If there was a hall of fame here in San Diego to honor our most generous benefactors and philanthropists, there are names of some great people we would expect to see there: Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Conard Prebys, Audrey Geisel, Joe and Vi Jacobs, Denny Sanford, Ellen Browning Scripps, and Ernest Rady, to name a few.

Well, there is one name that deserves high praise and induction into that hall that very few people know. That is Guy Clum.

Guy lived his life in Bonita; made a fortune as a serial entrepreneur; and then, near the end of his life, decided to share a large measure of that treasure to make a real difference in San Diego.

He made a transformational gift to San Diego Foundation (SDF), asking us to see how we can better life for all San Diegans.

Guy also gave us one explicit directive: he wanted a large portion of his contribution to go for the betterment of working families and our youngest residents – those from 0 to 5 years of age. Guy knew that the opportunities, resources and programs made available to our youngest residents could transform their life trajectory and, at the same time, make a huge and indelible impact on the vitality of our region.

Guy Clum
Guy Clum (left) wanted a large portion of his legacy gift to support working families and young children age 0-5.

Supporting Families and Young Children

So, with that directive and his money, SDF worked to figure out the highest and best use of this gift. We quickly realized that there was no great body of knowledge, data and facts to guide our efforts.

So, SDF did what we have done since 1975 and brought together dozens of subject matter experts and stakeholders, including lead partners like the San Diego Workforce Partnership and San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, to conduct surveys and studies and gather facts and data to point us in the best direction possible. This new best direction is summed up in a report unveiled on Workforce + Child Care.

San Diego Foundation was and continues to be honored and grateful to be a partner, advocate, funder and educator in this effort. Especially as all of us at SDF deeply believe that everyone who makes their home in San Diego County, particularly our working families and their youngest children, has all of the opportunities and tools needed to thrive, prosper and feel like they belong here.

I’m sure that Guy Clum is looking down upon all of us and saying: “OK, you have the plan, now get running.”

To make a significant difference and to follow Guy’s directive, SDF launched multiple grant initiatives in 2020 to fund responsive projects and solicit innovative ideas to expand quality childcare experiences for the thousands of working families who could not afford it.

Early Childhood Initiative

Since 2018, the SDF Early Childhood Initiative has awarded $9 million to uplift children, families and childcare providers, helping 28,000 young children while supporting 1,500 parents and childcare providers. This level of impact would not have been possible without Guy’s transformational legacy gift and directive.

Educational Enrichment Systems, Inc. used grant funding from the Early Childhood Initiative to expand its Education Coordination and Community and Family Engagement programs, improve instructional quality, and expand families’ access to community resources at three new full-day centers in the South Bay. This allowed EES to provide care to over 200 additional low-income children.

“The impact of Guy Clum’s investment in EES is multi-generational,” shared Celine Krimston, EES President and CEO. “His legacy supports and empowers children, families and early educators and is a true investment in the future of San Diego County.”

For Guy Clum, we are so grateful for his vision and financial support. While we are far from the finish line, we are ready to run and win this race for our youngest residents – our region’s future.

Learn More about Legacy Funds