2021 Grant Guidelines

About the Age-Friendly Communities Program

With the support of the Del Mar Healthcare fund at The San Diego Foundation, The San Diego Foundation created the Age-Friendly Communities Program (AFC) to address the region’s shifting demography and build communities where older adults can stay connected and remain meaningfully engaged throughout their lives. In close partnership with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) national affiliate, AARP, the Age-Friendly Communities program works directly with stakeholders and local governments to promote programs and systems-level changes that create more livable environments for people of all ages and abilities.

The Funding Opportunity

This grant opportunity is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Diane Johnson Charitable Fund at The San Diego Foundation. The total grant award is expected to be $200,000. Eligible organizations may request a maximum of $30,000 per proposal.

This grant is to advance and sustain older adult-serving initiatives within 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. If applicable, projects are encouraged to demonstrate alignment with existing Age-Friendly municipal action plans.


This grant supports projects and programs serving older adults in San Diego County with an emphasis on equity in aging. The recent California Master Plan for Aging has identified “Inclusion and Equity, not isolation” as a primary strategic goal in efforts to build a California for all ages.

The 2021 Age-Friendly Grant will support innovative programs that seek to support older adults in San Diego County by centering equity within three primary strategies:

  • Healthy Aging
  • Housing
  • Transportation

Eligible projects will prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion as they consider how they will serve the San Diego region. If applicable, projects are encouraged to demonstrate alignment with existing Age-Friendly municipal action plans.


All program proposals are expected to align with the goal listed above. In addition to supporting equity and inclusion for older adults, programs should also utilize strategies that target one or more of the following three areas:

Healthy Aging

Increased access to healthcare and related supportive services through advocacy, research, policy-related efforts or direct services, including but not limited to:

  • Removing barriers to healthcare access, supporting health equity
  • Protection from abuse or neglect
  • Mitigating isolation and increasing access to health services
  • Other approaches to addressing longevity and healthy aging solutions
Affordable, Quality Housing for Older Adults

Improve access to safe and affordable housing for older adults through advocacy, research, policy-related efforts or direct services, including but not limited to:

  • Projects related to innovative housing solutions for older adults
  • Housing-related projects relating to safety, accessibility, resilience and preparedness
  • Other approaches to addressing greater access to affordable, quality housing solutions for older adults
Accessible Transportation

Support existing or new programs that aim to increase transportation options for older adults through advocacy, research, policy-related efforts or direct services, including but not limited to:

  • Innovative transportation options for older adults
  • Driver/pedestrian road safety initiatives
  • Expansion or provision of transportation services for older adults
  • Other approaches that address transportation solutions for older adults

Proposals which include one or multiple strategies above are equally welcome to apply.


Grant Eligibility and Recommendation


  • Applicants must be a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) public charity status organization located in and serving San Diego County.
  • A 501(c)(3) public charity may serve as a fiscal sponsor for another applicant. The sponsor must agree to administer the grant and provide regular financial reporting to The San Diego Foundation.
  • Projects have demonstrated a commitment to upholding the goal of equity and inclusion in aging.
  • Projects will address needs of older adults in the areas of: Heathy Aging, Housing and/or Transportation.
  • The San Diego Foundation will not fund endowments, existing obligations/debt, scholarships or projects that promote religious or political doctrines.


  • Articulate a strategy for project success and show potential for sustainability
  • Explain how this effort will support low-income and/or underserved older adults in the community
  • Demonstrate alignment with Age-Friendly Community partners municipal action plans and initiatives, if applicable
  • Exhibit organizational strength and past performance

Important Dates

July 13, 2021 Application Period Opens
August 13, 2021 Proposals due via Smarter Select online application by 5:00 p.m.
September 2021 Applicants will be notified

Note: During this period, you may be contacted at any time by phone or email for clarification of your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we apply?

Click on the application link in the email or here: https://smr.to/p74022

What is the deadline?

Grant applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. PST on August 13, 2021.

How much can we request?

The maximum funding request for this grant is $30,000 per individual 501(c)(3). 

Who can I contact if I have a question?

Due to high volume, we will only be able to answer questions about the application during a scheduled Q&A webinar on August 3, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. PST. Please register for this webinar here.

What is the grant period?

Projects must be implemented within 12 months of grant approval.

How do you define older adults?

The California Master Plan for Aging refers to adults age 60 and older, and AARP targets those aged 50 or older.

Where can I find more information about Age-Friendly Municipal Action Plans?

Currently, the following municipalities are part of the Age-Friendly city networks: San Diego County, the City of San Diego, Carlsbad, Chula Vista, La Mesa and National City. If your city does not have an action plan published yet or is not part of the Age-Friendly Community network, feel free to reference the County of San Diego’s plan.

When will applicants be notified?

Applicants will be notified in September 2021.

What if I encounter any technical issues?

Please contact the Grants Manager at grants@sdfoundation.org.