A Public/Private Partnership Formed to Mitigate
Future Disasters in our Community

“This is the kind of outside the box and collaborative thinking that makes this community great. Efforts like this allow for more creative decision-making and provide access to resources and expertise, which help make our communities more resilient.”

– Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management


The Partnership

The Partnership for Resilient Communities is a nonprofit organization focused on safety and resiliency in support of and to augment public sector efforts in Santa Barbara County. We are local residents compelled to act after the tragic Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow in Montecito. We asked Santa Barbara County leadership what they needed, and quickly responded to those needs by bringing outside expertise and resources to help them in their early response and recovery efforts. We continue to partner with the County and other jurisdictions as we rebuild stronger, safer and more resilient.


Prior to the 1/9 Debris Flow disaster, an important partnership established the Santa Barbara County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Aware and Prepare program. These programs save lives and would not have been possible without extensive local philanthropic support, close public private partnerships and purposeful use of outside expertise. They developed trust and processes that allow government and nonprofit organizations to support each other and work together in times of crisis. The Partnership for Resilient Communities is building upon this strong foundation to create a safer and more resilient community.  


Our purpose is to help make our community safer and more resilient. We aim to be action oriented and collaborative, and to focus on “What We Can Do Now” while building towards the mid and long term plan.

There is a wealth of world-class experts and knowledge available to help find the best solutions to our challenges and to reduce future risk to our community.  

The resources and nimbleness of a public private partnership can expand what is possible for our local agencies to accomplish.

A model public private partnership can offer lessons learned and solutions discovered to other communities suffering like disasters.


We work to support public sector efforts to ensure Montecito and surrounding communities are safer, stronger and more resilient. We focus on meeting key needs identified by local decision makers in the following areas:

  • Engage national and global experts experienced in disaster mitigation, geology and hydrology.
  • Find and secure public and private sector funding and resources. 
  • Identify feasible and best in class mitigation and monitoring solutions to reduce the risk and calamity of future disasters, and help get them implemented. 

Core Team

Pat McElroy, Partnership Liaison
former Santa Barbara City Fire Chief

Joe Cole
land use lawyer, Montecito Planning Commissioner

Gwyn Lurie
Board President, Montecito Union School District

Brett Matthews
public private partnership entrepreneur and investor

Les Firestein
general contractor, builder, innovator

Mary Rose
public policy consultant

Alixe Mattingly
community advocate