Frequently Asked Questions

What is the relationship between The Foundation and nonprofits?

We fund the work of nonprofits through gifts to causes, gifts to organizations important to donors, and competitive grantmaking through our Regional Affiliate program to fund strategic change and impact in San Diego County. Our purpose is to grow a vibrant region across San Diego County, an effort that relies on the strong work and collaboration of nonprofits, businesses, local government and community leaders.

What resources does The Foundation offer for nonprofits that provide services in San Diego County?

Foundation Grants: Our Regional Affiliates determine areas of focus for grant making and communicate those opportunities in the grant opportunities section of our website. If we are not currently soliciting proposals for programs that fit your type of request, keep checking the grant opportunities section of our website as programs change their grant focus periodically and new opportunities are communicated there.

Local Grants: We share external grant opportunities offered by philanthropic partners in San Diego County. Subscribe to our email list to get notified when grant opportunities are available. Check out Local Grant Opportunities to see what grants are currently available.

Endowments and Planned Giving Partnership: We offer services to assist nonprofits in their endowment-building and planned giving efforts.

Resource Library: In 2013, The Foundation partnered with Nonprofit Management Solutions, funding their resource library expansion plans through our endowment and combining our libraries at their location (8265 Vickers Street, Ste. C San Diego 92111, 858-292-5702). There, you can access The Foundation Directory Online database (where you can search through nearly 100,000 foundations who may offer the type of funding you’re looking for) available at no charge to nonprofits, with librarian assistance Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm.

How do I share information about my organization with staff and donors who give through The Foundation?

We receive many requests to meet with community-based nonprofits and share nonprofit needs with donors. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate all requests individually.

In 2015, we launched a Coffee Hour series. Coffee Hours provide an opportunity to meet with staff from various Foundation departments along with other similarly focused nonprofits. Seating is limited. To attend a coffee hour, contact the Community Impact Team.

To stay informed, we encourage grantseekers to sign up for our SDF News blog and to connect and engage with us via Facebook and Twitter.

Additionally, we consult nonprofit Guidestar Exchange reports: Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. GuideStar’s program is free, and the Gold standard provides comprehensive information about nonprofit goals, successes and impact in the community that donors seek. Visit Guidestar and follow the instructions and tips for ‘claiming your organization’s report.’

Who can apply for a grant through The San Diego Foundation?

Any 501(c)(3) organization located in or providing services to San Diego County is eligible to apply for a grant through The San Diego Foundation. Grantseekers working with a fiscal sponsor (an organization willing to administer the grant if awarded) that meet these criteria are also eligible. We do not accept unsolicited proposals. Please review the competitive grant opportunities available. For general grant questions, complete the web form below to contact our Grants Administration Team, or call (619) 402-1827. We also provide scholarships to individuals.

My organization’s mission and activities address more than one of The San Diego Foundation’s grantmaking areas. What should I do?

Each organization may submit only one proposal per grant program area, but may submit to multiple programs at The Foundation if each proposal is for a different project. If a project is undertaken as part of a partnership with other organizations, no more than one organization may submit a proposal for that project. If more than one proposal is submitted for the same project, all applications will become ineligible. Grantees who have previously received a grant award may apply again. If you have program area or project specific questions, please contact the person listed in the grant guidelines. For application support questions,complete the web form below to contact our Grants Administration Team, or call (619) 402-1827.

Can I submit a paper application form?

The San Diego Foundation uses an online application process to reduce processing time and assure that our records are up to date and accessible. We serve you best with the online process and we require an online application for competitive and initiative grant requests. Below are some tips to assist with the online application process.

  • Get started with the application early. At the last minute, many people will be on the website. By taking time early, you can be sure to complete the application while allowing time for any technical or computer issues.
  • Carefully review all questions before filling out the online application form. We strongly suggest that you use a computer-based word program to prepare the long-text responses (e.g. Organization Description, Request Narrative), and then copy and paste your responses into the appropriate text boxes. This will save you the task of re-typing answers if there is a problem with your internet browser, and it will ease the task of editing the size of your narrative responses, if necessary.

Will The Foundation host giveBIG in 2016?

The San Diego Foundation has no immediate plans to host another giveBIG event. If we do offer this event in the future, we will communicate with nonprofits through e-mails, social media and our website. We are actively moving towards an approach that strengthens community-driven collaborative efforts and are excited to continue working with our nonprofit partners to improve quality of life in our region.

Can I apply for a donor-advised grant?

Applications are not accepted for donor-advised grants. Donors work with The Foundation to make designated grants based on the donors’ areas of interest.

Can I apply to more than one Regional Affiliate for funding?

Yes. However, your program will need to serve the needs of the population of the specific affiliate community. Metrics on numbers of residents served in the community must be provided.

How often can I apply?

There is no limit on the number of times a nonprofit organization can apply for funding. Generally, we prefer that grantseekers use discretion and submit requests only for top-priority projects and programs.

Contact Our Grants Administration Team

  • Or call us at (619) 402-1827 to speak to a team member right away.