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What is Social Justice?

Last Updated: July 11, 2022

In the world of philanthropy, we hear the phrase social justice a lot.

But what exactly does it mean?

While you probably have a general idea of what social justice stands for, if you were put on the spot, would you be able to define it in a short soundbite?

Several organizations and institutions provide their own definitions for social justice. Here are a few:

Defining Social Justice

While formal definitions for social justice vary in wording, there are commonalities among them.

  1. Equal rights
  2. Equal opportunity
  3. Equal treatment

With these core values in mind, we can define the phrase as such: Social justice means equal rights and equitable opportunities for all.

Examples in San Diego Philanthropy

Using this definition, you can see how social justice relates directly to philanthropy in San Diego.

Many local nonprofit organizations build mission statements invested in social justice in their respective social impact areas, including the California Innocence Project for criminal justice, the Neighborhood House Association for underserved communities and Challenged Athletes Foundation for children and athletes with physical disabilities.

Investing in Racial & Social Justice

Aligning to the first pillar of our Strategic Plan to advance racial and social justice, at San Diego Foundation we develop programs, funds and partnerships that seek to eradicate systemic discrimination.

Co-founded in 2020 by the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Foundation, and led by an advisory council of San Diego leaders, the Black Community Investment Fund prioritizes and invests in community-led, innovative efforts that increase racial equity and generational wealth for Black San Diegans.

The fund focuses grantmaking on four key pillars impacting economic prosperity among Black San Diegans:

After just one year, the fund has resulted in $3.1 million raised and leveraged and $3 million granted and committed to support Black San Diegans.

Stemming from the Black Community Investment Fund is the San Diego Black Homebuyers Program.

Launched in partnership with LISC San Diego and the Urban League, the Black Homebuyers Program – the first of its kind in California – provides up to $70,000 in grants to qualifying prospective Black homebuyers as well as financial literacy education.

Our goal is to improve the racial wealth gap by investing in generational wealth-building opportunities through Black homeownership.

To date, 35 homebuyers have received assistance from the program that is administered by the Urban League of San Diego County and LISC San Diego.

Additionally, we are working with local partners to increase the availability of affordable housing for local low- and middle-income families. Among other projects, these efforts include two partnerships with the County of San Diego: Housing Impact Fund and Bridgedeck Affordable Housing Project.

By advancing racial and social justice, we’re working to accelerate access to economic opportunity and remove barriers that have historically stood in the path of inclusion, making San Diego County a better, stronger and more equitable region.

Learn more about these programs and initiatives, and consider a donation to our Racial & Social Justice Fund to support these efforts.

Explore our Racial & Social Justice Work

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