Apply for a Grant

We fund the work of nonprofits through donor-advised gifts, strategic grantmaking, and competitive grantmaking primarily through our Regional Affiliate program. The funding provides greater equity and opportunity throughout the San Diego region, an effort that relies on the impactful work and collaboration of nonprofits, businesses, government, academia and community leaders.

TSDF Grant Opportunities

Please note that available grants, applications and deadlines change throughout the year. We encourage you to revisit our site frequently for active opportunities, or subscribe to SDF News to get grant opportunities delivered to your inbox.

Opening the Outdoors
2019 Grant Cycle

The San Diego Foundation is inviting Letters of Interest (LOI) from nonprofit organizations working to protect and connect outdoor spaces and improve equitable access to the outdoors, especially for our most park-poor and underserved communities.

Nonprofits may apply for grants between $25,000 to $65,000 to support projects and collaborations that contribute to one or more of the goals listed below:

  • Create and sustain new natural amenities in low-income communities where access to green space is most limited, as defined in resources such as the Parks for Everyone report and the Parks for All Californians.
  • Build community support for timely public policies or funding measures that will significantly expand more equitable access to green space in communities with the greatest needs.
  • Implement programs offering repeat, reinforcing opportunities for youth from communities with low park access to positively engage in nature.

IMPORTANT: This year, the Opening the Outdoors program will prioritize applications that:

  • Demonstrate they are developing long-lasting solutions to overcoming the underlying barriers preventing low-income, park poor populations from accessing the outdoors, with a particular focus on the communities of El Cajon, Escondido, Lemon Grove, National City and other areas of San Diego County with limited access to green space;


  • Are led by organizations or partnerships with a well-established history of leadership in the community they are serving.


The San Diego Foundation launched the Opening the Outdoors program in 2013 to better protect, connect and increase equitable access to nature throughout San Diego County. Since then, The San Diego Foundation has worked with a diverse set of donors and foundations to award almost $2 million through 45 grants for projects involving more than 60 organizations working in partnership to increase San Diego’s natural amenities, promote community ownership of local green spaces and inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, as shown in the 2018 Impact Report. Through this 2019 Opening the Outdoors program, we continue our commitment to invest in community solutions that protect, connect and increase equitable access to nature for today’s communities and future generations.


Letters of Interest are due by Wednesday, March 6 at 12pm (noon), after which selected nonprofits will be invited to submit a full proposal by Monday, April 15. For full application instructions, please refer to the Grant Guidelines.

Need More Information?

We will host a brief webinar for interested applicants on Thursday, February 21 from 10:00 – 11:00am and hold office hours by appointment to answer questions from 11:00am to 1:00pm on February 19, 26 and March 4.

Please review our Grant Guidelines for full details. Contact Everett Au, Environment & Thomas Murphy Fellow, at or (619) 235-2300 if you have questions regarding the application process, grant program in general or want to sign up for office hours.

Register for the Webinar

LOI Application Deadline: Wednesday, March 6 at 12:00pm (noon).

Grant Guidelines

Apply Today


The Foundation welcomes applications from organizations that meet the criteria below. If you have additional questions, please read the Grantseeker FAQ.

Timely Submission

Application forms must be submitted on the deadline date and within the time outlined in the grant guidelines. Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted. Most applications are submitted through our online portal powered by SmarterSelect. Other submission options, if needed, are outlined in the grant guidelines and may only require email attachments.

Valid Tax-Exempt Status

The Foundation awards grants to organizations that are exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Organizations 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.

Region Served

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.

Overlapping Grants

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 or our grants administration team.

Contact Our Grants Administration Team

  • Or call us at (619) 235-2300 to speak to a team member right away.

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