September 21, 2015 – San Diego, CA – Escondido Charitable Foundation (ECF), an affiliate of The San Diego Foundation, today announced it will award $168,860 to eight nonprofit organizations that promote the rich natural resources and open spaces of Escondido.

The grants will be formally awarded at the ECF 9th Annual Grant Celebration on Thursday, September 24 at Classical Academy High School in Escondido. Programs funded include: Chaparral Passport and Naturalist Program with The California Chaparral Institute ($21,560); Children’s Natural Play Area with El Caballo Park Conservancy ($24,500); Clean Canyons for a Clean Coast with I Love a Clean San Diego County ($17,000); Daley Ranch 7th Grade Field Trip with The Friends of Daley Ranch ($25,000); Escondido Outdoors with Outdoor Outreach ($10,000); Exploring and Conserving the Escondido Creek Watershed with San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy ($30,000); Girls on the Run San Diego ($10,800); and Save Our Aquatic Resources Program with Zoological Society of San Diego ($30,000).

“We are excited to support eight projects that will enhance the quality of life within Escondido,” emphasized Ruth Tsoulos, Grants Committee Chair. “Through the power of collective giving within our community, we can further promote healthy lifestyles through increased access and awareness of our natural spaces.”

“Last year, Escondido Charitable Foundation celebrated a milestone as we surpassed $1 million given to local nonprofit organizations,” recounted Lisa Ruder, Chair of the Escondido Charitable Foundation. “This year, we continue to leverage the generosity of our Escondido friends, neighbors and businesses by giving more than $167,000 back to the community to support current and future generations.”

In 2014, ECF granted nearly $190,000 to youth education programs throughout Escondido, including North Broadway School. Supporting the North Broadway Science Academy, the grant enabled 500 students to participate in STEM education classes that incorporated hands-on learning and technology in the classroom.

“Students are more engaged and excited when we are able to provide hands-on experiences in the classroom,” explained Principal Jason Hoff. “The North Broadway Science Academy project has now sparked the interest of hundreds of students who otherwise would never be exposed to these types of STEM projects.”

ECF is dedicated to improving the quality of life and meeting emerging needs in Escondido by increasing responsible and effective philanthropy; building a community endowment for the benefit of the region; providing funds annually to community organizations and causes, and giving the community a vehicle for legacy planning and gifts that will benefit Escondido now and forever.

To learn more about how to get involved, contact Trudy Armstrong at

About the 2015 Grantees:

Chaparral Passport and Naturalist Program
The California Chaparral Institute

A grant of $21,560 will be used for The Passport to Nature program as an opportunity for people to get outdoors and give back to their community. The passport itself will be an interactive field guide with a list of activities, such as naturalist-led hikes along the Escondido Creek Watershed, community volunteer projects and outreach challenges. Participants will be asked to complete five of the 10 activities in order to receive a Watershed Explorer badge and certificate.

Children’s Natural Play Area
El Caballo Park Conservancy

A grant of $24,500 will be used to build El Caballo Park, which will open up new public space in the community. A natural play zone for children will be constructed in a manner that will allow it to be relocated on the property if necessary to ensure families have a space to enjoy in a safe and healthy environment.

Clean Canyons for a Clean Coast
I Love a Clean San Diego County

A grant of $17,000 will support staff time and one-time expenditures to expand the Adopt-A-Beach Clean Canyons program into Escondido. Staff will recruit participants by attending community meetings and presenting to adult and youth groups about the program, which will ensure the health and upkeep of the region’s valued natural space.

Daley Ranch 7th Grade Field Trip
The Friends of Daley Ranch

A grant of $ 25,000 will go toward full-day field trip learning sessions at Daley Ranch for students in Escondido. Students will hike into the Ranch and visit learning stations that offer hands-on experiences that will provide a greater appreciation and understanding for the community’s natural space.

Escondido Outdoors
Outdoor Outreach

A grant of $ 10,000 will help underserved San Diego County youth explore, value and take action to protect the region’s natural resources. Through comprehensive outdoor programming that integrates recreation, environmental education and stewardship activities, project participants will experience an increase in self-esteem and self-worth, physical activity, and appreciation for the open space areas and parks.

Exploring and Conserving the Escondido Creek Watershed
San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy

A grant of $30,000 will allow 1,500 underserved students in Escondido to participate in the “Our Living Watershed,” a school-based program that provides quality access to the outdoors for youth. The program consists 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.

Girls on the Run San Diego
A grant of $10,800 will enable Girls on the Run San Diego to significantly increase the amount of scholarship funding available to Escondido girls. The program inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum, which creatively integrates running. Since its inception in 2014, the program has served over 3,000 local youth.

Save Our Aquatic Resources Program
Zoological Society of San Diego

A grant of $30,000 will address the critical need for intensive water conservation instruction for underserved Escondido elementary school students by offering an onsite education program at the Educational Demonstration Wetland located at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Save Our Aquatic Resources (SOAR), connects local students to nature by bringing them to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and engaging them through an “outdoor classroom” environment.

About the Escondido Charitable Foundation & the Regional Affiliate Program
The Regional Affiliate program, including the Escondido Charitable Foundation,, was established by The San Diego Foundation to build and promote a regional network of community affiliate foundations by leveraging local leadership in building endowments, increasing responsible and effective philanthropy, and promoting local and regional civic engagement. Since 2006, The San Diego Foundation has established affiliates 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, built endowments of more than $3.8 million overall, and granted more than $3.4 million in total to nonprofit organizations throughout the region. For additional information, please visit

About The San Diego Foundation
Celebrating 40 years of philanthropic leadership (1975-2015), The San Diego Foundation’s purpose is to promote and increase effective and responsible charitable giving to grow a vibrant region. The Foundation manages more than $682 million in assets, more than half of which reside in permanent endowment funds that extend the impact of today’s gifts to future generations. Since its inception, The Foundation has granted more than $924 million to the San Diego region’s nonprofit community. Join us as we look ahead to the next 40 years with the Future40 event series and Fund for the Future. For more information, visit The San Diego Foundation’s website, SDF News blog, Facebook and Twitter pages.

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