Greetings, all!

It was so wonderful to see so many of you at the Annual Grants Award Celebration Sept. 28 at the California Center for the Arts.  During the event, Escondido Community Foundation awarded $264,000 to 10 local nonprofits that will help engage our vulnerable youth.

Although the pandemic has waned and schools have reopened, we are concerned that life is not back to normal for our youth.  Some have become isolated and withdrawn. If they do not find a positive path, we worry these young people will be drawn into trouble or experience some form of mental illness.

A special thanks to Rosemary Burson, our site team leaders and the entire ECF Grant Committee for all of your incredible work this year!

ECF grantee

The 2023 grant recipients include:

  • $20,000 to A Step Beyond for its creative youth development programs, which prepare young people for success through academics, arts and more.
  • $20,000 to Art Hatch for its ArtHatch Teen Arts Program, which provides free support to youth, including art supplies, exhibition space and working studio space.
  • $30,000 to Community HousingWorks for building stronger futures for youth through its Escondido Affordable Housing program.
  • $30,000 to Escondido Education Compact for its Project Hero Mentoring Program, which uses one-on-one mentoring and evidence-based strategies to help troubled youth thrive.
  • $30,000 to National Conflict Resolution Center for the Restorative School Practices program that embeds restorative practices in school districts to build stronger relationships and create positive environments for students.
  • $20,000 to Outside the Lens for its after-school digital media arts and literacy program, Cameras in Communities, at San Pasqual Academy.
  • $30,000 to Peace Anger Love Inc. for creating opportunities for youth restorative justice through its Restorative Justice Diversion Program.
  • $35,000 to the Tariq Khamisa Foundation for fostering peace, safety and cooperation on school campuses through its Peace Educator Mentoring program.
  • $25,000 to TrueCare for evidence-based strategies and behavioral health resources through its Puzzling Minds program.
  • $25,000 to Vista Hill Foundation for expanding opportunities for Escondido youth with mental or behavioral health concerns.

Congratulations to our 2023 grantees!

ECF Grants Celebration

CONGRATULATIONS to Rosemary Burson, our Escondido Community Foundation Volunteer of the Year!  The North County Philanthropy Council will celebrate our communities’ volunteers of the year at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido on Nov. 3.

Become a Secret Santa!

Police officers in Escondido spread holiday cheer by giving $100 bills to deserving locals – part of a program made possible through a generous gift from an anonymous donor known simply as “Secret Santa.”

To make a donation to the Secret Santa program, mail a check to San Diego Foundation, Attn: Donor Services, 2508 Historic Decatur Rd., Ste. 200, San Diego, CA 92106 and include “ECF Secret Santa” on the memo line.

Tell Your Friends About ECF!

If you have friends you think might join us in making a difference in our beloved community, please share our ECF video.

Contact Trudy Armstrong at or 619-764-8602 to assist in the invitation to ECF membership.

Your commitment to preserving and protecting the future of our community through your donations to our Community Foundation is making Escondido a better place to live, work and play.

Please know how much your generosity is appreciated!

Jan Jones
Escondido Community Foundation Chair

Grantee spotlight: Alabaster Jar Project

Alabaster Jar Project

In 2022, with the support of the Escondido Community Foundation, we have been able to continue to provide programming through our Resource Center that has helped increase emotional intelligence, support, and has diminished depression and suicide in the lives of survivors of trafficking here in Escondido. We have served more than 100 survivors and their children with wrap-around resources and support through our Resource Center, roughly 20-40 more individuals than we initially had expected to serve.

“AJP has helped me become rooted and start to deal with my deepest issues. AJP has really just saved my life.” – Anonymous 

Volunteer Spotlight: Ron and Molly Smith

Ron and Molly Smith

Since moving to Escondido in 1975, Molly and Ron have been public servants. Combined, they have 68 years of service with the Escondido Union School District and many more years of civic endeavors.

Molly taught kindergarten, first, and second Grade after graduating from San Diego State University.  Her civic service includes supporting Christmas gift projects for students and families in need and serving as Vestry Clerk at Trinity Episcopal Church in Escondido for over 12 years.

Ron also attended SDSU, and earned both his B.A., M.A. and all educator service licenses there.  He was a teacher at Del Dios Middle School, an Assistant Principal at (then) Grant Middle School, Principal at Central School and Principal at Conway Elementary School. He retired in 2007 after serving as the Founding Principal of Bernardo Elementary School.

His volunteer work has involved hands-on projects and Advisory Board service with the Boys and Girls Club of Escondido, the Salvation Army, the Escondido Choral Arts Foundation, and the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity at SDSU.  He also participates in projects with Interfaith Community Services and Trinity Episcopal Church.  Currently, Ron is an active member of the Trinity Episcopal Church Vestry.

Ron joined the Rotary Club of Escondido in 1991 and has been an active member ever since.  His project and committee work includes Scholarships, Vocational Awards, Halloween Window Painting, the Escondido Rotary Foundation Board, Haven House, Wounded Warriors, and various school adoptions, including the San Pasqual Academy, and Rotaract.  Ron served the Rotary Club of Escondido as Executive Secretary for over 10 years, ending in June 2022.  And, after a one-year hiatus, he is again serving in that role.

Ron is proud to be the newest board member of ECF and looks forward to the work of helping to make Escondido a better place for all.