Orfalea Involvement and Evaluation

History of The Orfalea Foundation with Aware & Prepare

The Orfalea Foundation's involvement and leadership in Aware & Prepare began with Paul and Natalie Orfalea asking, “What would an event the size of Hurricane Katrina look like in Santa Barbara? Are we prepared?”

The Santa Barbara County Civil Grand Jury examined several key areas of disaster response and coordination, and found the County generally ill-equipped to respond to large-scale emergencies or catastrophic disasters. Consequently, our primary objective is to build resiliency within the community so that we are prepared to respond, but also so government agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals can return to normalcy with minimal disruption.

After convening many community stakeholders, experts, nonprofit  organizations and government agencies, The Orfalea Foundation decided to take an active and ongoing role in working with key partners to develop a community partnership that was unique to Santa Barbara County.


Involvement of Witt Associates

James Lee Witt Associates, a leading international emergency preparedness and crisis management consulting firm, was retained as an objective third-party source to conduct an assessment of emergency preparedness within the Santa Barbara County Operational Area. As a result of this assessment, JLWA captured seven priority theme areas for emergency preparedness improvement within Santa Barbara County. Priority themes have since been incorporated as the funding areas for Aware & Prepare.

Funder Collaborative

Since its inception, Aware & Prepare has been supported by a collaborative of funders including the Orfalea Foundation, the Santa Barbara Foundation, James S. Bower Foundation, Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, Outhwaite Charitable Trust, Hotchkis Family Foundation and the Fund for Santa Barbara. It is Aware & Prepare’s goal to have all local funding for emergency readiness coordinated with the strategy and priorities set forth by the Emergency Managers Committee in Santa Barbara County and the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.





Lessons Learned and Evaluation

Aware & Prepare is a unique partnership, with local philanthropy prioritizing the issue of emergency readiness for the community while closely aligned with the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management to be able to couple dollars with the priorities of the entire county’s emergency preparedness efforts. Documentation of program evaluation and best practices are available by request.

The Orfalea Foundation will remain a partner of community preparedness efforts under the leadership of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management.