David C. Copley Foundation

OVERVIEW: This private family funder supports the San Diego area in the fields of human services, military, youth development, medical research, arts and culture, education, and animal welfare.

IP TAKE: This foundation has gone through transitions in recent years but has rebuilt assets and is becoming a major grantmaker in the San Diego area again.

PROFILE: The David C. Copley Foundation is a private family foundation formerly known as the Helen K. and James S. Copley Foundation. It seeks to “carry on the Copley family’s legacy of giving by funding nonprofit organizations making a difference in the areas of human services, military and military veterans, youth development, medical and medical research, education, arts and culture and animal welfare, especially those programs and services improving the life or opportunities of the underserved in the San Diego area.” Dating back to 1953, the foundation was established from the success of the Copley Press: the family owned multiple newspapers in California, Ohio, and Illinois. David C. Copley, the son of Helen and James, was born and raised in San Diego. He died in a 2012 car accident in La Jolla after having a heart attack at the age of 60. After his death, the foundation became the sole beneficiary of his estate. Today, the foundation is controlled by independent directors that David appointed to carry on his tradition of philanthropy.

The foundation makes grants in human services, military and military veterans, youth development, medical and medical research, arts and culture, education, and animal welfare. Priority is given to groups active in underserved parts of the San Diego area. In a past year, the funder reported over $94 million in total net assets.

Although a majority of Copley grants stay in San Diego County, the directors occasionally consider requests for programs outside the county, if relevant to the foundation’s mission and the family legacy. Grants have supported the Boys and Girls Club of Oceanside, Sharp Healthcare in San Diego, and the VIP NeuroRehabilitation Center scholarship program. Other foundation grants have supported a San Diego Symphony recital, the San Diego Crew’s Copley Cup, and the Copley Directors’ Fund at the Old Globe Theatre.

The first step for grant seekers to apply for funding from Copley is to submit a preliminary grant proposal. There are no specific deadlines to submit these forms. From that point, however, a complete grant proposal is due by January 15 or July 15 of each year. It makes grants in the spring and fall seasons. Grants are for one year; find a list of the required documents for both the preliminary grant proposal and the complete grant proposal on their website.

Direct general questions and grant proposals to applications@copleyfoundation.org. The phone is (619) 269-8220, and the address is 2551 San Diego Avenue, Suite A-238, San Diego, California 92110.


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