of Greater Santa Barbara


FAQ About New Girls Inc. Strategy & Ortega Street Property


As we start the 2022-2023 school year, we know this has been a time of change for Girls Inc. and our beloved community. We’ve been through a lot, and we thank you for sticking with us! We wanted to take a moment to address some of the most frequently asked questions as we begin this new and exciting era for the organization.

Does Girls Inc. have a new CEO? Who is Jen Faust? What is the CEO’s role? 

Our new CEO, Jen Faust, began the role on January 3, 2022. Prior to Jen’s arrival to Girls Inc., former COO Tom Blabey, had served as interim Executive Director following the departure of then CEO Barbara Ben-Horin.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) provides strategic leadership of the organization and oversight of all Girls Inc. programming and advocacy. The CEO partners with the Board of Directors to ensure long-term planning and fiscal health advocates for the rights and needs of all girls, and inspires  and inspire staff and volunteers to motivate girls to grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

Why did we choose to sell the Ortega Street Property?

In recent years the number of girls coming to the Santa Barbara Center has declined, while the costs to maintain our aging facility have skyrocketed. The sale of the Ortega Street property provides Girls Inc. with the resources and the necessary flexibility to adopt a new strategic approach to service-delivery and make more significant investments in our programming for girls.

How will the property sale impact Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara overall?

We know that our Ortega Street property was a second home to many and a safe place for all. We share in the community’s grief as we know change takes time and we reflect on the rich history of Girls Inc. in downtown Santa Barbara. Still, we are eager to roll out a new strategic direction which will enhance our mission and allow for us to be more flexible with our program delivery for girls. This new 2-year strategic direction, approved by our Board of Directors in July 2022, encompasses six key priority elements:

  • Increase Access to Programming
  • Develop Workforce and Retain Staff
  • Increase Partnerships and Community Engagement
  • Advocate on Important Platforms
  • Enhance Brand Identity
  • Shore Up Infrastructure.

We will be sharing updates with the community as we begin implementing and making investments to ensure Girls Inc.’s organizational and program foundation is stable, strong, and poised to serve our mission to meet the urgency of the moment.

How will we still reach downtown Santa Barbara girls?

We know we can support and serve more girls by meeting them ‘where they are’ in the community – in schools, community centers, online and through outreach into North Santa Barbara County. We are excited by the early success of several pilot programs at various community locations, including Jardin De Las Rosas in partnership with People’s Self-Help Housing, and area high schools and junior high schools including Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara Junior High, respectively. And we are energized by the increase in demand for our new teen program launched at Maple High school in Lompoc, where girls have not been previously served.

Our intention is to make Girls Inc. programs more accessible to more girls through reduced fees for in-school and after school programming at the schools themselves.

We are working on new community partnerships and are excited to share updates once those are established.

What about my student who is signed up for gymnastics this fall?

Please double check which center you’ve signed up for gymnastics programming. If you signed up for the Ortega Center, you will continue to meet there for Fall 2022 recreational programs. If you signed up for the Goleta Valley Center, you will meet there for your recreational gymnastics classes.

Is transportation provided for Santa Barbara youth?

No, unfortunately we are no longer offering transportation from schools to our center except for walking pick-ups from Hollister and El Camino Schools. We regret the inconvenience to our families.

What other resources are available for families out in the community?

Food Pantries/distribution:
The Food Bank of Santa Barbara County 
COVID Testing Sites:
Santa Barbara County Public Health Department 
Tax Assistance:
United Way Santa Barbara County 
Health Services:
Santa Barbara Health Care Center

For any questions or concerns, please contact info@girlsincsb.org .

Date Stamp: September 2022