Cristal's Blog


May 22, 2023

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Since its inception in 1923, United Way of Santa Barbara County has stood as a leading force in local programs designed to empower children, families, and communities. Through these distinctive collaborative programs, initiatives, partnership convening efforts, volunteer development, and funding, the nonprofit organization has impacted countless lives in our slice of paradise. As they celebrate their 100 year milestone, locals are invited to commemorate decades of partnership with organizations, businesses, and service agencies dedicated to building brighter futures for individuals, children, and families in our community.

An invitation to United Way of Santa Barbara's 100 Years of Service event with the event details written on top of a blue and white background

United Way Santa Barbara County's 100 Years of Service Anniversary Celebration June 1, 2023, beginning at 6 pm
The Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Join United Way of Santa Barbara County in celebration of 100 years of empowerment with a moment of reflection, gratitude, and inspiration—and a not-to-miss event on June 1! The The seated dinner, complete with music and dancing, will pay tribute to the local organizations, businesses, and service agencies that have been integral to the nonprofit's success over the past century, serving as a testament to the remarkable achievements and the unwavering commitment of supporters.

Attendees will be able to witness supporters being rewarded for working tirelessly to empower those in need through providing educational opportunities, promoting financial stability, and responding to crises. It is through these critical collaborations that United Way of Santa Barbara County has been able to create positive change and improve lives. Buy your tickets now at

A chart detailing the United Way of Santa Barbara's history of service for 100 years.

A Brief History

Since 1923, United Way of Santa Barbara County has been at the forefront of empowering children, families, and communities throughout our region. By moving beyond the traditional United Way fundraising and grantmaking model, the local branch has become a hybrid organization, forging strong community partnerships and delivering direct programs and services to residents across the county. This strategic approach has allowed the nonprofit organization to target our community's ever-changing needs effectively.

United Way of Santa Barbara County's core operating model combines data-driven programming with efficient funding collaboratives to create comprehensive, community-wide initiatives. By convening key leaders from philanthropy, business, and nonprofit sectors, they address identified needs and maximize program sustainability and impact.

Over the years, this model has proved to be flexible, adaptable, and efficient, allowing the charity in its effort to match evolving needs. Through partnerships with philanthropic, municipal, and community organizations, the 501 (c)(3) has connected financial relief to support students, families, and communities in times of crisis.

Smiling child in a school room working on a computer with other kids in the background and the words Strategic Plan at the bottom

The organization has raised or managed $52.8 million for the ongoing recovery needs of the Santa Barbara community. For the past several years, United Way of Santa Barbara County has focused its efforts on three major initiatives specifically designed to improve lives and create a brighter future for everyone in Santa Barbara County. The following areas of our community's health are prioritized:

The Future

United Way of Santa Barbara County plans on maintaining its position as a critical resource in the community's crisis response efforts. As such, the organization's mission continues to focus on enriching the lives of children and families and building resilient communities through spearheading local programs and partnerships designed to improve school readiness and academic achievement as well as providing financial empowerment, and crisis response and recovery.

Four smiling youngsters, each holding a children's book in front of plants and a mosaic for the United Way

As the board of directors and staff celebrate a legacy of partnership, locals are invited to join in their efforts to sustain the next century of service. Because, as their website states, "Together, we can continue to build on our legacy of partnership, making a positive difference in the lives of thousands of individuals, children, and families throughout Santa Barbara County."

Want to be part of the journey as this revered organization embarks on its next century of service? Keep up with the latest anniversary activities by signing up for their newsletter and following their social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

I, for one, am thrilled to live in a community that supports the work of important charities like United Way of Santa Barbara County. Is there a local charity you'd like us to cover in my blog? If so, let us know!

Meanwhile, if you're considering moving within or to Santa Barbara, I invite you to call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at for a free consultation regarding selling and buying.

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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