Women’s Foundation announces new focus area

Posted: September 28th, 2012 | Communities, From the Cover, Hillcrest, News, Top Story | No Comments

2013 grant kick-off event addresses self-sufficiency in health and human services

(l to r) Byrne Egar, Nancy Spector, Susie Zlotnik and Jacqueline Bell (Courtesy Beck Ellman Heald)

By Anthony King | SDUN Editor

The San Diego Women’s Foundation (SDWF) announced “Health and Human Services” as the focus area for their 2013-2014 grant-making year at a kick-of reception on Sept. 19. Held from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Roosevelt Middle School in Uptown, the reception also featured presentations and a panel discussion on self-sufficiency, a key component to the philanthropic organization’s new focus area.

Discussion included facts and stories on the issue of self-sufficiency, as well as why a “living wage” is essential to creating thriving communities.

“Many individuals and families struggle to be self-sustaining in San Diego County. They often work many hours at low-wage jobs, without achieving a level of self-sustainability,” SDWF President Rita Solberg said in a press release.

“The focus of this year’s granting process is on collaborative programs that reduce known barriers to individuals and families becoming self-sustaining and having a sense of control over their lives,” she said.

The event was open to those interested in the issue of self-sustainability, as well as the foundation. The SDWF is a non-profit, philanthropic organization providing grant money to various nonprofits in six different focus areas: health and human services, civil society, economic and employment development, education, arts and culture, and the environment.

Approximately 60 people attended the Sept. 19 launch.

“We strongly believe that healthy people build strong communities, which is why we decided to focus our 2013 grant making on programs that will help those in need grow healthier, more stable lives,” Solberg said.

Panelists at the event included Shaina Gross, vice president of Impact Strategies and Mobilization at United Way of San Diego County; Mary McDonald, assistant professor at the school of leadership and education sciences, University of San Diego; and Clare Crawford, executive director of the Center on Policy Initiatives.

The 2013 health and human services grant requests must have been from a coalition of groups working toward a common goal for their target population: individuals and families living above the Federal Poverty Level but not meeting the self-sufficiency standard for San Diego County.

“Through our research, SDWF understands that there are many priority needs in our community,” Solberg said. “By focusing our grant funds on collaborative programs that promote self-sufficiency, we believe that we have the greatest opportunity to enable significant impact.”

Letters of inquiry for the 2013 grants were due Sept. 5, with proposals and site visits occurring now until the award letters are mailed May 9, 2013. The chosen programs will begin to be funded July 1, 2013. Grant awards begin at $25,000.

As of June 1, the organization had awarded more than $2.3 million to 63 community groups. Additionally, the organization has built a $2.4 million endowment since its foundation in 2000.

“What we have achieved as a group would have been unthinkable to do alone,” Solberg said. “We have no doubt that our model of pooled philanthropy will create true results in this critical area.”

The organization’s board consists of 17 women whose focus is “pooling resources” to provide grants. The more than 200 members commit to an annual contribution of $2,000 for a minimum of five years. Each member is able to vote on winning organizations for their grants.

For more information visit or call 619-235-2300.

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