2023 Annual Report

SDF Annual Report

Our Impact.

For those who have supported or partnered with San Diego Foundation this past year, it is our honor to share our 2023 annual report with you.

It was another remarkable year for San Diego Foundation, with $131.1 million in grants distributed to nonprofit partners. In the last three years, we have granted nearly $400 million, thanks to our donors. Our donors make our work possible — and this year was like none other, thanks to Jay Kahn's $106 million gift that will help SDF continue to innovate and support the San Diego region — forever.

We continued to work towards just, equitable and resilient communities. To advance racial and social justice, we launched the Black InGenius Initiative with the University of San Diego to advance the educational opportunity among rising sixth graders throughout San Diego County. To foster equity of opportunity, the Community Scholarship Program awarded a record-breaking $4 million to more than 1,000 local college students. To build resilient communities, we launched the Housing Fund to provide investment funds and partnerships focused on affordable and middle-income housing development. To deliver world-class philanthropy, we finalized our plans for the first San Diego Fundraising Conference that will educate and inspire 400 attendees from 250 nonprofit organizations throughout the region.

Our work to address the most significant needs of our community happens because of the many talented, caring people and partners who support it. From our donors and funders to our community-based organizations, universities and municipalities, we are educating, employing and housing San Diego together. This important work and collective impact is also made possible by our mission-driven Board of Governors and staff.

Thank you for all you have done — and will do — for our region. We look forward to growing our impact, together, in the coming year as we work towards a San Diego where everyone can thrive, prosper and feel like they belong.

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Pamela Luster

Dr. Pamela Luster

Chair, Board of Governors

Mark Stuart

Mark A. Stuart, CFRE

President & CEO

Meeting Regional Need.



In the second year of our Strategic Plan, we continued striving for just, equitable and resilient communities. While San Diego transitioned out of the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofit partners continued to serve the growing need in our region. Thanks to donors and partners, $131.1 million was distributed in 8,925 grants to 2,577 nonprofits. Since 2020, SDF and our donors have distributed nearly $400 million in grants.

Giving Where It's Needed.

We continued our support of community-based organizations serving San Diegans in need. Working with donors, from individual philanthropists to family foundations to well-known San Diego-based nonprofits like the Dr. Seuss Foundation, we designated grants to support nonprofits' needs. San Diego Foundation also invested flexible funding to strengthen children and families, education, environment, housing, racial and social justice, workforce development and crisis philanthropy. Here's what our $131.1 million in collective impact supported last year:

Health & Human Services


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Community Building


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SDF Annual Report 2023 Pie Chart

Arts & Culture


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Youth Development


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* Note: Other grantmaking totaling $6,135,805 includes international, foreign affair & national security; mutual & membership benefit; and religion-related grants.

* Unaudited as of June 30, 2023

Supporting Our Community.

San Diego Foundation granted funds to local, regional, national and international nonprofits last year, including $109,519,906 to local nonprofits helping those in need throughout San Diego County.


San Diego County




U.S. & International

Expanding Education Equity

Expanding Educational

Research shows that time outside of the classroom is nearly as important to youth development and learning as traditional school time.

Out-of-school time learning, or expanded learning, helps to address gaps and inequities in our traditional school systems and has proven to help address the pandemic's impacts on learning and social-emotional well-being.

In 2021, San Diego Foundation partnered with San Diego Unified School District and local nonprofits to launch Level Up SD, which brought a summer of learning and joy to San Diego school children and youth. This past year, SDF launched three additional expanded learning programs: County Expanded Learning Grants with other school districts and partners throughout the county, the Black InGenius Initiative with the University of San Diego, and the Growth Education Mentors and Scholars, or GEMS, program with various nonprofit partners.

Together, SDF has granted $31 million to 176 nonprofit partners and served more than 51,000 students through expanded learning.

"Whether it's visiting a museum, learning to play guitar, or participating in a sports camp, Level Up SD offers many students opportunities that were otherwise out of reach due to cost or transportation needs."

Dr. Lamont Jackson
San Diego Unified School District

Equity in Action.

View videos of our equity work with nonprofit partners.

A Vision for the Future

Vision to Learn is helping Chula Vista students do better in school simply by putting on a pair of glasses.

Changing Lives: Meliya's Scholarship Story

Coming from a low-income household, Meliya Russom grew up with the thought of affording college always on her mind.

Goal-Getters: Teaching More Than Soccer

With the help of Level Up SD and The Chicano Federation, more students are returning to the classroom prepared after a summer of learning and fun.

Diversifying the Local STEM Workforce

The lack of diversity in science, technology, engineering and science (STEM) drives leaders and educators at MiraCosta College to provide quality access to opportunity.

Empowering Tomorrow's Workforce

SBCS provides a wide range of services for local families, including an internship program to help youth get quality jobs and thrive.

Celebrating Jay Kahn's Philanthropy

Celebrating Jay Kahn's

In February 2023, San Diego Foundation received a $106 million unrestricted gift from the estate of Jay Kahn, a local entrepreneur and music lover.

The unrestricted gift is the largest of its kind to a San Diego nonprofit.

Kahn's gift was the third largest unrestricted gift to a U.S. community foundation. To honor Kahn's memory, SDF used a portion of the gift to create the Jay Kahn Endowment Fund and awarded $150,000 unrestricted grants to 10 San Diego-based music education nonprofits. The intent of the grants is to grow music appreciation in San Diego in memory of Kahn, a classical musician who played clarinet in symphonies at the University of California San Diego and the University of San Diego.

Kahn's gift also provided seed funding for the SD Housing Fund, which will invest in affordable housing developments throughout the county; supported SDF Strategic Plan initiatives; and created an internal innovations fund to help pilot new SDF programs and explore the expansion of existing programs.

"Jay Kahn was a compassionate man who loved San Diego and wished for his legacy and estate to be used for the good of San Diego."

Mark Stuart
President & CEO
San Diego Foundation

Philanthropy in Action.

View videos of grantees impacted by Jay Kahn's gift.

Keeping Jazz Alive in San Diego

Young Lions Jazz Conservatory keeps the influence and legacy of jazz music alive.

Fine Tuning Students

Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom teaches students the value of music with personal development skills, leadership and more.

Shaping Students' Lives Through Music

For about 80 years, San Diego Youth Symphony has given young people in San Diego the opportunity to express themselves through music.

Empowering San Diego's Unhoused Community

Voices of Our City choir was founded in 2016 and has quickly grown into a fullfledged nonprofit that is instrumental for those living in the homeless community.

An Instrumental Part in Supporting San Diego's System-Affected Youth

Through art, music and media, David's Harp Foundation serves young people, teaching them the value of relationships and connection.

Helping Cali-Baja Build Community

Helping Cali-Baja Build

Launched in fall 2022 as a partnership of San Diego Foundation and the International Community Foundation, the Binational Resilience Initiative places geographic focus on the Cali-Baja coastline region that spans from Oceanside in North San Diego County in the U.S. to Ensenada in Baja California, Mexico.

This is the largest economic zone along the U.S.-Mexico border and generates a regional GDP of $250 billion, an estimated $70 billion in cross-border trade flows and more than 90 million people crossing the border each year.

The initiative addresses our cross-border region's climate vulnerabilities by empowering binational collaborations between civil organizations, scientists, community leaders and other stakeholders. Funded projects include those that enhance coastal resilience due to global climate change, reduce the impact of pollution in the Tijuana River watershed, champion local leadership from communities on both sides of the border, and build a knowledge base of research to inform future efforts.

"We are excited to work with San Diego Foundation to continue to support cross-border relationships that uplift and strengthen the shared resilience of our region."

Marisa Quiroz
President & CEO
International Community Foundation

Community in Action.

View videos of our community-building work with partners.

Binational Resilience Initiative

The Binational Resilience Initiative was launched to preserve the Cali- Baja coast for current residents and future generations.

Exploring the Great Outdoors

Everyday, bus loads of students flock to the Living Coast Discovery Center for up-close encounters with animals native to our region.

Striving to Close the Food Insecurity Gap

Bayside Community Center serves local residents facing nutrition insecurity, or when a child, adult or senior can't rely on three nutritious meals a day.

San Diego Foundation Gives Back

Each year, San Diego Foundation and San Diego Regional Policy and Innovation Center employees gather to volunteer their time and effort to better the region.

Improving Students' Holistic Health

For many students, visiting The Water Conservation Garden may be one of their few outdoor experiences.

Supporting Every Donor.

Our network of donors is an integral partner in our work, giving millions each year towards the causes they care about, near and far.

Our gratitude extends to every donor — from our San Diego Sustainers to our donor-advised fundholders — who has placed their trust in us as faithful stewards of their charitable giving. Thanks to you, we continue to strive for just, equitable and resilient communities where everyone can thrive, prosper and feel like they belong.

In partnership with our donors, foundations, municipal partners and corporations, we granted the second-highest amount of funds in our organization's history at $131.1 million. During the past year, donor-advised giving amounted to 70% of our grantmaking, while the remainder went towards our Strategic Plan priorities that were introduced in 2021 and hone in on the greatest challenges in our region.

We thank our donors who are making an impact with their donor-advised funds for their continued contributions and assistance to those in need in our region. These gifts — no matter what size — make a difference to our region's nonprofit organizations and to the under-resourced San Diegans that they serve. To maximize the charitable resources and collective impact in our region, SDF advises and encourages donors to give as much as they can, as often as they can to those in need.

View New Funds


Donor-Advised Giving


SDF Discretionary Grantmaking


Donor-Advised Payout Rate*

* The payout rate is a calculation of grantmaking dollars from donor-advised funds (DAFs) to nonprofit organizations relative to the total charitable non-endowed assets in DAFs.

Feeding San Diego

Serving the Community

In June, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) worked with San Diego Foundation to award grants of $250,000 to $1 million to 21 nonprofit organizations regionwide to expand essential services for vulnerable residents – from military families to older adults to refugees – who struggle with basic needs such as housing stability and food security.

Over the past 12 years, SDG&E has invested more than $100 million in shareholder dollars to support workforce development, public safety, environmental stewardship and education.

"With these grants, we're fortunate to have the opportunity to support the missions of so many dedicated local organizations..."

Caroline Winn
San Diego Gas & Electric

Jame Silberrad Brown

Honoring a Legacy

The James Silberrad Brown Foundation at San Diego Foundation was inspired in 2021 by Jim Brown, a local real estate professional and entrepreneur. Founded by his wife, Marilyn, it honors his memory and provides lasting support to our community.

Since its founding, the James Silberrad Brown Foundation at SDF has granted more than $15 million to organizations that meaningfully serve our region – from San Diego State University to Sharp Healthcare to San Diego Symphony.

"You don't necessarily give funding to places, you give it to people..."

Marilyn Creson Brown
SDF Donor-Advised Fundholder

Dean Rudesill

Supporting Servicemembers

The Dean Rudesill Scholarship Foundation at San Diego Foundation provides scholarships to veterans, active-duty servicemembers and their dependents and honors the memory of a family friend. Dean enlisted in the U.S. Navy during WWII. After the war, he was released from duty, but a job was hard to find. Dean never forgot those days.

Before his death, he shared with the Kaiser family that he wanted to establish a scholarship for veterans. As of this year, their fund has awarded 35 scholarships since 2020.

"We wanted to do something that would keep his name alive..."

Craig Kaiser
SDF Scholarship Donor

Investing for the Future.

The past year started and ended with positive economic growth, with markets continuing their upward path from the previous year. Thanks to this activity, the endowment and non-endowment portfolios continued to grow, with nearly all asset classes outperforming their benchmarks. With both portfolios showing positive growth, donors have the flexibility to make philanthropic gifts on their timeline – whether it's giving today or leaving a lasting legacy for grantmaking in perpetuity.

View Our Investing Strategy

Endowment Portfolio Total Returns**

As of June 30, 2023

SDF Annual Report 2023 Chart

** The SDF Policy Index is a composite of indexes reflecting our diversified portfolio, specifically: 40% MSCI ACWI IMI , 10% Bloomberg US Universal Bond Index, 15% HFRI Fund of Fund Composite Index, 15% Pro-rata % Cambridge Private Equity Index Lagged and unallocated % to MSCI ACWI IMI, 3% Real Assets Benchmark, 7% NCREIF ODCE Net, 10% S&P LSTA Leveraged Loan Index + 150bps.

"We are excited to share that the majority of our investment portfolios continue to beat their respective policy indexes, thanks to the market's prolonged healthy rally that started earlier this year."

Matt Fettig

Matt Fettig, CFA
Chief Investment Officer, San Diego Foundation

Building Assets for Our Community.

San Diego continues to be known as one of the most philanthropic regions in the United States, with donors who give with full hearts on a regular basis. The generosity of SDF donors is exemplified in its 2,384 donor-advised funds, including 1,371 endowment funds.

This past year, our assets grew, allowing us to continue our strong philanthropy and equity-building in communities throughout the San Diego region, forever.







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