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Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara

The Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara is Ridley-Tree Cancer Center’s fundraising partner. Thanks to the generosity of our community, the Cancer Foundation raises millions of dollars each year so the Cancer Center can continue to deliver excellent medical care on par with many renowned cancer centers in the United States.  

The mission of the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara is to ensure superior cancer care for all residents of Santa Barbara County regardless of means.

Board of Trustees 

The volunteer Board of Trustees of the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara provides steadfast vision, leadership and support to ensure an unwavering commitment to quality cancer care for the Central Coast.

Steve McHugh, Chair
Kristen Blabey, Vice-Chair
Carola Nicholson, Treasurer
Katina Zaninovich, Secretary
W. Charles Conway, MD, FACS
Larry Dam
Janet Garufis
Raye Haskell
Patty MacFarlane
William Meeker
Denise Montell,  PhD
Richard Nagler
Richard Nordlund
Charlie D. Petersen
George Tharakan
Rick Weber

Ensuring Excellence in Cancer Care

The Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara was founded in 1949 on a promise – a promise that continues today – to provide the highest quality of cancer care to everyone in the Santa Barbara community, regardless of means.

When Lillian Taylor Converse was diagnosed with cancer, she had to travel to Los Angeles for her treatments. Though she knew there was little chance of her own recovery, she had a strong desire to help others with the disease, so her husband, Elisha Converse, provided a generous gift to purchase a one-million-volt x-ray machine to establish the Cancer Foundation. Lillian’s physician, Dr. Henry Ullmann, was able to treat cancer patients in Santa Barbara, which established the community as the leading provider of cancer care on the Central Coast.

The generosity exhibited by the Converse family has grown into a community tradition with a 73-year history of advancing the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cure of cancer for all patients in our community. Today the physicians and staff of the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center assist those on the journey with, through and beyond cancer, while the Cancer Foundation maintains its singular focus on fundraising and grant making in support of this important work.

As the leaseholder and largest annual donor to the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center, the Cancer Foundation commits a minimum of 85% (up to 100%) of the proceeds from its endowment and fundraising efforts to support cancer diagnosis, treatment, research, technology and support programs at the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center. The remaining 15% may be used to support cancer related programs in Santa Barbara County. Historically, these have included oncology bench research at UCSB and pediatric cancer research at Cottage Hospital. All Foundation proceeds must be used to support cancer care in our community. The generous support of patients, foundations and the community together with the steadfast vision, leadership and commitment of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees ensures superior cancer care is available close to home.