Monday, Jan. 22, 2024, will live on in the memory of San Diego as the day of devastating, 1,000-year rains and subsequent flooding throughout the region. With inches of rain falling within hours, many San Diegans found themselves in flooded residences and neighborhoods.

The most acutely affected communities include those in National City, Spring Valley and southeastern San Diego, including Mountain View, Southcrest, Logan Heights and Encanto. Many families are homeless, as they cannot currently occupy their homes, with many losing all of their possessions to flooding. Additionally, while some had optional flood insurance and renters’ insurance, many did not.

San Diegans’ generosity

Knowing the generosity of the San Diego’s philanthropic community, San Diego Foundation (SDF) launched the San Diego Flood Response Fund to rapidly deploy flexible resources into the community and support organizations responding to last week’s unprecedented flooding in San Diego County.

“Last week’s 1,000-year flood left many residents without homes, clothing or food,” said Mark Stuart, President and CEO of SDF. “San Diegans care about each other. In times of great need, they step up to give a hand to their neighbors and their community. We urge all San Diegans to donate so we can quickly get funds to the nonprofit organizations helping those with urgent needs.”

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Giving and granting

The response fund deploys flexible resources into the community and supports organizations responding to the unprecedented flooding that occurred on January 22 in San Diego County.  San Diego Foundation matched donations up to $100,000.

To date, more than 500 donors have donated or committed $550,000 to the fund, including nearly $190,000 in donations from SDF fundholders and more than $90,000 in online donations. Large donations to the fund include $100,000 from Price Philanthropies, $50,000 from The Conrad Prebys Foundation, $25,000 from the San Diego Padres Foundation and $25,000 from SDG&E.

“Price Philanthropies is grateful to the community and civic leaders who are leading San Diego’s response and recovery efforts,” said Jennette Lawrence Shay, COO of Price Philanthropies. “We know the flood devastated many families, and we are committed to working collaboratively with our region to help these vulnerable households recover.”

“Understanding the urgent needs of our community, we have made a contribution to the San Diego Foundation’s emergency fund,” said Grant Oliphant, CEO of The Conrad Prebys Foundation. “We are grateful for the San Diego Foundation’s leadership. We encourage those who can join in supporting our fellow San Diegans at this time.”

The San Diego Flood Response Fund does not grant directly to individuals or families, but to the nonprofit organizations that serve individuals and families.

“With more than 500 donations already made from individuals, foundations and companies throughout our region, our community is giving generously through the San Diego Flood Response Fund to improve the lives of those impacted by the flood,” said Mark Stuart, President & CEO of San Diego Foundation. “One hundred percent of donations are directed to the greatest needs as identified by our nonprofit partners, who are on the ground daily and with whom we are working closely.”

On Jan. 30, $120,000 in grants were awarded to:

  • Jackie Robinson YMCA – $25,000 to provide access to showers, hot meals, counselors and other essential support to survivors of San Diego’s historic flood.
  • San Diego County Black Chamber of Commerce – $25,000 to provide grants to small family-owned restaurants that have and will continue to provide hot meals to survivors of San Diego’s historic floods.
  • Harvey Family Foundation – $25,000 to provide ongoing support to flood survivors, including debris and furniture removal, cleaning supplies for homeowners and volunteers, hot meals for homeowners and volunteers, trash removal and other support.
  • YMCA of San Diego County – $25,000 to provide gift cards directly to families in need to assist with the purchase of essential items.
  • Sharia’s Closet – $10,000 to provide clothing, shoes and other essentials to survivors of San Diego’s historic flood.

Earlier this week, San Diego Foundation convened an advisory council for the San Diego Flood Response Fund. Members are comprised of nonprofit, corporate and community leaders, including:

  • Armon Harvey, Executive Director, Harvey Family Foundation
  • Kazeem Omidiji, Director, Community Relations, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)
  • Annie Rios, Esq., President & CEO, Uprise Theatre
  • Jennette Lawrence Shay, Chief Operating Officer, Price Philanthropies
  • Rudy Vargas, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Price Philanthropies
  • Jason Shanley, President & CEO, Building Justice
  • Pamela Gray Payton, VP, Chief Impact & Partnerships Officer, San Diego Foundation
  • Katie Rast, Director, Community Impact, San Diego Foundation

State of emergency

The City and County of San Diego, along with Gov. Gavin Newsom, have declared a state of emergency regarding this week’s flooding. Damages are estimated at millions of dollars and potentially hundreds of San Diegans are without homes.

Additionally, the City of San Diego will provide emergency grant funds for up to 100 storm-impacted small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The Business Emergency Response & Resilience Grant will make financial assistance available with up to $2,500 per business and up to $5,000 for businesses and nonprofits in the federally designated Promise Zone and Low-Moderate Income Census tract areas.  The application period will open in mid-February. The city is encouraging business owners to track any expenses related to storm recovery.

The County of San Diego Office of Emergency Services continues to encourage residents and businesses to fill out its online damage assessment survey. It does not guarantee the person will receive disaster relief assistance, but it does help the county collect information about the storm damage.

Crisis philanthropy

San Diego Foundation’s Crisis Philanthropy is dedicated to quickly mobilizing local leaders, donors and partners to provide critical services and assistance when San Diegans are in need. During COVID-19, San Diego Foundation raised $67 million as part of the San Diego COVID-19 Community Relief Fund to support nonprofits doing work in local communities deeply affected by the pandemic.

Learn more about how you can support the San Diego Flood Response Fund.