San Diego County is commonly cited as one of the most generous communities in the nation. Research shows that nearly half of all San Diego households give, and in just the last fiscal year donors at The San Diego Foundation granted more than $52 million to nonprofits strengthening the community.

That charitable giving then translates into real, positive change within the region.

In addition, the San Diego region is home to more than 11,000 nonprofit organizations advancing education, the environment, health and human services and more.

For years, that perfect mix of widespread donor generosity and deep nonprofit impact has helped strengthen quality of life for those who call San Diego home.

The state of philanthropy in San Diego and the impact of our local organizations was recently a topic of discussion during an interview with Emily Young of The Nonprofit Institute at University of San Diego and our President and CEO Mark Stuart.

Community Trust

Trust remains strong in the philanthropy community.

According to The Nonprofit Institute State of Nonprofits and Philanthropy report, San Diegans collectively express high levels of confidence in nonprofits to act on the public’s behalf, provide high quality services, act ethically and spend money wisely.

The reason this is so critical is because individuals who express confidence in nonprofits are two times more likely to donate and three times more likely to volunteer, according to the same study.

From our local museums and recreation programs to health services and youth leadership programs, the nonprofit industry benefits us all. 

San Diego's nonprofits: 1,072 arts and cultural, 816 health, 501 youth, 573 environmental/outdoors, 2408 spiritual, 121 civil rights and advocacy.
Source: The Nonprofit Institute State of Nonprofits and Philanthropy 2019

Take for example the Science & Technology Program at The San Diego Foundation. Aimed at strengthening the innovation economy by expanding the pipeline of young adults underrepresented in STEM to college and career opportunities, the program has already helped hundreds of local students on their pathway to becoming scientists, engineers and innovators.

Thanks to the Science & Technology Program and the many nonprofit partners involved, more and more San Diegans are entering the workforce with the skills and tools required to discover new cures for diseases or develop innovative technology that will benefit our region and the world forever.

The philanthropy sector is full of countless stories of families, youth and communities that are stronger thanks to the generosity of local donors and the important work of San Diego’s nonprofit organizations.

Learn more about local giving