August 9, 2022 – San Diego, CASan Diego Foundation today announced it awarded $150,000 to Teach For America San Diego (TFA), in support of Alumni Innovation, a pilot initiative to recruit and place 30 teachers of color throughout three to five school districts in San Diego County to boost the academic performance, sense of belonging and college aspirations for students of color.

A representation gap in who teaches and leads children can perpetuate systemic barriers to access and opportunity that disproportionately impact students of color. Teachers of color can positively guide students who identify with their teachers racially and culturally to pursue professional careers and diversify the workforce. According to research by Johns Hopkins University, Black students who had just one Black teacher by third grade were 13% more likely to enroll in college – and those who’d had two were 32% more likely.

“Children thrive when they see teachers that share the same race, experiences and cultural values as them,” said Michelle Jaramillo, Director of Education Initiatives at San Diego Foundation. “We need long-term funding to recruit teachers of color who represent our youth and provide guidance throughout students’ educational journeys.”

San Diego County serves half a million students across 42 districts. Almost 70% of students across the county identify as a person of color, while only 25% of teachers are of color. Nearly half of the 506,000 students in San Diego County identify as Latinx, but fewer than 20% of the educators do

The high number of students who identify as a person of color in comparison with the low number of teachers of color can affect the educational outcomes of children and representation bureaucracy within schools. Due to this reality, San Diego Foundation is investing in community-based organizations to work with teachers of color and local education agencies to develop practices to increase teacher diversity.

Teach For America San Diego will recruit teachers who are from San Diego or are looking to move to the region, where they can help affect the change that is needed in our school systems. Funding will support:

  • Hiring a Director of Alumni Recruitment who will lead the national recruitment of BIPOC teachers to San Diego, oversee hiring and placement events, help facilitate credentialing processes, act as a main point of contact for transitioning teachers and create a cohort experience to retain BIPOC educators once they begin working in the county.
  • Elaboration of a vision and strategic plan, and monitoring system for countywide BIPOC teacher recruitment.
  • A unique national data set of Teach for America teachers with ties to San Diego County.
  • Identification, recruitment and placement of an additional 30 BIPOC teachers in Annual Year 2023/2024, prioritizing teachers with personal connections and lived experience in San Diego County.
  • Partnerships with three to five priority school districts to analyze districtwide educational achievement data and metric setting to measure the success of BIPOC educators.
  • Development of collateral materials, outreach and hiring events.
  • Design and launch an educator fellowship for teacher-leaders that will attract and retain talent, as well as support our BIPOC educators through a two-year transitional period.

About Teach For America

Teach For America San Diego’s mission is to enlist, develop and mobilize leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity. The organization recruits a diverse corps of individuals who fight to transform the academic and life trajectories of low-income students, starting by teaching for two years in high-need communities. Alumni then go on to lead in every sector in education—as teachers, state public education chiefs, and district and school leaders—and take on inequity from outside education as well. Nearly 8 in 10 of their alumni are in education or working in low-income communities to advance the cause of educational excellence and equity. TFA San Diego is piloting a strategic pivot for the national organization in which they no longer recruit new teachers to the TFA corps. Instead, TFA is investing fully in the development of their alumni and experienced, equity-minded educators to influence systemic educational innovation and equity at scale.

About San Diego Foundation

San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region. Our strategic priorities include advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy to realize our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities. The Education Initiative supports K-12 and higher education programs to extend opportunity to San Diego students as they prepare for success in life and work. For more than 47 years, SDF and its donors have granted more than $1.3 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at


Lorena Nava Ruggero, San Diego Foundation,, 619-814-1365