As we bid farewell to another remarkable year, it’s time to reflect on the extraordinary moments that defined 2023 at San Diego Foundation (SDF). These moments are only possible because of the incredible support of donors, staff, board members, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and volunteers who work diligently to advance our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities.

Revisit our top 10 moments of 2023 below. Also, if you would like to make a year-end contribution to SDF, there are three ways to give this month.

Top 10 Moments

1. Jay Kahn’s Transformative $100M Gift.

In February, SDF received a historic, transformative estate gift from local entrepreneur Jay Kahn. The $100 million unrestricted gift is the largest of its kind to a San Diego nonprofit and the third-largest unrestricted gift to a U.S. community foundation. Thanks to Kahn’s gift, SDF was able to make 10 unrestricted $150,000 grants to local music education nonprofits, start the Jay Kahn Endowment Fund, and support housing and Strategic Fund initiatives.

2. $22M to Invest in San Diego’s Historic Barrios.

In mid-December, SDF and Environmental Health Coalition announced that they were awarded $22 million by the California Strategic Growth Council for their Transformative Climate Communities application to help fund climate-resilient projects that will preserve, protect and strengthen San Diego’s Historic Barrios.

Chicano Park
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3. $130M+ in Grantmaking.

In October, SDF announced a near-record $131.1 million in grants to mostly San Diego-based nonprofits for the 2023 fiscal year (July 2022 through June 2023). Last year’s grantmaking, which includes grants from donor-advised funds and SDF discretionary funds, included a record $45 million to health and human services causes to address basic needs like housing and food. This year, SDF celebrated this milestone with its first in-person Annual Meeting since the pandemic.

4. Launching the First-Ever San Diego Fundraising Conference.

In September, SDF hosted the first-ever San Diego Fundraising Conference to “raise the tide” of fundraising for local nonprofits. The professional development opportunity brought national experts and nonprofit fundraising professionals together for a day of learning and camaraderie.

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5. Improving Housing Accessibility.

Launched in 2023 as a visionary initiative of SDF, the San Diego Housing Fund is an investment fund to improve housing accessibility that is taking steps to end San Diego’s housing crisis. The fund will transform underutilized land and leverage philanthropic capital to increase speed to market and house San Diegans faster. In 2023, a leadership team was recruited, $20 million was raised and the fund invested in and broke ground on the Kettner Crossing project in Little Italy in partnership with the County of San Diego.

San Diego Housing Fund
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6. Record-Breaking Scholarships.

It was another year of record-breaking scholarships, thanks to the Community Scholarship Program. In 2023, we awarded more than $4 million in scholarships to 1,000-plus deserving local college students. Most student scholars come from low-income families or are the first in their families to go to college. To them, a scholarship is about more than just money – it’s about being given a chance to succeed.

7. Black InGenius Initiative Welcomes First Cohort.

In partnership with the University of San Diego, the Black InGenius Initiative welcomed its inaugural cohort of rising sixth graders this summer. Through workshops, team-building activities and exposure to college and careers, the program sets up students for success in life and college.

Black InGenius Initiative First Cohort

8. Publishing the San Diego Economic Equity Report.

Commissioned by SDF and developed in partnership with the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center, the San Diego Economic Equity Report analyzed data from a variety of national and regional sources to zero in on the region’s greatest disparities, from housing and education to health care and life expectancy. The report demonstrates the need in San Diego County and will help attract state and national funding to the region.

Read the Report

9. $1M in Grants to Strengthen the Cali-Baja Coastline.

Recently celebrating its one-year anniversary, the Binational Resilience Initiative, a partnership of SDF and the International Community Foundation, awarded more than $1 million in grants to U.S.- and Mexico-based nonprofits to preserve, study and strengthen the resiliency of the Cali-Baja coastline, which spans from Oceanside in San Diego County to Ensenada in Baja California. Each project demonstrates effective cross-border collaboration and contributes to coastal preservation or resilience in two or more of the following areas: climate relevance, economic prosperity, knowledge sharing, organizational resilience and/or research.

Cali Baja Coast

10. Continuing a Culture of Excellence.

With recognition as a Top Workplace in San Diego for the fourth year in a row, it’s evident that SDF embraces a culture of excellence. From SDF leaders receiving meaningful accolades to staff participating in volunteer activities with the YMCA of San Diego County and Ronald McDonald House, it’s clear our team lives and breathes our mission to inspire enduring philanthropy and enable community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region.

Ronald McDonald House Volunteers

3 Ways to Give Before 2023 Ends

There are three ways to support our programs, initiatives and vision before 2023 ends:

  1. Contribute to your donor-advised fund (see Year-End Giving Guidelines for fund advisors).
  2. Double your impact by making an online donation to SDF by December 31. We’ll match your gift – dollar for dollar.
  3. Set up a recurring gift to grow your giving in 2024.

This work and these stories will continue to inspire and motivate us in 2024. We are forever grateful for your partnership and generosity.