through two offices covering north and south county Santa Barbara. As a founding member of Cal-SOAP (California Student Opportunity and Access Program), we partner closely with a diverse range of organizations including schools, community-based organizations, businesses, and funders. Thanks to an exceptionally efficient use of resources, the Scholarship Foundation has earned the top 4-star ranking from Charity Navigator for the past 10 years, with 100% of gifts intended for scholarship funding going directly to deserving students.

SFSB board member Dr. Mary Dwyer is serving as interim President & CEO while a national search is undertaken. Dr. Dwyer holds a master’s degree in education and a doctorate in public policy analysis and will return to the board after the CEO is selected. Prior to moving to Santa Barbara, Dr. Dwyer was President & CEO of the Institute for the International Education of Students, where she led the expansion of annual scholarships from $200,000 to over $6.5 million.


  • Salary – $190,000 – $250,000
  • 100% employer-paid medical, dental, and vision insurance, long-term disability, life insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts and Employee Assistance Program
  • PTO: 4 weeks paid vacation, 10 paid sick days, 13 paid holidays
  • 403(b) plan with a 5% match. After 1 year of service, SFSB contributes an additional 2% of the employee’s salary.
  • 457(b) deferred compensation plan available as authorized by the Board of Directors.


SFSB’s headquarters is located in Santa Barbara with a satellite office in Santa Maria, CA.


This is an incredible opportunity to lead one of the most established and well-known philanthropic organizations in the region. Over our 60+ year history, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara has delivered incredible impact across the community – several civic leaders currently serving or who have served previously with our board are past scholarship SFSB recipients. The President & CEO will be a highly visible leader across the region, working in close partnership with the board and overseeing five direct reports: Chief Programs Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Communications Officer, Director of Development, and Executive Assistant/Office Manager. The Scholarship Foundation’s staff are incredibly committed, some of whom have served with the organization for nearly two decades.

SFSB is in a place of great financial strength. Although our impact numbers are impressive, the organization has incredible unrealized potential to do even more. We seek a visionary leader who can scale the organization through careful stewardship of resources and implementation of a thoughtful, innovative, and effective development and donor stewardship strategy.


  • Engage and inspire a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders to support our work and help advance our mission of higher education for all.
  • Enhance and support the work of the Board of Directors by managing, monitoring, and executing the organization’s fiduciary responsibilities to the community.
  • Lead fund development efforts and participate in securing and stewarding donations.
  • Serve as a visible public advocate for SFSB and our need for philanthropic support; cultivate and build relationships and partnerships that help advance our mission.
  • Provide inspirational leadership, team building, and growth opportunities to the professional staff, while ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization’s programs and activities.
  • Exercise prudent and respectful oversight of the funds that have generously been entrusted to the organization in support of its service to the community.
  • Guide the organization through regular strategy and planning sessions to assess programmatic effectiveness and financial objectives, within a complex, evolving educational landscape.
  • Ensure adherence to the highest ethical standards, driving operational accountability and compliance with all relevant legal guidelines and best practices.


  • A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is desirable.
  • A successful track record in fundraising, stewarding, and diversifying funding sources such as individual giving, events, grants, contracts, and other partnerships.
  • Seven to ten years of demonstrated senior leadership and management experience, including strategy development, board engagement, change management, team collaboration, and talent development.
  • Track record of building effective partnerships with diverse constituencies, including businesses, elected officials, government entities, community-based organizations, and individuals.
  • Superb people skills, with exceptionally well-developed listening and communication skills, and the ability to connect with and inspire confidence among a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Highly empathetic, exhibiting sound judgment, tact, and diplomacy when dealing with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated success in driving organizational growth and creating and implementing innovative programs with a data-driven lens.
  • A solid fundamental understanding of fiscal management with experience developing and managing budgets.


Shira Jacobs, Director, Blair Search Partners
1855 1st Ave., Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101