Cristal's Blog


December 5, 2022

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This year on Giving Tuesday, I was proud to give back to our community by supporting the Santa Barbara Chapter of Berkshire Hathaway’s Charitable Foundation with a $50,000 donation. I feel fortunate to support local small businesses in and around our community and knew just where to donate. Since its inception 20 years ago, the Charitable Foundation has earned an impressive history by providing hundreds of grants totaling over $6.7 million to local organizations that promote health, education, community, and the environment. And the giving goes on!

Two hands holding in front of a field of flowers with the sun shining over the horizon

How the GivingTuesday movement uses the power of radical generosity around the world

According to the official website, “GivingTuesday reimagines a world built upon shared humanity and generosity.” Featuring a global network of caring individuals and companies, this nonprofit centers on collaborating year-round to inspire generosity with a mission to build a world where generosity is part of everyday life.

The organization’s website explains the mission like this: “Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give.”

An open laptop computer displaying the GivingTuesday website

As a local realtor, I take the mission of GivingTuesday very seriously. And so does my company, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Composed of Berkshire Hathaway agents and employees, The Charitable Foundation is dedicated to making a beneficial and constructive impact on local communities. And this year, I focused my $50,000 donation on local businesses in Santa Barbara.

The nonprofit 501 (c)3 organization includes five chapters in the Golden State: one of which is Santa Barbara. Since its inception more than 20 years ago, The Charitable Foundation has provided more than 1,000 grants totaling more than $5 Million to local organizations. The organization also actively recruits volunteers to bring their own time and talents to the causes near and dear to them.


The foundation supports local nonprofits promoting physical, emotional, and mental health. Everything from providing shelter, accessing necessary medical care, supporting caregivers, healthy living options, social engagement, and stress management is supported; helping a wide range of people in an effort to promote wellness and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.


Other grants are designed to help underserved children, youth, disabled individuals, veterans, and the elderly who need specific services and support. Homeless, food insecure, and abuse victims are also supported through The Charitable Foundation.


Organizations that help protect, preserve, and restore beaches, rivers, oceans, wildlife habitats, and parks receive grants for their essential work. Some examples include supporting local nonprofits that focus on improving air quality by planting trees and native plants, as well as those who lead wildfire and flood relief efforts in the event of a catastrophe.


Grants that help facilitate learning, teaching, training, and storytelling are part of the fabric of The Charitable Foundation. Nonprofits that help individuals learn new skills to help them succeed in work and life are vital, as are organizations that bring art, music, dance, and theatre to local communities.

Local Nonprofits

If you want to contribute this season to a local nonprofit, here are some to consider:

The logo of the Santa Barbara Humane Society, showing a stylized  dog face, cat tail and a pet paw print

Santa Barbara Humane
Founded in 1887, Santa Barbara Humane is one of the first animal welfare agencies in the country. Today, the organization has two campuses: one in Santa Barbara and the other in Santa Maria. The 501 (c)3 organization provides low-cost veterinary care, vaccines, and spay/neuter services along with affordable and humane dog training classes, pet adoptions, and animal rehoming.

The logo of Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara in black and white, featuring a line drawing of the Santa Barbara Courthouse.

Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara
The Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara offers and supports a diverse array of programs serving North and South Santa Barbara County. These programs provide educational opportunities for the public and involve participation and support from local architects and building professionals. AFSB seeks to promote quality in architecture, art, and design and to foster an understanding of excellence in the urban environment.

Logo for Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara

Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara
The Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara offers all area residents the best in Cancer treatment, regardless of their means.

Logo for Channel Islands Restoration, with a plant and flower

Channel Islands Restoration
This 501(c)(3) nonprofit works to restore habitat on the Channel Islands and adjacent mainland through invasive plant management, native plant propagation, and native plant installation.

Logo in yellow and orange of Food Bank Santa Barbara County

Foodbank of Santa Barbara
The mission of Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is "to end hunger and transform the health of Santa Barbara County through good nutrition."

Logo for PARC Foundation of Santa Barbara with a big acorn at the top

PARC Foundation
The Parks and Recreation Community (PARC) Foundation is dedicated to nurturing and growing places and programs that uplift youth, support families, and strengthen cultural connections to Santa Barbara. Since 1985, the PARC Foundation has helped fund some of the city’s most iconic park improvements and vital youth programs.

Santa Barbara Beautiful logo showing a branch and leaves and the wording

Santa Barbara Beautiful
By stimulating interest and action to enhance the beauty that surrounds us in Santa Barbara, this nonprofit works to complement government and private activity. The organization's volunteers are dedicated to beautifying our area in various ways, working independently and cooperating with city departments, neighborhood associations, and other agencies.

If GivingTuesday has inspired you to move to a community filled with caring individuals and businesses like we have here in Santa Barbara, I invite you to check out my public and private featured listings. After you peruse my listings, call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at We'll arrange a tour of those that catch your eye. Meantime, let’s all keep these local charities in mind during this season of giving.

Other Resources:

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch