As we approach our May 7, 2022 Community Event at our downtown Ortega Street campus, we’d like to update you on a significant – and exciting – new strategic direction that Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara is taking. Building on 65 years of success, we are creating a new vision for how we will serve girls, teens, and their families for the next 65 years. 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. In support of this vision, and after careful research and thoughtful deliberation, our Board of Directors has sold our downtown property at 531 E. Ortega Street.
The downtown campus has been a trusted and reliable space for thousands of girls and a cornerstone of the surrounding neighborhood for more than six decades. However, 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 this new strategic approach to service-delivery and make more significant investments in our programming for girls.
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.
We assure you that Girls Inc. remains committed to serving girls in the Santa Barbara community – albeit in different ways that are more in tune with girls’ and teens’ needs. We have begun a strategic planning process and are in conversations with the Ortega Street property’s new owner to determine how – and when – Girls Inc. will leave the downtown campus. We know change takes time and we are working to transition off the property with as few disruptions as possible to our staff, girls, and families – including our esteemed gymnastics program.
Girls Inc. is taking bold steps into the future to remain at the forefront of helping all girls in our community – and county – grow up healthy, educated, and independent, ready to take the lead of their generation. We are incredibly grateful to all our supporters who have made the past 65 years a remarkable success.
We look forward to sharing future updates to our strategic vision with the community.
Jen Faust, CEO; Paul Portney, Board President; and Tracy Jenkins, Board Vice President
The sale of the Ortega Street property provides Girls Inc. with the resources and the necessary flexibility to adopt this new strategic approach to service-delivery and make more significant investments in our programming for girls.