Early Childhood Initiative

The goal of The San Diego Foundation Early Childhood Initiative is to increase access to affordable, quality early care for children in San Diego, strengthening families and supporting a competitive regional workforce.

In the past year, The San Diego Foundation has granted more than $5 million through its Early Childhood Initiative and COVID-19 Community Response Fund to uplift children, families and childcare providers.

This includes efforts to strengthen the regional ecosystem, increase cross-sector collaboration, and promote systems-level change through strategic and collective impact.

Learn About 2021 Responsive Grantees

Learn About 2020 Resilience Grantees

Learn About 2020 Responsive Grantees

Who does this initiative help?

Early childhood care and education is essential to the health, development and future success of San Diego children and the regional economy. Children who are provided with early education opportunities do better in school as they grow older and are more likely to attend college and be prepared for careers in the workforce.

However, more than 38 percent of San Diego children ages 3-5 are not enrolled in preschool or kindergarten and 9,600 children are on a waitlist for subsidized care. Additionally, according to a Harvard University study, access to care and coordination of services in San Diego remain a challenge, and the cost of child care is a major barrier for local families.

Increased early childhood education opportunities for San Diego youth, as well as systems-level change, improve quality of life throughout the region and lead to a stronger economy and more vibrant communities.

The Early Childhood Initiative was launched thanks to a $13.8 million gift from the Guy C. Clum Fund at The San Diego Foundation and builds upon a regional vision that supports both immediate impact initiatives and systems-level change in early education.

Join us in expanding equity and opportunity in San Diego by giving local children and families greater access to quality, affordable early childhood education and care throughout the San Diego region.

Support Early Childhood Education & Development


In order to better inform regional policies and programs, we partnered with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Workforce Partnership to create two reports that build regional understanding and awareness, by strengthening local data and research on early childhood education to better identify challenges and opportunities in San Diego:

Childcare + Workforce Report Icon

Workforce + Childcare
San Diego Workforce Partnership and The San Diego Foundation report

Supporting Families Report Icon

Supporting Working Families
San Diego Regional Chamber Foundation report

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