Welcome to the UCSB Blum Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Democracy

The UCSB Blum Center aims to foster interdisciplinary, socially engaged research and learning about poverty and inequality, and to contribute to collective action that advances intersectional economic and environmental justice regionally, in the United States, and abroad. Established with funding from UC Regent Richard C. Blum and the UC Office of the President, it is part of a campus-wide network across a number of UC campuses system.

This year the Blum Center is focusing on three core initiatives:

The Central Coast Regional Equity Initiative (CCREI) was launched in 2021 in partnership with The Fund for Santa Barbara. Building from the Central Coast Regional Equity Study, conducted in collaboration with USC’s Equity Research Institute, the initiative documents widening inequality in California’s increasingly diverse central coast counties of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo with trend data on  employment and wages, housing,  health, education, political  representation, and  environmental risk, among other indicators. In addition to funding collaborative community-engaged research, the CCREI  has set out to foster a collective, region-wide conversation and to advance a research-informed action agenda to improve the lives of all, and especially of the increasingly multi-racial working class communities who live, work, learn and contribute to the vitality of the region. 

Our initiative on Cooperative Economics encompasses a broad spectrum of collaborative endeavors, from the communal practices and empowerment strategies of indigenous communities to the support and exchange networks developed within the contemporary mutual aid movement. There is a rich tradition of cooperative endeavor in movements for racial and intersectional justice. Thanks to generous support from the family of Dr. U.S. Awasthi, UCSB faculty and students are eligible for funding opportunities. 

Our most recent efforts, the Central Coast Community Labor Project & Labor Summer initiative, will provide UCSB students with opportunities to learn about community and labor organizing and research practices. As part of the immersive Labor Summer internship experience, Central Coast unions and allied organizations will support UCSB students in paid internships to advance labor causes and achieve social and economic justice. 

We invite you to join us in the work and to stay informed about up-coming events and programs. We can be found on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and YouTube, and we also distribute a regular newsletter to our audience. Sign up to join our listserv!

See below for our most recent announcements & up-coming events:

Spring Quarter Newsletter - Link

This quarter the Blum Center is supporting research funding opportunities for UCSB students and faculty that invite submission from a wide variety of disciplinary approaches and project outcomes. Please access the newsletter link for more information on the Central Coast Regional Equity CFP and the Cooperative Economics CFP. Both have submission deadlines of May 26th.

An up-coming symposium featuring the 2022-23 Central Coast Regional Equity Awardees and Cooperative Economics Awardees is scheduled for Monday, May 22nd. Additional event details are available, including links to the compelling projects that will be presented.


We are also pleased to share the BC Student Leader Team’s focus on UCSB’s student housing crisis, as well as adding to our ongoing discussion on Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) by featuring the Compton Pledge case study and its potential to advance racial and social justice. In addition, we feature recent UCSB student experiences in the Poverty, Inequality, & Social Justice Minor. Read on to engage with the Minor’s internship opportunities and to learn more about students’ original capstone projects from Winter Quarter. Finally, we are now on TikTok. Please join us as we continue to find new ways to engage with issues of poverty, inequality, and democracy.

The Blum Center on Poverty, Inequality, & Democracy is pleased to announce a Call for Proposals to support UCSB faculty and graduate student research. Projects examining inequality within the Central Coast region of California are eligible for up to $10,000 in funding support.

Projects selected for funding will contribute to the Central Coast Regional Equity Initiative, a collaborative project co-sponsored by the Blum Center and The Fund for Santa Barbara that promotes community-engaged research, policy analysis, and collective action to advance social, economic, health, environmental, and civic equity and justice in the region.

Application deadline is Friday, May 26th. Click here to learn more.

Interested in learning more? Sign up for our newsletter!

If you would like to learn more about the Blum Center's initiatives, events, and ways to get involved in addressing poverty and inequality both on campus and in the community, please sign up for our newsletter here.