April 6, 2023 – San Diego, CA – San Diego Foundation announced today it has awarded $1,130,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations to increase the number of historically underrepresented, high-potential students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

“The future workforce continues to face systemic barriers resulting in lower degree completion rates and unequal access to high-paying jobs in our local innovation economy,” said Mark Stuart, SDF President & CEO. “By focusing on youth and young adults, we have the opportunity to strengthen the workforce of the near future.”

Due to the high number of compelling grant applications, in addition to $850,000 in funding from the Science & Technology Program, SDF identified an additional $280,000 to fund similar workforce programs for local high school and college students.

The 2023 Science & Technology Program grant recipients include:

  • California State University San Marcos Foundation (CSUSM) – $70,000 to engage underrepresented and first-generation college students in hands-on research, and professional and career development enrichment activities.
  • Groundwork San Diego – Chollas Creek – $70,000 to strengthen career pathways for low-income Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) high school students through climate action education and service-learning activities.
  • MiraCosta College Foundation – $70,000 to develop a work-based learning training program that seeks out and fosters untapped talent among a diverse pool of undergraduate biotechnology students.
  • San Diego State University Research Foundation – $70,000 to engage historically underrepresented, low-income and first-generation students with stipend-supported immersive summer research internships.
  • Scripps Research Institute – $70,000 to provide high school students interested in health sciences, math/statistics and computational solutions with projects and faculty mentorships in genomics, digital health, data science and biomedical research.
  • University of California San Diego Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment & Teaching Excellence (UCSD CREATE) – $70,000 to provide paid industry/research summer internships, workshops and training to community college students.
  • UCSD ENLACE – $70,000 to encourage the participation of high school students in sciences and engineering research conducted in Latin America and the United States.
  • UCSD PATHS – $70,000 to build a diverse cohort of future leaders to contribute their unique perspectives and strengths in solving scientific and technological challenges in STEM fields.
  • University of San Diego – $70,000 to connect high school and college students with hands-on internships that develop the skills needed by science and technology employers.
  • San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance – $60,000 to give underrepresented undergraduate/graduate San Diego students studying computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and related fields the opportunity to learn and work in the SDZWA Conservation Technology Lab.
  • Miramar College Foundation – $50,000 to provide subsidized academic internships to underrepresented and/or low-income young adult college students to gain hands-on work experience, lab skills and industry exposure.
  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies – $50,000 to host an 8-week internship in biological research labs for high school students to conduct their own research under the guidance and mentorship of Salk’s elite community of scientists.
  • Elementary Institute of Science – $35,000 to provide college preparation assistance to underserved BIPOC high school students interested in STEM majors and careers.
  • San Diego Squared – $25,000 to connect students from underrepresented backgrounds with leading STEM companies through paid internships, hands-on laboratory training, mentorship and work-readiness skills preparation.

Additional organizations that received grants from SDF include:

  • Interfaith Community Services – $40,000 to help low-income high school seniors who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school with exploring diverse career paths in medical science, green energy, environmental science, animal science and technology.
  • Promises 2 Kids – $40,000 to connect former foster youth with STEM-related businesses and institutions and provide them hands-on experience.
  • San Diego Futures Foundation – $40,000 to build a pathway for entry-level IT support careers for Hoover High School students.
  • SBCS (formerly South Bay Community Services) – $40,000 to partner with GRID Alternatives San Diego to establish a pipeline for low-income, minority and system-involved youth to gain soft skills, on-the-job training, work experience and industry connections through paid internships in the local solar industry.
  • Black Tech Link – $35,000 to support collegiate pre-med and public health majors interested in using research to further reduce health disparities for underserved low-income communities.
  • First Gen Scholars – $30,000 to spark generational wealth through career preparation, workshops and training in partnership with Tech San Diego’s Jacobs Talent Initiative.
  • Girls Rising – $22,500 to provide young women who have aged out of the Girls Rising Mentor Program with continued support and resources to help them pursue secondary education, secure employment and find stable housing.
  • Greater Than Tech – $22,500 to provide technical opportunities for underserved college and high school students in programs that teach underserved middle and high school students about the intersection of robotics and business.
  • Coastal Defenders – $10,000 to provide lab training opportunities, academic support, mentoring, professional development, college preparation and coastal access for indigenous students through Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in partnership with the UCSD TIDES project.

As the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and the Brookings Institution outlined in “Future of Growth in San Diego: The Economic Case for Inclusion and Building San Diego’s Talent Pipeline,” San Diego has become an innovation powerhouse. Despite this great potential, not all San Diegans benefit from the advances of the innovation economy. The San Diego region needs more highly skilled workers to maintain its competitive edge.

Since 1999, the Science & Technology Program has granted more than $10.3 million to support scientists and engineers in San Diego. The Science & Technology Program is funded in part by the Blasker-Rose-Miah Endowment Fund at San Diego Foundation and The Reuben H. Fleet Foundation. For more information about the SDF Science & Technology Program, visit SDFoundation.org/STEM.

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 Workforce Development Initiative champions building a resilient region that supports the prosperity of employees, businesses and local communities. For more than 47 years, SDF and its donors have granted more than $1.4 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at SDFoundation.org.


Lorena Nava Ruggero, San Diego Foundation, lruggero@sdfoundation.org, 619-814-1365
Link: San Diego Foundation b-roll