Girard Foundation

OVERVIEW: This private family funder is focused on K-12 education in San Diego County, California. Major funding interests are charter schools and career readiness.

FUNDING AREAS: K-12 education, charter schools, career and college readiness, school finance, educational leadership

IP TAKE: This funder really wants to talk and meet with you about your local education improvement idea before receiving forms and letters. Charter schools tend to do well with Girard.

PROFILE: The Girard Foundation, established in 1986, is a private family foundation based in La Jolla, California. It is solely focused on San Diego County, California, on the topic of education.

Girard’s mission is to foster systemic change and innovation in K-12 education in San Diego County. It supports programs and projects with new methods to prepare students, improve the ways that schools operate, produce data that leads to change, and that use transferable and scalable concepts. Funds go to program development, capacity-building support, startup costs, professional forums, research, and informing the public. However, general operating support is rarely provided, and capital campaigns are not funded.

Girard awards grants to nonprofits, charter school organizations, school districts, and universities. At the time this profile was written, the two foundation priorities were career training and readiness, and innovative school models to create quality schools. Recent support has gone to the California Charter Schools Association, Parent Institute for Quality Education, Promises2Kids, the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, Oceanside High School, and Voice of San Diego. Additional grant recipients can be viewed by year on the funder's website. Over the years, the foundation has served as an initiator or collaborative partner on major projects involving educational leadership, school finance, charter schools, and college and career preparedness.

To apply for a Girard grant, the first step is to contact the foundation to discuss your idea. If deemed a good fit, the staff will meet with you for further discussion, provide instruction on submitting a formal proposal, and set up a site visit. There is no standard format used for grant proposals, but the basic information you’ll need to include is posted on their website.

General questions can be directed to or (858) 551-0881. Sarah Setiawan is the foundation’s director and your best contact. The address is 2223 Avenida de la Playa, Suite 203, La Jolla, California 92037.


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