2018 Annual Report

A Solid Foundation

San Diego is a society of optimists. Where others see challenge, we see opportunity. And one of the best investment opportunities San Diegans can make is in the lives of others.

In fiscal year 2018, that investment was larger than ever with more than $67 million granted to nonprofit organizations strengthening communities throughout our region. Never before have donors at The San Diego Foundation given so much to so many.

Your deeply-held values of generosity, innovation, and service fill the pages of this annual report. We are honored to be your partner in philanthropy and grateful for the belief and trust you have in our shared mission and dedicated staff. Thank you for recognizing and supporting the solid foundation we have built together over four decades.

While significant philanthropic impact starts with a visionary gift, it’s realized by the dedication and outcomes of our strategic partners in academia, government, business, and nonprofit sectors who collaborate, educate, and advance the quality of life for San Diegans. Philanthropy sparks catalytic change, but it needs an ecosystem of partners to ensure lasting change. In San Diego, we have the best of the best.

Looking forward, as we prepare to welcome a new CEO & President, we are grateful to the many donors, partners, and civic leaders who have provided support and suggestions for the future. The search for permanent leadership will shortly be underway and will move forward in an expeditious manner. Through the transition, our focus remains on providing excellent service to our donors, including sound financial performance and exceptional fund stewardship.

2018 has been an influential year of opportunity. Let’s create more, together.

  • Constance Carroll
    Constance Carroll Dr. Constance Carroll Chair, Board of Governors
  • Connie Matsui
    Connie Matsui Connie Matsui Interim President & CEO

Charitable Champions Make History

Grants we awarded

  • $67,425,000 2018
  • $50,938,000 2017
  • $58,575,000 2016

Fiscal year 2018 reflects the most generous year in the history of The San Diego Foundation, with a record total of more than $67 million awarded by The Foundation and our generous donors, including 5,871 grants to 1,755 nonprofits strengthening our community and advancing quality of life.

The impact can be seen across generations, from children who have brighter futures thanks to more early childhood education opportunities to older adults who can now remain connected to their communities thanks to a greater emphasis by cities, counties and nonprofits creating age-friendly communities.

*Unaudited as of June 30, 2018

Influence & Impact

Where grants do good

  • Education

    $21,377,818 | 31.7%

    Fund Raising & Fund Distribution $10,532,710
    Higher Education $2,828,932
    Scholarships & Student Financial Aid $3,152,120
    Other Education $1,657,311
    Pre-K Through High School $1,327,019
    Educational Services $757,841
    Libraries $505,600
    Single Organization Support $497,285
    Student Services $119,000


  • Civil Society

    $17,048,083 | 25.3%

    Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations $14,595,685
    Public & Societal Benefit $1,252,583
    Science & Technology $700,184
    Community Improvement & Capacity Building $375,874
    Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy $123,757


  • Health & Human Services

    $11,324,267 | 16.8%

    Human Services $4,490,276
    Health Care $3,262,356
    Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness & Relief $719,280
    Diseases, Disorders & Medical Disciplines $611,970
    Food, Agriculture & Nutrition $555,241
    Medical Research $514,858
    Crime & Legal-Related $413,476
    Mental Health & Crisis Intervention $270,502
    Recreation & Sports $237,465
    Housing & Shelter $123,688
    Social Science $75,650
    Employment $49,505


  • Arts & Culture

    $6,695,894 | 9.9%

    Museums $2,216,427
    Symphony Orchestras $1,626,216
    Other Arts & Culture $683,282
    Media & Communications $615,522
    Theater $612,097
    Music $312,897
    Opera $282,183
    Arts Education $208,720
    Dance $138,550


  • Youth Development

    $3,949,940 | 5.9%

    Youth Development Programs $3,132,157
    Youth Centers & Clubs $333,028
    Scouts Organizations $230,408
    Other Youth Development $122,889
    Big Brothers & Big Sisters $83,398
    Youth Leadership $42,450
    Organizational Support $5,610


  • Environment

    $3,437,301 | 5.1%

    Animal-Related $1,089,452
    Water Resources, Wetlands Conservation & Management $783,732
    Natural Resources Conservation & Protection $585,097
    Land Resources Conservation $312,139
    Environmental Education $277,971
    Forest Conservation $191,890
    Other Environment $129,989
    Alliances & Advocacy $54,250
    Environmental Beautification $6,664
    Botanical Gardens & Arboreta $6,117


Other grantmaking totaling $3,591,618 includes international, foreign affair & national security; mutual & membership benefit, and religion-related grants.

*Unaudited as of June 30, 2018

Rooted in Community

Where grants go

Our generous network of donors grants money to advance quality of life and invest in key initiatives that address local, regional and national challenges. Whether it’s through the development of urban parkland or a program to get more first-generation students through college, most grantmaking is done by San Diegans for San Diegans.

  • San Diego 84.7% San Diego County
  • California 5.4% Other California
  • United States 9.9% Rest of U.S. & International

This year, in response to natural disasters that devastated communities such as Houston, Puerto Rico, Ventura County and Mexico, as well as San Diego County, donors at The San Diego Foundation responded by providing more than $1.3 million in grant support to help survivors rebuild and recover.

*Unaudited as of June 30, 2018

Investing for the Future

Endowment portfolio performance

As San Diego’s community foundation, we work with local investment professionals who, through sound and prudent strategies, offer donors the opportunity to grow giving, increase their impact and leave a legacy, forever.

TSDF Actual Policy Index
1 year
  • 7.6%
  • 8.7%
3 years
  • 6.4%
  • 6.4%
5 years
  • 7.1%
  • 7.2%
10 years
  • 5.9%
  • 5.7%

The Foundation’s Policy Index is a composite of indexes reflecting our diversified portfolio, specifically: 49% MSCI ACWI IMI (net), 17% BBgBarc US Universal Bond Index, 9.1% NCREIF ODCE, 15% HFRI FOF Index, 6% Cambridge Assoc. U.S. Private Equity Index (lagged 1 Quarter), 3.9% Bloomberg Commodity Index.

*Unaudited as of June 30, 2018

Learn About Our Investment Strategy

A Tradition of Trust

Where grants come from

For more than four decades, The San Diego Foundation has served as the trusted partner for thousands of local donors who want to create more opportunities for San Diegans through charitable giving. The Foundation currently has 2,152 charitable funds, including 131 funds opened in FY 2018, a testament to the generosity and commitment of our community.

Donor & Agency Advised Funds
Community and Field of Interest Funds*

See New Funds

*Unaudited as of June 30, 2018. Includes Broad & Narrow Field of Interest and Unrestricted Funds.

Stories of Impact

  • Transformational Gift Paves Pathway to Success

    A child’s early years are the foundation of his or her future development. However, in San Diego, only 40 percent of children have access to formal preschool education. Thanks to a transformational, multi-million-dollar gift from The San Diego Foundation donor Guy Clum, thousands of San Diego children are now on a pathway to prosperity due to increased funding for early childhood care, tuition subsidies and other valuable development programs.

    Read more

  • Helping More First-Generation Students Attend College

    In fiscal year 2018, The San Diego Foundation launched the Community Scholars Initiative, a partnership that will help hundreds of first-generation students prepare for, pay for and persist through college. The initiative is built on the foundation of success created by the Community Scholarship Program, the largest private scholarship provider in San Diego County, which has provided more than $30 million to thousands of students throughout the region.

    Read more

  • The Endowment Gift that Keeps on Giving to San Diego Children

    More than a decade ago, Ron Brady decided to do something different to celebrate his wife Mary Alice’s birthday – he established an endowment fund at The San Diego Foundation to support at-risk youth. Now, years later, that present has become the gift that keeps on giving to the entire region in addition to the more than 300,000 San Diego children and families who have already benefitted from the generosity of Ron and Mary Alice.

    Read more

  • Regional Affiliate Member Leaves Local Legacy

    Longtime philanthropist and Carlsbad Charitable Foundation founding member Knox Williams has been leaving his mark in Carlsbad and the greater San Diego region for nearly 60 years. From supporting local YMCAs to providing opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities, Knox has been a catalyst for positive change for years with his grantmaking and community engagement through The San Diego Foundation. As he explains, “there is no joy like the joy we receive when giving our time, talent and treasure.”

    Read more

  • Philanthropy During the Most Critical Moments

    In response to the Lilac Fire that destroyed homes and communities in San Diego County in late 2017, The San Diego Foundation activated the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund to support survivors in the recovery and rebuilding process. Similar to 2003 and 2007 when more than $13 million was donated and granted to wildfire survivors and impacted communities, the Regional Disaster Fund ensures that philanthropy will be there when San Diegans need it most.

    Read more

A Solid Foundation

Throughout our history, The Foundation has worked with local leaders to grow philanthropy in the region and support the common good. Since 1975, that generosity has amounted to $835 million in assets invested and managed, with more than $524 million in endowment funds that will support San Diego’s regional needs forever.


Join thousands of San Diegans who help build a solid foundation for the region.