The disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is broad and deep for nonprofits, their leaders, and the communities that they serve.

#GivingTuesday is an annual, global generosity movement that falls on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, presenting an opportunity for charitable individuals, families and companies to come together on one day to support nonprofit organizations that strengthen our community.

Even without a designated day to give, philanthropists and community advocates have answered the call of duty throughout the year to support organizations that are on the front lines providing for those most adversely affected by the pandemic. Our 2020 Annual Report shares that we granted more than $77 million to nonprofit partners, making the most challenging year in our recent memory the most charitable.

This year, The San Diego Foundation wants to increase that momentum. We are joining the #GivingTuesday movement by encouraging San Diegans to support, elevate and give to nonprofits that are responding to COVID-19 and continue to serve our communities. 

Pivoting to Prioritize Community Needs

Despite staff balancing long work hours and trying to take care of themselves and their own families, nonprofit organizations are going above and beyond to make San Diego County a safer and stronger place for all. If you’re looking for hope and encouragement these days as much as we are, look no further than the new and innovative ways that nonprofits are shifting to meet the needs of our region.

Nile Sisters recognized that many local hospitals and care facilities were experiencing nursing shortages due to COVID-19, while at the same time so many San Diegans faced unemployment. In response, they launched LearnMore, an accelerated nurse assistant training program for candidates seeking certification by the State of California. This training program focuses on providing opportunities to hard-to-reach and underrepresented populations who want to develop new skills for in-demand healthcare careers.

“My life changed like that! I got a job just the next day, right after I got my license,” shared Ikechi Dents, an asylee from Nigeria, about his experience with the program.

Dents is one of nearly 100 students that have successfully completed the LearnMore training program. Students in LearnMore go through 160 hours of lab and classroom training before becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Once certified, they can enter the healthcare industry immediately.

Kitchens for Good is a culinary apprenticeship program providing critical workforce training to hardest hit populations such as the formerly incarcerated and the homeless who hone their skills while preparing thousands of catered lunches and dinners for local companies and organizations in San Diego. When COVID-19 hit though, catering opportunities disappeared, and food insecurity increased. Kitchens for Good responded by transitioning all their catering efforts to healthy heat-and-eat meal production. In addition, Kitchens for Good partnered with Market Box SD to provide K-12 students learning remotely with weekly home delivered food boxes filled with ingredients, recipes, instructions, and meals. And in October, the nonprofit partnered with Grossmont College to provide up to 200 free fresh meals to college students in need each week.

“I came to Kitchens for Good to get a new start on my life, and to start a new career,” said one apprentice. “It means a lot to me to be preparing these meals because I used to be in their shoes. I was the person receiving the food before, and now I’m giving back.”

To date, Kitchens For Good has cooked and distributed more than 275,000 meals to community members in need, from senior citizens with limited mobility to under-resourced families simply trying to provide for their loved ones.

Turning Thankfulness into Action

As these nonprofit organizations and so many others face revenue and operational challenges, they remain diligent in continuing to help communities inequitably impacted by the pandemic.

While we encourage you to participate in #GivingTuesday, we want to remind you, year-round, to give as much as you can as often as you can. It is imperative, now more than ever, that we show our love to nonprofit organizations that are working tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all in our region under the most unimaginable circumstances.

This holiday season, act on your thankfulness. Check out our list of nonprofit partners who were supported through the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund, or give to any organization near and dear to your heart that is responding to the greatest needs here in San Diego.