March 28, 2024 – San Diego, CA – San Diego Foundation (SDF) announced today it has awarded $250,000 to 10 local nonprofits that support parents of young children in an effort to bolster birth equity in the region.

“Recent data from the San Diego Economic Equity Report shows that Black babies are twice as likely to be born at a low birth weight compared to White babies, which has lifelong health consequences,” said Pamela Gray Payton, Vice President, Chief Impact & Partnerships Officer at SDF. “Our partners throughout the region are working with expecting mothers and their babies to address this and similar disparities in local Black and Native American communities.”

According to the County of San Diego Regional Equity Indicators Report, low birth weight is defined as birth weights below 5 pounds, 8 ounces. Additionally, low birth weight is a leading cause of infant mortality in the United States and is inequitably distributed across race/ethnicity groups in the region and across the country. According to the California Department of Public Health, low birth weight can result from either preterm birth or from fetal growth restriction due to poor nutrition, lack of prenatal care, and/or stress, among other factors.

To address the disparity in the region, SDF awarded second-year $25,000 grants to organizations that serve historically under-resourced communities and/or low-to-moderate-income families, including:

  • Foundation for Women Warriors to support women veterans and their young children with equitable access to early education and care, as well as services that aim to achieve birth equity and improve maternal and child mental/behavioral health.
  • Global Communities to provide free prenatal and childbirth education, postpartum and breastfeeding support with a focus on Black and immigrant parents throughout San Diego County through its Healthy Start program.
  • Home Start‘s First 5 First Steps program to provide underserved parents with children 3 years of age or younger with crucial home-based services, including evidence-based therapy to child survivors of abuse and other trauma.
  • Horn of Africa to provide immigrant children and parents with culturally tailored prenatal care, child development instruction, and access to healthcare and childcare.
  • Indian Health Council Inc. and its “My Two Aunties” Tribal Family Services (TFS) program to support young children 0-5 and their families, with a focus on providing breastfeeding support to young mothers to decrease health disparities.
  • Miracle Babies to provide group and individual therapy, support, and treatment to perinatal mothers experiencing or at risk of having a Maternal Mental Health (MMH) Disorder.
  • Neighborhood House Association to serve pregnant and postpartum Black women 16 years of age and older who are pregnant or 6 months postpartum at the time of enrollment with a goal of improving infant and maternal health and decreasing health and social inequities.
  • Somali Family Service of San Diego SHIFA Pediatric Initiative to promote health and birth equity by providing services targeting early childhood education, prenatal and postpartum care, parenting education to foster skills for healthy child development, and service navigation.
  • Southern Indian Health Council to educate service providers in evidence-based therapeutic modalities recognized by the County of San Diego Child Welfare Services that can be used with parents and young children to increase culturally relevant education and resources to new parents/caregivers.
  • United Women of East Africa Triple P Refugee Parenting Groups program to focus on supporting young children ages 0 – 5 and their families, and aims to provide equitable access to quality, affordable early education and care.

Each of these organizations is a multi-year grant recipient, with these grants representing the second year of funding. In the year following their initial grant awards, these 10 nonprofits served more than 3,000 local parents and children by providing prenatal education and care to prevent low birth weight and increase birth equity, and childcare stipends, critical supplies, culturally appropriate resources, and access to mental health and behavioral services to reduce disparities for maternal and infant health. Additionally, first-year grant recipients expanded their capacity to serve more local families, reported significant improvements in parent-child relationships due to their programming, and inspired other local foundations to support their work.

These grants were made in response to recent government data about the negative effects of the pandemic on both mothers and infants across the country, including widening disparities for Black and Native American mothers and babies. These outcomes reflect data both at the national level, including the 2022 White House “Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis,” and local data reported by the County of San Diego Black Infant Health Program and San Diego’s Perinatal Equity Initiative.

The grant awards are connected to the Early Childhood Initiative at SDF. The Early Childhood Initiative builds upon a regional vision supporting immediate impact initiatives and systems-level change in early education and care. Since 2018, the Early Childhood Initiative at SDF has impacted the lives of more than 38,000 individuals by awarding more than $9.3 million to uplift children, families and childcare providers by providing over 135 grants to 50-plus community-based organizations in San Diego County.

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. San Diego Foundation is dedicated to helping San Diego County’s nearly 700,000 residents under the age of 18 and 200,000 under the age of 5 grow, learn and thrive. For more than 48 years, SDF and its donors have granted $1.7 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at


Lorena Nava Ruggero,, 619-814-1365