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Philanthropy in the News

House under construction

Home Contested Home

Researchers to study the politics of housing development at the local level

Clayton Nall is the third awardee of the Pahl Initiative on the Study of Critical Social Issues in the Division of Social Sciences, a gift of alumni Louise and Stephen Pahl to support rigorous social science research on topics of pressing social importance. Work sponsored by the Pahl Initiative includes the involvement of both graduate and undergraduate students, with the goal of bringing academic research to public discussion.

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View of campus and ocean

Outsized Impact

The campus raised more than $100 million in philanthropic gifts in fiscal year 2021; endowment hits new high

This marks the seventh consecutive fiscal year that UCSB has raised at least $100 million; the annual average over that same seven-year period is $119 million. As of June 30, 2021, the university’s total endowment stood at $585.5 million, an all-time high for the campus.

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Racks of computers in a datacenter.

Improving Data Center Efficiency

Facebook donates $1.5 million to Institute for Energy Efficiency to support research into data center efficiency

A new partnership of UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE) and Facebook will accelerate research into energy-efficient data centers and artificial intelligence (AI). Facebook, a leader in developing, building and operating highly reliable and efficient data centers, will provide a three-year, $1.5 million grant in support of the institute’s pioneering research.

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Henley Hall.

Model of Efficiency

Institute for Energy Efficiency settles into its state-of-the-art new home, the donor-funded Henley Hall

Their award-winning research has been the foundation for numerous energy-saving innovations, including bright and energy-saving white light LED lighting that reduces energy usage in buildings worldwide. How fitting, then, that UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency is now housed in one such building.

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Several online stores displayed in browser windows.

Recommended for You

Researchers receive Google grant to build better conversational recommender systems

An emerging generation of artificial intelligence could get one step closer to passing the Turing test. With $1 million in funding over three years from Google, a team of computer scientists that includes UC Santa Barbara’s William Wang hopes to gain insights that could lead to a more seamless conversation with online recommender dialog systems

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artists concept of data science, numbers and lights.

Teaming for Technology

The campus and Amazon team up on new research initiative in machine learning and data science.

To advance knowledge in critical next-generation technologies, Amazon has made a substantial gift to UC Santa Barbara. The investment will support graduate student researchers in computer science and in statistics and applied probability, as well as ongoing lectures series in machine learning and data science.

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Sculpture of Jain god at Pisanhari ki Madhiya, Jabalpur.

‘A Major Contribution’

Donors join forces to establish a $1 million chair in Jain studies, within Department of Religious Studies

Adding an important layer to an already robust and well-regarded program, a trio of generous donors has teamed to support research and teaching in Jain studies within the UC Santa Barbara Department of Religious Studies.

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Ann Louise Bardach.

An Enduring Gift

Archives of journalist Ann Louise Bardach at UCSB Library continue to inspire filmmakers, journalists, scholars, public

Let’s just stipulate Ann Louise Bardach had reach. The award-winning American journalist wrote about such disparate characters as Fidel Castro, Sid Vicious, JonBenet Ramsey, Larry Rivers, William Burroughs and Benazir Bhutto.

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Shakespeare.

A Gift for the Ages

Family of scholar, author Robert J. O’Brien donates his collection of over 1,400 theatrical recordings of Shakespeare to UCSB Library

It would be fair to say that few men had as great a love of voices — especially those reciting Shakespeare — as Robert J. O’Brien. The scholar and author amassed a collection of more than 1,400 theatrical recordings of the Bard’s works. Now, thanks to the generosity of his family, that collection has a home at the UC Santa Barbara Library.

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UC Santa Barbara lagoon.

Steadfast Support

The university again exceeds $100 million in philanthropic gifts for fiscal year 2019-20

Amidst the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, UC Santa Barbara raised $100,022,411 in new gifts and pledges in fiscal year 2020 — the sixth consecutive year the campus has received more than $100 million in philanthropic donations.

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A mail carrier  wearing a surgical mask pushing his mail delivery cart.

Essential Workers, Vital Scholarship

Researchers to study pandemic’s impact on the underserved in second project of Pahl Initiative on the Study of Critical Social Issues

By nearly every measure, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on the disadvantaged. How this disparity might be addressed will be the focus of new research at UC Santa Barbara through the Pahl Initiative on the Study of Critical Social Issues in the Division of Social Sciences. The Pahl Initiative is a gift of alumni Louise and Stephen Pahl to support rigorous social science research on topics of pressing social importance.

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Schmidt Fellow Kelly Speare conducting research in the waters off Moorea, near UC Gump Station.

Supporting Solutions

Schmidt Environmental Solutions Fellows program receives additional two years of funding to support 23 students in environmental science

Aiming to foster high-impact research on everything from machine learning techniques for early locust swarm detection, to understanding the impact of algal blooms across the Atlantic Ocean, to reducing microplastic pollution in stormwater, Eric and Wendy Schmidt have extended by two more years their funding for the Schmidt Environmental Solutions Fellows at UC Santa Barbara.

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Nicole Lamartine, Sorensen Director of Choral Music

A New Tune

Nicole Lamartine ready to do the heavy lifting as UC Santa Barbara’s new choir director

When Nicole Lamartine agreed to become the inaugural Sorensen Director of Choral Music at UC Santa Barbara, she knew she was in for a challenge. What she didn’t expect, maybe: no students on campus.

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Jeffrey Milem

A Lasting Legacy

Anonymous gift establishes Jules Zimmer Dean’s Chair in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education

An anonymous gift from a technology company headquartered in Santa Barbara, and made in Jules Zimmer’s honor, has established the Jules Zimmer Dean’s Chair at Gevirtz School. Jeffrey Milem, current dean of GGSE, is the inaugural holder of the administrative chair.

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A 10,000-pixel MKID array made by the Mazin lab for the DARKNESS instrument at the Palomar 200-inch Telescope.

Snapping A Space Shot

Physicists will develop instruments to directly image exoplanets

The search for life on planets beyond our solar system has long been the purview of science fiction, but a UC Santa Barbara team supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation is now building the technology to do just that.

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Artificial intelligence blurs the line between man and machine

Our Machines, Our Selves

A pair of public lectures kicked off the new Mellichamp Initiative in Mind & Machine Intelligence

As technology brings us and our computers into an ever more seamless existence, we seek to understand our place in the complex relationship between human and machine intelligence. Enter UC Santa Barbara’s new Mellichamp Academic Initiative in Mind & Machine Intelligence, a multi-year research effort made possible by a generous gift from Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp.

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Gauchos in study mode at the Student Resource Building

Keeping a Promise

Foundation Trustee Betty Elings Wells gifts $500,000 to Promise Scholars program to support high-achieving, low-income students

Philanthropy plays a huge role in the program’s success — and the student scholars have now inspired a significant gift. Betty Elings Wells, longtime benefactor of the campus and current chair of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees, has donated $500,000 to support Promise Scholars.

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A manuscript page from William Faulkner’s “Light in August”

Faulkner in His Own Hand

The UC Santa Barbara Library has acquired a facsimile edition of the great American writer’s manuscripts

The campus’s library has acquired a 44-volume facsimile edition of manuscripts of the American author’s best-known works. The hunt for the manuscripts was inspired by a trip Candace Waid and her students took to the University of Virginia, thanks to a grant from philanthropist and UC Santa Barbara English department alumnus John Arnhold.

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Plastic bottles and other trash collected in a river by a floating boom

River Recovery

Benioff Ocean Initiative and The Coca-Cola Foundation announce $11 million in funding to clean up rivers and stem flow of waste to oceans

The partnership combines The Coca-Cola Foundation’s commitment to support behavioral change projects regarding recycling and the Benioff Ocean Initiative’s expertise in developing innovative ways to collect and analyze waste from our rivers and oceans and address the plastic crisis.

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UCSB lagoon with wooden stairs leading to the walking trail

Service and Commitment

Five alumni join UC Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees; philanthropist Betty Elings Wells named chairperson.

An elected trustee since 2013, Wells assumes the role of chair as the foundation also welcomes five new members — all UC Santa Barbara alumni — for the 2019-2020 academic year.

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Areial view of Storke Tower and bike paths

Enduring Generosity

In a landmark year for philanthropy to the campus, UC Santa Barbara raises $180 million in new gifts and pledges.

UC Santa Barbara’s five-year annual fundraising totals now average $125 million, a 25% increase over prior years, and fiscal year 2019 marks the best fundraising year in campus history.

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Two hands holding a globe with a city background

A Sense of Urgency

Gift from philanthropist Wendy Schmidt launches fellowship program to promote research aimed at solving environmental problems.

The Environmental Solutions Fellowship Program will support 21 graduate students and 11 undergraduate students conducting research directly targeted at solving problems that compromise the health of our environment.

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UCSB Women's Tennis player Lise Sentenac PreviousPauseNext1 of 2 Lise Sentenac in action for the UC Santa Barbara women's tennis team

Match Point

Gift from alumnus John Arnhold and wife Jody will propel Gaucho tennis programs for student-athletes, fans, community.

Arnhold’s passion for the sport and steadfast belief in its values is perhaps matched only by his firm belief in his alma mater, UC Santa Barbara. Together with his wife Jody, Arnhold ’75, a trustee of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation, has donated $5.25 million to UC Santa Barbara Athletics in support of its women’s and men’s tennis teams.

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Las Varas Ranch

‘A Living Legacy’

Philanthropist Charles T. Munger makes a gift to UC Santa Barbara of the 1800-acre Las Varas Ranch.

UC Santa Barbara has received formal approval from the UC Regents to acquire Las Varas Ranch, an agricultural property totaling 1,800 acres six miles west of the campus. The ranch extends from the Pacific Ocean to Los Padres National Forest.

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UC Santa Barbara campus beauty sun in the trees

Return on Investment

UC Santa Barbara reaches $100 million in fundraising for fourth straight year; receives more single donations than ever.


Thousands of new donors and a $100 million year. For the fourth consecutive fundraising year, UC Santa Barbara in the 2017-18 fiscal year raised $100 million in gifts and pledges — a testament to the strength of the university’s relationships with alumni, parents, staff and faculty, and friends.

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Shirley Graves Kennedy

An Eternal Flame

Papers of Shirley Kennedy, influential educator and activist, are gifted to the UCSB Library’s Special Collections.

The Kennedy family, working with the UCSB Center for Black Studies Research (CBSR), has donated the Shirley Kennedy Papers to the university. They will be housed at the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA) at the UCSB Library and be made available to those who want a glimpse of the inner workings of the progressive, multifaceted woman.

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UC Santa Barbara Baseball Player Up to Bat

Light It Up

Addition of lights to Uyesaka Stadium will enable night games, enhancements to benefit student-athletes, campus and community.

Creating new opportunities for Gaucho baseball, for Gaucho fans and for the Santa Barbara community at large, UCSB Athletics will soon install lights at Uyesaka Stadium. A goal of the department for many years, the $1.3 million project has now been made possible through the generosity of multiple donors.

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UCSB Labyrinth

Sustaining Excellence

UC Santa Barbara reaches $100 million in fundraising in fiscal year 2017.

For the third consecutive year, UC Santa Barbara has reached or surpassed $100 million in fundraising, receiving a total $100 million in gifts and pledges for fiscal year 2017. Since 2011, yearly donations to the campus have more than doubled due to philanthropic support.

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