What We Fund

The San Diego Foundation grantmaking is driven largely by our donors through their advised funds, which allow donors to direct charitable contributions to nonprofit organizations of their choice.

Of the $77 million granted to nonprofits in fiscal year 2020, 63 percent was directed through donor-advised funds. Additional grantmaking was led by The Foundation’s staff and Board of Governors, accounting for 37 percent this past year due in large part to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

Donors grant to nonprofits in many fields, including education, civil society, health and human services, arts and culture, youth development and environment. Check out our grantseeker Frequently Asked Questions to learn how donors select nonprofits to support.

Outside of grantmaking through advised funds, The Foundation oversees a set of programs and funds focused on supporting the San Diego region in a variety of impact areas. In order to find Requests for Proposals (RFPs), please visit our Apply for Assistance web page. Any currently open grant opportunities will be listed there.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Grant Policy

The San Diego Foundation supports and encourages diversity in all of its forms, including but not limited to age, disability status, income or economic circumstance, ethnicity, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.

  • The San Diego Foundation believes the board and staff composition of grant recipients should reflect the diversity and demographics of the community being served and include diversity among its leadership at the board and senior staff levels to ensure the diverse perspectives needed at these decision-making levels.
  • All grant applicants must indicate that they accept The San Diego Foundation’s DEI policy or have a similar policy statement adopted by their board.
  • In two pages or less, The San Diego Foundation requires applicants to:
    • Provide demographic data on its board and staff.
    • Explain how your nonprofit engages community members and constituents in planning, programming and making decisions.
    • Describe what challenges, if any, you have encountered in engaging community members and constituents and what are you doing to overcome them.
    • Share how your nonprofit advances racial equity.

Type of Funding

The type of funding varies depending on the program. Grants programs may offer the following types of support:

  • Project Support: These grants are restricted to a specific piece of work that provides direct benefit to the organization’s constituents over a period of time to achieve measurable results.
  • Capacity Building Support: This type of support is generally awarded for activities that strengthen an organization, or a coalition of organizations, to better achieve its mission. Capacity building may include expansion of services, infrastructure improvement, organizational assessment, strategic planning, board/staff development, and so on.
  • Core Operating/General Support: An organization may use the funds in any way to support its mission.

Grantseeker FAQs