For Immediate Release

$1 Million raised overall to strengthen, diversify regional economy

October 6, 2021 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation announced today that it awarded a $500,000 grant to the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce to start the Urban Business Resource Center. In total, $1 million has been raised to support the center and economic equity for Black entrepreneurs in San Diego.

“Even before the pandemic, Black-owned businesses experienced disproportionate denials from financial institutions and access to resources and tools to build sustainable businesses,” said Donna DeBerry, President and CEO of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce. “We collected data and insights from local Black entrepreneurs regarding their needs to startup, reopen, rebuild and thrive. The results of this data provided the Chamber an opportunity to create a model innovative program called the Urban Business Resource Center, dedicated to develop, support, sustain and scale businesses at all different levels.”

The Urban Business Resource Center will provide a collaborative hub for Black-owned businesses and Black entrepreneurs through an extensive support network, educational workshops and other resources. The center will also host regular office hours and other activities that will increase Black entrepreneurs’ access to tools to grow their businesses, from mentorship to access to capital.

“The pandemic has had inequitable outcomes for many, including the Black community in San Diego,” said Pamela Gray Payton, Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer for The San Diego Foundation. “By supporting the Center, we will foster equity of opportunity by increasing access to resources, so San Diego Black business owners and Black families build generational wealth and transform their futures.”

The announcement comes on the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Black Community Investment Fund at The San Diego Foundation, which provided the majority of the funding for the grant. The fund prioritizes and invests in community-led, innovative efforts that increase racial equity and generational wealth for Black San Diegans.

The Foundation grant required the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce to raise an additional $500,000 for the initiative. Donors included Bank of America and San Diego Gas & Electric, among others.

The matching grant addresses an important pillar of the BCIF, specifically entrepreneurship. Other pillars include: education, employment and housing.

BCIF One-Year Anniversary

In support of the housing pillar, the BQuest Foundation donated $160,000 to the BCIF for the Black Homebuyers Program that was launched in August with Union Bank, LISC San Diego and the Urban League of San Diego County. Through the donation, The San Diego Foundation will be able to fund another four first-time homebuyers, creating a total of 35 families that can be assisted this fiscal year with $40,000 grants.

Additionally, the first two homeowners funded through the Black Homebuyers Program closed escrow Oct. 5. Several additional prospective homebuyers are in the pipeline for the program managed by the Urban League of San Diego County’s housing assistance team.

Earlier this year, the BCIF awarded $500,000 in grants to Neighborhood House Association and San Diego Workforce Partnership for education and career training programs. The grants included:

  • $100,000 to expand The Neighborhood House Association Youth Fellowship Internship Program and provide 80 – 100 Black high school and college students with high-quality, career-rich paid internships.
  • Two $100,000 grants, one each from The San Diego Foundation and Bank of America, to support the San Diego Workforce Partnership TechHire program to train Black San Diegans for information, communications and technology jobs with paid work experience, subsidized training and job placement.
  • Two $100,000 grants, one each from The San Diego Foundation and Bank of America, to support the San Diego Workforce Partnership Construction Career Jumpstart program for San Diegans interested in energy, construction and utilities.

The Black Community Investment Fund was co-founded by The San Diego Foundation and the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce and seeded with a $1 million from The San Diego Foundation and $250,000 from San Diego Gas & Electric.

To learn more about the Black Community Investment Fund or to make a donation, visit