September 26, 2016 – San Diego, CA – Escondido Charitable Foundation (ECF), an affiliate of The San Diego Foundation, awarded $210,000 in funding to seven nonprofits at its 10th Anniversary Celebration on September 22 at Orfila Winery. This year, ECF focused on programs that prevent homelessness and promote housing stability in the Escondido community.

The programs funded include: A Step Beyond program with A Step Beyond ($20,000); Mental Health Services Specialist for At-Risk Preschoolers and Families with Escondido Community Child Development Center ($20,000); Financial Literacy in Escondido Communities with Community HousingWorks ($30,000); Next Step North Family Self-Sufficiency Program with Center for Community Solutions ($35,000); Family Housing and Social Services Program with Interfaith Community Services ($35,000); Mental Health Services for the Homeless with Neighborhood Healthcare ($35,000); A Permanent Solution to Family Homelessness in Escondido with Solutions for Change, Inc. ($35,000).

“Over the past 10 years, ECF has granted more than $1.8 million to 60 programs to strengthen the community of Escondido,” shared Nick Tsoulos, Board Chair for ECF. “Through these grants, our members are making a difference addressing the essential needs of our unique community. The many grantee success stories, such as San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, are a testament to our mission and annual efforts to build lasting, impactful partnerships for a stronger community.”

In 2014, San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy received a $22,000 grant to support the Our Living Watershed program. The program provides quality access to the outdoors for youth and their families, consisting of a science program for elementary students, a field study program for middle school students and a high school program that incorporates outdoor habitat restoration and community service. After successfully implementing the program in four Escondido schools, reaching over 1,150 students, San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy secured an additional $30,000 grant from ECF in 2015.

“Grant support from the Escondido Charitable Foundation allowed us to pilot programs that have now become institutionalized throughout our organization,” expressed Tara Fuad, San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy Education Director. “To date, funding has provided over 4,000 San Diego students, teachers and parents with the unique opportunity to participate in exciting outdoor educational experiences. The support from ECF has solidified our partnerships with schools and community members in Escondido.”

ECF was founded to provide community members a vehicle to increase effective and responsible philanthropy in Escondido. Through 10 years of grantmaking, ECF has addressed a wide range of community issues including: health and human services; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education; access to the outdoors; advancing arts & culture and more. In addition to the $1.8 million in grantmaking, ECF has raised an endowment fund of $956,000 to support future needs in Escondido.

“The purpose and vision of the Escondido Charitable Foundation is to advance the quality of life for all current and future Escondido residents,” stated Jack Raymond, ECF Founding Board Chair. “Having local residents engaged in the process is critical to appropriately identify the pressing needs of the community.”

To become a member, contact Trudy Armstrong at (619) 814-1312 or e-mail

About the 2016 Grantees:

A Step Beyond
A Step Beyond
A Step Beyond is an intensive youth mentoring family support program for families at Title 1 elementary schools in Escondido and San Marcos. With a grant of $20,000, A Step Beyond program will offer 30 students a structured program of dance instruction that is set to continue from 3rd grade through 12th grade for each student. Each year, a new class is added and the earlier classes graduate to the new level of the program. In addition to dance instruction, students also receive academic assistance and character development training.

Escondido Community Child Development Center
Mental Health Services Specialist for At-Risk Preschoolers and Families
Escondido Community Child Development Center provides a coordinated and cost effective child development program which includes a full range of education, health and social service opportunities so that children and their families reach their potential. The $20,000 grant will support a bilingual Mental Health Services Specialist position to provide early childhood mental health intervention services in classrooms, teacher-training, as well as counseling sessions with children and families.

Community HousingWorks
Financial Literacy in Escondido Communities
Community HousingWorks focuses on providing affordable housing, along with teaching the financial tools to keep families housed and safe. The grant of $30,000 will provide 40-50 Escondido residents access to financial literacy courses. Those who complete one-on-one coaching will raise their credit score, decrease debt and increase savings. Additionally, 16 households will be served by an eviction prevention program.

Center for Community Solutions
Next Step North Family Self-Sufficiency Program
Center for Community Solutions is dedicated to ending relationship and sexual violence by being a catalyst for caring communities and social justice. The $35,000 grant will support the Next Step North Family Self-Sufficiency Program. The program includes a complete screening process to assess a range of family protective factors such as restraining orders, custody arrangements, income status, and most importantly, the client’s goals for self-sufficiency.

Interfaith Community Services
Family Housing and Social Services Program
Interfaith Community Services (ICS) empowers people in need to stabilize and improve their lives through comprehensive programs, in partnership with diverse faith communities and people of compassion. With a grant of $35,000, ICS will support enhanced housing and social services to 30 homeless families, as well as 500 homeless and low-income individuals on the brink of homelessness in Escondido. Funding will strengthen housing and social services working to end and prevent homelessness and empower 20 Family Housing and Social Services Program participants with the opportunity to pursue employment certification.

Neighborhood Healthcare
Mental Health Services for the Homeless
Neighborhood Healthcare (NH) in Escondido has been providing medical care to residents below the poverty level since 1969. The grant of $35,000 will allow NH to hire a social worker to coordinate homeless services at Interfaith Community Services (ICS) with mental healthcare at NH. NH and ICS partner because of the high need for mental health care identified in Escondido. 

Solutions for Change, Inc.
A Permanent Solution to Family Homelessness in Escondido
Solutions for Change was founded in 1999 with a mission of permanently solving family homelessness. The grant of $35,000 will sponsor the 4-6 families currently in the Solutions University. The families will be prepared to finish the last 500 days of the Solutions University in the Solutions Escondido Apartments in spring of 2017. They will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and resources to continue on the journey of recovering from homelessness. 100 percent will be employed full-time, paying their rent, participating in ongoing stabilization services.

About the Escondido Chartiable Foundation & the Regional Affiliate Program

The Regional Affiliate program, including the Escondido Charitable Foundation, was established by The San Diego Foundation to create a regional network of affiliate foundations by leveraging local leadership, building endowments, increasing impactful philanthropy, and promoting civic engagement. Affiliates reside in Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Escondido, La Jolla, Oceanside, Ramona, Rancho Bernardo, San Ysidro, and 4S Ranch-Del Sur. The Regional Affiliate program has exceeded 700 members, established endowments of more than $3.6 million overall, and granted more than $3.9 million in total to nonprofit organizations throughout the region.

About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation maximizes the impact of charitable giving to enact positive social change in our region. We mobilize resources to advance quality of life, increase social impact and champion civic engagement though effective, responsible and innovative philanthropy. We are your community foundation committed to arts & culture, civil society, education, environment, health and human services, and youth development to build equity and opportunity for all San Diegans. For more than 40 years, The Foundation and our donors have granted more than $995 million to grow a vibrant San Diego region. For more information, visit our website and consider a donation to the Fund for the Future Endowment which supports San Diego now and forever.


Vince Heald, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600,
Justin Nunez, The San Diego Foundation, 619-235-2300,