Giving back to the community has always been a tradition of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Our elders taught us many important lessons in life – including the fact that a distinguishing characteristic of the Chumash is the spirit of generosity. It is called ‘amuyich’.
In the beginning, the Chumash used bead money as currency, made from small disks shaped from the Olivella shell. We can imagine thousands of beads circulating in the community as our Chumash ancestors made significant contributions that enhanced the quality of life for many in the community.
Today, the Chumash tribe continues with the long-standing tradition of giving. The tribe has reached out to hundreds of local groups, organizations and schools in the community by donating more than $18 million.
In 2005, the tribe took a significant step by establishing the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation. The goal of our Foundation is to make the community it serves a better place for all of its residents, placing particular value on activities and programs that expand opportunities for the least advantaged, protect our environment or enhance the lives of youth. In so doing, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation makes grants to vital community organizations and works to grow and manage permanent funds to meet the future needs of our region. The Foundation is governed by the Business Council of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
Visit santaynezchumash.org to learn more about the Foundation and to view a partial list of the non-profit organizations that have benefited from the tribe’s generosity over the years.