THRIVE Santa Barbara County is a public-private collaborative that focuses funding, knowledge and attention on preparing and readying the next generation of Santa Barbara County residents for productive lives.

THRIVE’s work is built on partnerships and collaborations with families, schools, early childhood education, government, the business community, non-profit and service organizations, foundations, and other funders. The Orfalea Foundation has made a long-term commitment to work together to foster better solutions in addressing the readiness gap in disadvantaged children and paving the way for their success in elementary school and beyond.


THRIVE formed as a funders collaborative in order to focus funding, knowledge and attention on addressing serious deficits in our education system related to the low success rates of children from low-income families in Santa Barbara County. Utilizing local and national research as well as examples of best practices in other regions, the collaborative has evolved into a place-based funding and program strategy aimed first at dramatically improving school readiness, and then over time building off those strategies to address college readiness and college completion. Impact is gauged by tracking quarterly indicators.


The efforts implemented by THRIVE throughout Santa Barbara County aim to build strong neighborhoods of engaged parents, effective schools, integrated social services, and authentic community connectivity. This effort is closely tied with national Cradle-to-Career initiatives like the Strive partnership with KnowledgeWorks that unites providers around shared issues, goals, measurements and results, and then actively supports and strengthens strategies that are effective in building success for every child. THRIVE is also applying best practices from models such as the Harlem Children’s Zone, whose “pipeline” begins with the facilitation of a series of workshops for parents of children ages 0-3 and includes a network of in-school, after-school, social service, health, and community building programs. 

Funder Collaborative

THRIVE broke new ground with its funder collaborative structure and use of evidence-based practices in a single location for the benefit of an entire community’s young children.  Combining parent education, raising quality in early childhood education centers, focusing on kindergarten readiness and the transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten, and effective family strengthening and support services, THRIVE is a model of many cutting edge best practices.