Steve Ortiz

President & CEO
805-965-8591 x123

For over 18 years, Mr. Ortiz has served as a dedicated member of the United Way of Santa Barbara County team, becoming the organization’s President and CEO in 2017.

United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC), which has been part of the Santa Barbara community for nearly 100 years, has flourished under Ortiz’ leadership. His extensive background in management and operations has helped guide UWSBC’s success in recent years, with a focus on critical issues including school readiness and academic achievement, financial empowerment, and response and recovery efforts in times of community crisis.

Ortiz brings heart and passion to the role, as he was a beneficiary of similar programming to which he attributes much of his own success. This passion has resulted in an equally dedicated staff and Board of Directors at UWSBC. During Ortiz’s tenure, UWSBC has raised over $115 million to develop and lead results-driven, innovative community partnerships and programs.

The organization's increasingly important role during multiple periods of community crisis and disaster is among UWSBC’s most notable recent accomplishments. During the 2017 Thomas Fire and 2018 Debris Flow, Ortiz helped build both rapid response and long-term recovery cash assistance grants programs for both individuals in need and the organizations that serve them. He and his team also began identifying gaps in response and recovery systems and developing collaborative solutions across the philanthropic, non-profit, and government sectors.

When the pandemic struck in 2020, Ortiz and his team built on those lessons learned to help develop the COVID-19 Joint Response Effort with the Santa Barbara and Hutton Parker Foundations. In addition to its cash assistance grants programs, UWSBC and its cross-sector partners have launched an Emergency Child Care Initiative for frontline and essential workers, a Public Health Critical Needs Initiative to support quarantining and contact tracing, rental assistance programs in partnership with several localities, and a Learning & Enrichment Centers Collaborative providing daily educational support for hundreds of local students during school-campus closures.

Whether meeting the ongoing needs of vulnerable populations or helping our community respond and recover in times of community crisis, Ortiz remains mission-focused and committed to the greater Santa Barbara community.

As part of his commitment to the local community, Ortiz also serves on the Board of Directors for Cottage Health, is a member of the Foundation Roundtable Executive Committee and the County’s Emergency Managers Committee, and acts as the Commission Chair for First 5 of Santa Barbara County. Ortiz holds bachelor's degrees from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Master’s in Business Administration from Cal Lutheran University. He and his wife Amber have two children, Isabella Rose (10 years) and Ethan James (7 years), and live in Santa Barbara.