San Diego Women’s Foundation

OVERVIEW: This foundation supports San Diego-area nonprofits in health and human services, civil society, economic development and employment, environment, arts and culture, and education. Grants are awarded once per year.

IP TAKE: Grants support the broader San Diego region—and SDWF makes considerably larger grants than many other women’s foundations around the country.

PROFILE: The San Diego Women’s Foundation (SDWF) is based in San Diego, California, originating with a small group of volunteers who wanted to promote the participation of women in philanthropy. It seeks to “[educate] and [inspire] women to engage in collective philanthropy” and to act as “catalysts for change, investing in innovative solutions that benefit underserved communities in the San Diego region.” The foundation was established in 2000 and now has more than 215 members. Members under 40 must contribute $1,125 and members over 40 must contribute $2,250 per year for a minimum of five years to be part of the organization.

SDWF has made more than $3.2 million in grants to over 85 nonprofits, in amounts of $25,000 or larger. The funder prioritizes one funding priority each year, decided upon through community research and evaluation. In a recent grant cycle, SDWF supported behavioral health and access to behavioral health services in underserved local communities. Enrichment programs for K-12 children and GED students were the target demographics for grants. Another recent annual focus was unaccompanied homeless youth and young adults. Topics of funding interest rotate among health and human services, civil society, economic development and employment, environment, arts and culture, and education.

The foundation releases its new grant guidelines in the summer for the upcoming year, along with details on how to submit an LOI. SDWF also offers a grant seeker forum to address applicant questions. It requests full proposals and are typically due in December. Site visits take place in March, with final acceptance or rejection notifications in May, and a grants celebration event in June.

Only groups in the San Diego region are eligible to apply for SDWF grants, with a minimum grant award of $25,000. However, groups as far north as Fallbrook, as far south as Chula Vista, and as far west as Lakeside have received SDWF grants. Grantees include Just in Time for Foster Youth, Promises2Kids, the San Diego LGBT Community Center, Think Dignity, and Voices for Children. Annual reports are here.

Direct general questions to or (619) 235-2300. The address is 2508 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 200, San Diego, California 92106. View upcoming events and recent news on the funder’s website.


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