June 26, 2023 – San Diego, CA – San Diego Foundation announced today it has awarded $650,000 in grants to local nonprofits to expand access to culturally responsive and trauma-informed mental and behavioral health resources for local youth, children and families.

“Thriving children and families reflect a healthy, resilient region,” said Mark Stuart, President & CEO of San Diego Foundation. “Through health equity programs like our Healthy Children & Families Initiative, we expand access to critical supportive services for historically under-served communities and improve the quality of life for children and families throughout our county.”

According to the 2023 California Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative report, “Youth at the Center: Calls-to-action for a reimagined behavioral health ecosystem from children, youth and families across California,” California has seen the second largest increase in depression and anxiety among youth in the nation, and 65% of California’s young people with depression go without mental health treatment due to lack of access to services.

Launched in fall 2021 in response to a coalition of the nation’s leading experts in pediatric health declaring a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health, the SDF Healthy Children & Families Initiative addresses gaps in access to critical services in the region.

Healthy Children & Families 2023 grantees include:

  • Alliant Educational Foundation – $40,000 to bolster mental health care access for underserved children and families by placing Ph.D. clinical psychology students in trusted local nonprofit agencies.
  • Casa de Amparo – $35,000 to support youth resiliency through intensive mental health services and social and independent living skills-building for foster youth, ages 12 – 18, experiencing behavioral issues.
  • Center for Community Solutions – $35,000 to provide trauma-informed, wrap-around support to families with children at domestic violence shelters.
  • Crisis House – $40,000 to support programming for children and families fleeing domestic violence including mental health screenings, mentorship, counseling, crisis intervention, case management and housing.
  • Interfaith Community Services – $35,000 to support mental health screening and treatment for children and families working to overcome homelessness at its new Family Shelter site in Escondido.
  • Just in Time for Foster Youth – $40,000 to support foster youth, ages 18 – 26, through a program developed by former foster youth and expand community-based services, including in-house therapy.
  • Logan Heights Community Development Corporation – $40,000 to expand mental and behavioral health services by hiring a licensed clinician to provide onsite counseling for youth who are at risk of entering or re-entering the juvenile justice system.
  • Mending Matters – $40,000 to fund a therapist to deliver free services and expand access to high-quality, school-based mental health care among underserved youth and families in the Mountain Empire region of San Diego County.
  • North County LGBTQ Resource Center – $40,000 to provide affordable, accessible, culturally expert, trauma-informed individual, family, couples and group therapy for LGBTQ+ children and their loved ones in North San Diego County.
  • Open Heart Leaders – $30,000 to expand access to culturally responsive, low-cost or free counseling services to underserved Black, indigenous and/or children of color, ages 5 and up, and their families.
  • Promises2Kids – $40,000 to expand trauma-informed therapeutic mental and behavioral health services for current and former foster youth.
  • San Diego American Indian Health Center – $40,000 to provide parenting courses and mental health support in addition to a child development screening effort that includes high-risk behaviors, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), social determinants of health and autism.
  • San Diego Rescue Mission – $30,000 to support trauma-informed programming for children and their families experiencing homelessness so they have access to the same opportunities and experiences that promote cognitive, intellectual, social and behavioral development as their housed peers.
  • San Diego Youth Services – $35,000 to support positive youth development and provide evidence-based mental health practices that identify the social and economic forces that limit the potential of youth.
  • transcenDANCE Youth Arts Project – $30,000 to increase access to holistic, art-based programming, including a social change curriculum, mental and behavioral health services, and mentorship for youth, ages 9 – 24, from under-resourced communities.
  • Union of Pan Asian Communities – $35,000 to decrease the waitlist for low-cost or free mental health services for children, youth and families in the community and aid in treating symptoms including depression, anxiety, trauma, and other mood and thought disorders.
  • United Women of East Africa – $35,000 to support trauma-informed, culturally sensitive outreach and individual and group education sessions to reduce stigma and increase access to equity-centered care for East African refugee children and families.
  • Urban Restoration Counseling Center – $30,000 to provide reunification services for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) families and work to heal intergenerational trauma through individual and family counseling.

Since its launch, the SDF Healthy Children & Families Initiative has invested more than $1.25 million in mental and behavioral health resources that have served more than 15,000 children and families throughout the San Diego region.

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 Healthy Children & Families Initiative advances community resilience through health equity and increases the quality of life for children and families through expanded access to supportive services. For more than 48 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