For Immediate Release

Hospitality workers receive $500,000 in aid through UNITE HERE!, Big Table

Thousands of computers for students to be purchased to close the digital divide

April 23, 2020 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation today announced to date it has awarded more than $5.1 million in COVID-19 Community Response Fund grants to nonprofits supporting San Diegans in need, including $500,000 in food security and financial assistance for local hospitality workers who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“The hospitality industry is a main economic driver in San Diego County and also one of the sectors hardest hit by COVID-19,” shared Mark Stuart, President & CEO of The San Diego Foundation. “Local hospitality workers who depend on low hourly wages and tips to cover basic living expenses for them and their families now face an uncertain future, but we can change that.”

To date, the Fund has granted more than $5.1 million to San Diego nonprofit organizations working on the frontline to support students, hotel workers and other low-wage workers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Thanks to more than 2,388 individuals, companies, foundations and donor-advised funds at The San Diego Foundation, the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund has raised $9.3 million to support San Diegans in need, including $100,000 from the Garbaczewski Family.

The most recent round of rapid response grants is also providing laptop computers to economically-disadvantaged students through the San Diego County Community College District Consortium.

“The COVID-19 crisis has forced all of the community colleges in San Diego County to convert their classes to an online format,” explained Dr. Constance Carroll, Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District. “At the same time, many community college students lack the resources to make the transition to online education. We are grateful to The San Diego Foundation for its contribution that will add to our countywide effort to provide laptops and Internet connectivity so that students can continue their education without falling onto the wrong side of the digital divide.”

Latest Grants

The latest round of rapid response grants include:

San Diego County Community College District Consortium (via San Diego Community College District) – $500,000

To provide economically-disadvantaged students within the consortium of San Diego County’s community college districts with laptop computers and the technology they need to continue their education through distance learning.

United Way of San Diego County – $400,000

To provide safety net funding for rent, mortgage and utility payments for low-wage individuals and families impacted by layoffs and reduced working hours through the Worker Assistance Initiative.

UNITE HERE! Local 30 – $250,000

To provide food security, financial assistance and health insurance to hospitality employees who are out of work and living paycheck-to-paycheck before COVID-19.

Big Table – $250,000

To provide food security and financial assistance to local hospitality workers who have been laid off as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

San Diego Arts + Culture Challenge Initiative (via Mission Edge) – $200,000

To provide flexible resources for individual artists and creative workers in financial distress due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee (MAAC) – $100,000

To provide low-income families, seniors and immigrants with food assistance, essential living expenses and support for other emergent needs.

Home Start – $100,000

To provide hunger, housing and behavioral health support for children and families facing reduced employment, unemployment and increased stresses in the home due to COVID-19.

San Diego Futures Foundation – $50,000

To distribute low-cost computers to students, foster families other vulnerable communities so they can continue their schoolwork and access telehealth services while staying at home.

Union of Pan Asian Communities – $20,000

To provide food assistance for individuals disproportionately impacted and develop multilingual resources so families can get critical information about COVID-19.

San Diego Grantmakers – $15,000

To support the management and facilitation of the City of San Diego Small Business Relief Fund loan program for small businesses.

Fourth District Seniors Resource Center – $6,000

To provide nutritious meals to high-risk and isolated seniors living in the Fourth District of the City of San Diego.

Businesses, individuals and organizations can donate and find additional information about the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund at where nonprofit organizations can also find information about how to request grant funding or more information about the interest-free loan program.

Grantmaking from the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund focuses on food security; other essential living expenses; emergent needs; and rent and utility payment support. The fund will also provide interest-free loans for nonprofit organizations to provide business and community service continuity.

The San Diego Foundation is part of a national movement of more than 325 community foundations that have mobilized over $630 million to aid in the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis through response funds. Individual donations are bolstered by San Diego corporations and numerous donor-advised funds at The San Diego Foundation that have contributed to the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

One hundred percent of donations to the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund will be provided to nonprofits helping San Diegans impacted by the coronavirus. Funds are released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the coronavirus outbreak and its recovery phases.

The San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund at The San Diego Foundation was created in partnership with San Diego County Supervisor and Co-Chair of the COVID-19 Subcommittee Nathan Fletcher, San Diego Gas & Electric, United Way of San Diego County, San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, NEWS 8 and Alliance Healthcare Foundation.

Learn more at



Justin Nunez, The San Diego Foundation, 336-254-7056,