2021 Annual Report

Inspire & Enable

On behalf of those who support The San Diego Foundation, we are honored to share the 2021 annual report with you.

This year has been like none other. We granted a record-breaking $104 million, the majority of which went to local nonprofit organizations. The generosity of our donors, fund holders and partners surpassed our expectations and gave us the opportunity to give more to those in need.

The strength of our relationships with public agencies, corporations and other nonprofits bolstered our work this year. So much so, that The San Diego Foundation and our San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund was recognized earlier this year with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships.


Mark A. Stuart CFRE
President & CEO

Steve Klosterman AIF
Chair, Board of Governors

$104.1M Granted

San Diego needed more help this year than it ever has in The Foundation’s history. With needs ranging from food insecurity to childcare, from accessing the outdoors to supporting trauma-informed counseling, our donors and local nonprofits heeded the call to service. A record $104.1M was distributed in 6,989 grants to 1,992 nonprofits, with most serving San Diegans in need. This is compared to 6,353 nonprofit grants totaling $77.8 million in 2020 and $52.5 million granted in 2019.

Making a Difference During COVID-19

In March 2020, The San Diego Foundation and a coalition of philanthropy, government and business partners launched the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund (CRF). Founding partners include San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, San Diego Gas & Electric, United Way of San Diego County, San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, CBS NEWS 8 and Alliance Healthcare Foundation.

In total and throughout this fiscal year, the CRF supported more than 2.3 million services delivered by local nonprofits to San Diegans impacted by the pandemic and granted more than $67 million to organizations countywide. With a focus on childcare, financial assistance, education, food security, medical support and workforce development, the CRF helped lift San Diegans in need; 79 percent of those assisted were living in poverty.

Overall, more than 250 nonprofits were awarded CRF grants. They helped close the digital divide for school children and college students, provided childcare for parents working in essential services, trained much-needed healthcare workers, fed hungry San Diegans and much more.

"San Diegans are resilient, generous and visionary. Together, we will invest in sustainable solutions that address the systemic issues that have led to many of the hardships from this past year. And we will continue to rely on our community leaders and local nonprofits whose heroic efforts have been the backbone of our pandemic relief."

Mark A. Stuart President & CEO of The San Diego Foundation

Rising to the Challenge

When our region’s needs change, we rise to the occasion. As San Diego’s community foundation, we are committed to just, equitable and resilient communities. We support this vision through our discretionary grantmaking, along with vital contributions from our donors and partners. This is how we granted funds last year.

Health & Human Services $35,602,906
Education $20,389,302
Youth Development $17,650,926
Arts & Culture $11,094,777
Civil Society $10,281,470
Environment $6,325,949
* Note: Other grantmaking totaling $2,813,939 includes international, foreign affair & national security; mutual & membership benefit, and religion-related grants.
* Unaudited as of June 30, 2021

Giving Near & Far

The San Diego Foundation granted funds to local, regional, national and international nonprofits last year. As a community foundation, the majority of grant funds stayed local to help San Diegans in need.

  • San Diego

  • California

  • U.S. & International


A Summer of Learning and Joy

A school year like never before deserved a summer like never before. Enter: Level Up SD, a partnership between San Diego Unified School District, The San Diego Foundation and 88 local nonprofit organizations to provide summer enrichment.

More than 14,000 opportunities were available to children who learned, danced, engineered, created and played their way through the summer at locations throughout the county. From kindergartners to high schoolers, there was something for everyone, from robotics and STEM to music, theatre and art to outdoor experiences and garden therapy.

Best of all: the experiences were free for all students and their families.

"I’ve embraced Level Up SD because of its focus on and commitment to equity. A broad and diverse range of nonprofits was selected to make sure all our students receive equal opportunities, and we have ensured that students who need these programs the most are at the front of the line."

Sharon Whitehurst-Payne San Diego Unified School District Board Vice President Learn More About Our Impact This Summer >

Supporting Black Neighbors

This past year, The San Diego Foundation launched the Black Community Investment Fund with a focus on education, employment, entrepreneurship and housing. Co-founded with the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, the fund started with $1.35 million in seed funding and aims to help decrease the stark disparity in generational wealth for Black San Diegans. Nationwide, the median white family has 10 times the wealth of the median Black family, and the numbers are no better in San Diego.

The Black Community Investment Fund has awarded $500,000 in grants, including $200,000 from Bank of America, to Neighborhood House Association and San Diego Workforce Partnership for education and workforce training.

Most importantly, we have helped several Black families purchase their first home, thanks to the San Diego Black Homebuyers program. Made possible through a collaboration with Union Bank, Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC) San Diego and Urban League of San Diego County, the program is the first of its kind in California.

"In the centuries-long fight for racial equity, the challenges and opportunities for philanthropy are immense. The Black Community Investment Fund is a significant step in our region’s history as we continue to promote and prioritize equity in every thread of the fabric of our society."

Donna DeBerry President & CEO of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce Learn More About the BCIF >

Donating a Dollar at a Time

Every dollar makes a difference. Just ask 12-year-old Laurel Staudinger, a local middle school student who spent weeks making, packaging and selling $5 bags of dried fruit and donating all her proceeds to the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

Laurel’s $450 contribution equated to the amount needed to help a family in City Heights pay their rent, a single mom in El Cajon buy groceries and cover her utility bills, or a housing-insecure college student afford car repairs needed to commute to work.

"It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you’re 7 or 70, whether you only have $5 or $500. It’s going to make a difference in someone’s life and it’s going to have an impact."

Laurel Staudinger Middle School Student & Donor

"The San Diego Foundation has helped Hologic build an engaged workforce through philanthropy by initiating a partial employee match program. The Foundation staff of philanthropic advisors and financial experts make everything so simple. Their staff has helped us take our corporate philanthropy to the next level."

Michael Watts VP, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, Hologic

Model for Corporate Giving

Hologic, a fast-growing global company, invested a significant amount of charitable dollars in its corporate giving fund at The San Diego Foundation this past year. Hologic was so busy meeting the demand for its medical technology products, that it turned to The Foundation’s experts to support its corporate philanthropy.

Working together, The San Diego Foundation and Hologic identified nonprofits that focus on healthcare, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, and issues of social and racial equality.

Making an Impact with Investing

The one-year performance of this year’s endowment surpassed expectations, with a 31.1% return that beat out the policy index. With consistent performance above policy indices, donors to The San Diego Foundation will have a lasting legacy and impact in San Diego today, and for future generations.

"We are proud to say that over the last year, five of six of our investment portfolios that have been in existence for at least a year outperformed their corresponding policy indices. The investment strategies we have built will increase the impact of charitable gifts and create sustainable growth that supports nonprofits and San Diegans well into the future."

Matt Fettig Chief Investment Officer at The San Diego Foundation

Learn About Our Investment Strategy

Total Returns As of June 30, 2021

1 YEAR TSDF ACTUAL POLICY INDEX 3 YEARS 5 YEARS 7 YEARS 10 YEARS 31.1% 29.5% 11.6% 10.9% 11.1% 10.7% 7.8% 7.5% 8% 7.8%
TSDF ACTUAL POLICY INDEX 1 YEAR 3 YEARS 5 YEARS 7 YEARS 10 YEARS 31.1% 11.6% 11.1% 7.8% 8% 29.5% 10.9% 10.7% 7.5% 7.8%

The Foundation’s Policy Index is a composite of indexes reflecting our diversified portfolio, specifically: 40% MSCI ACWI IMI NR, 15% BBgBarc US Universal TR, 15% HFRI Fund of Fund Composite Index, 15% Custom Private Equity Index, 6% Custom Real Asset Index, 9% NCREIF ODCE Net.

Giving for Good

Donors are the lifeblood of The San Diego Foundation, and we are thankful for each and every donor who steps up to support our region. Our donors have changed countless lives through their grants to nonprofits supporting education, the arts, the environment, healthcare and much, much more.

During the past fiscal year, thousands of individuals, families and businesses helped make San Diego a better place to learn, live and work.

This past year, we have granted out more than $104 million – the most charitable year in our organization’s 46-year history. Donor-directed grantmaking accounted for half of grants, while the remaining grantmaking reflects The Foundation’s priorities. We are proud to partner with such generous donors in support of our community.

50% donor-advised giving
50% community & field of interest
21% donor-advised payout rate*
21% donor-advised payout rate*

We thank our fundholders for their commitment to giving with open hearts time and again by using their donor-advised funds to make an impact on our region. To maximize the charitable resources and their impact in our region, The San Diego Foundation advises and encourages donors to give as much as they can as often as they can to those in need.

* Non-Endowed Funds

View New Funds

Giving in Perpetuity

San Diego has a generous heart as one of the most philanthropic communities in the country. San Diegans’ giving is evident in the 2,309 charitable donor-advised funds at The San Diego Foundation, including 1,335 endowment funds, which give will support San Diego in perpetuity.


  • 2021 $1,308,874,000
  • 2020 $1,070,175,000
  • 2019 $895,635,000

View Financial Statements View Contributions

"My mom reminded me that when one door of opportunity closes, it means that something greater is meant for me."

Karla Gonzalez Scholarship Recipient Learn More About Karla's Story >

Record-Breaking Scholarships

Karla Gonzalez credits her mother for her ability to persevere, despite the initial rejections of her college and scholarship applications. Thankfully, her perseverance paid off when she became a recipient of a Community Scholars Initiative scholarship and enrolled as a biological sciences major at University of California, Davis.

Gonzalez was one of more 1,025 scholarship recipients for the 2021 – 2022 academic year. This year’s recipients received $3.4 million in scholarships, the most awarded by The San Diego Foundation since the Community Scholarships Program started in 1997.

The Community Scholarships Program helps foster equity of opportunity for San Diegans, a priority of The San Diego Foundation Strategic Plan. The program is made possible through the generous donor support of 146 unique charitable funds and is the largest in the region outside of the university system. Since 1997, the program has awarded almost $40 million to more than 10,000 college students from San Diego.

"The San Diego Foundation has a bold vision for the future that supports – and dramatically improves – the communities with the greatest amount of need in San Diego."

Steve Klosterman Chair, The San Diego Foundation Board of Governors