Social Equity Collaborative Fund

Social Equity Collaborative Fund

The Social Equity Collaborative Fund (SECF) is a pooled grantmaking fund facilitated by San Diego Grantmakers that supports collaborative grassroots efforts to improve the economic, social, and physical well being of San Diego County residents. Grants from the Fund are intended to support organizations and projects that increase the connectivity of equity work in San Diego County, such as access to education, public benefits, and civic leadership opportunities; career development; criminal justice reform; workplace rights; and adequate infrastructure, transportation, and housing options.

SECF was established through a $1,050,000 grant from the Satterberg Foundation as a project of the Social Equity Funders (SEF) collaboration. Information about past and future grants from this fund is available on the Social Equity Funders page. This pooled fund and funder collaboration are both facilitated by San Diego Grantmakers, though grant award decisions are made by an independent SECF Steering Committee comprised of SEF members and subject matter experts, and which is organized to be routinely evaluated to ensure appropriate representation of grantmaking experience and equity perspectives.

Social Equity Collaborative Fund Key Values

Grant award decisions are made by an independent steering committee comprised of SEF members and subject matter experts, and which is organized to be routinely evaluated to ensure appropriate representation of grantmaking experience and equity perspectives. In this grant cycle, the steering committee anticipates distributing up to $700,000 in multi-year, general operating support grants that align with these key values:

  • Racial justice and economic justice
  • Resident leadership through community power-building
  • Collaboration, trust-building, shared learning, and cross-cultural healing and understanding by all stakeholders
  • Innovation in methods and strategies
  • A productive learning process may include failure and risk-taking
  • Honesty, openness, and trust among partners
  • Accountability not just to a grant report, but to partners and the community served
  • Collaboration that reflects an awareness of interconnectedness in a broader movement
  • A commitment to structural and systemic change

Through its grantmaking, the Social Equity Collaborative Fund seeks to:

1. Support grassroots organizations led by people of color and engaged in “bottom-up strategies” developed and implemented by the people directly affected by climate injustice

2. Encourage authentic collaboration and build the community’s overall capacity for collaboration, understanding that “collaboration” may appear differently in various settings

3. Provide adequate resources for effective collaboration, recognizing both the amount of time needed to engage in authentic collaboration and the resources needed to do so

4. Create the conditions that will nurture collaboration that reflects an awareness of interconnectedness to a broader, local racial and climate justice movement in San Diego County

5. Commit to a funding and grant process that respects individuals’ and organizations’ time and resources and eases rather than increases the burden they bear to serve the community

6. Dismantle structural racism in the region

Jim Bliesner

Center for Urban Economics and Design

Paul (Khalid) Alexander

San Diego City College

Steven Eldred

Chair of Social Equity Collaborative Fund

Kyra Greene

Center on Policy Initiatives

Jennifer James

Harder + Company

Michelle Jaramillo

Artesana Consulting

Jesse Mills

University of San Diego

Arcela Nuñez-Alvarez

National Latino Research Center

Total Funded: $821,650

Advancing Healthy Neighborhoods will build the agency and voice of refugee and immigrant families as equal participants in the civic, environmental and economic life in the City of El Cajon and San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood to improve social, racial and environmental justice.

  • Partners: Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans | Climate Action Campaign | Mid-City CAN
  • Funded: $135,000

Asian Solidarity Collective activates Asian American social justice consciousness, identifies intersectional affiliations, condemns anti-Blackness, and builds Asian solidarity with Black folks and other communities of color.

  • Partners: Asian Solidarity Collective | Pillars of the Community | Kuya Ate Mentorship Program | National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum-SD
  • Funded: $152,250

Semillas de Libertad supports formerly incarcerated individuals in San Diego with a focus on underserved North County through a holistic and intensive educational curriculum, which integrates culturally relevant education and legal approaches with the aim of increasing students’ wellness and reentry success.

  • Partners: Homie UP | National Latino Research Center CSUSM | Pillars of the Community | Amity Foundation Vista Ranch | Universidad Popular | CSUSM Foundation
  • Funded: $170,000

Southeastern San Diego Food Equity Project transforms the political and economic environment using neighborhood-based agricultural cooperatives as strategies of resistance to food insecurity through community/civic engagement and building alternative food ecosystems.

  • Partners: Project New Village | SD Food System Alliance | SDSU Urban Studies | Diamond Business Association | Urban West Development Consultants | Kitchens for Good | San Diego Continuing Education Woodbury University School of Architecture
  • Funded: $130,000

The CommUnity Spot Collaborative will be a home base or community center for residents and leaders from—and working within—the Southeast region to congregate and build a sense of community; offer mentoring/educational support; and support local entrepreneurship.

  • Partners: Pillars of the Community | Reclaiming the Community | Justice4SD33 | Community Based Block Program | National Latino Research Center CSUSM | Community Democracy Workshop | Umoja Club (City College)
  • Funded: $104,400

United for Justice will develop self-sufficiency for United Dispatch as a non-profit, minority-led enterprise that empowers low-income, immigrant taxi drivers to earn livable incomes and get fair treatment in their work and nurture a more powerful, collaborative voice in our immigrant communities of color for social justice and against racism.

  • Partners: United Taxi Workers of San Diego| Labor's Alliance | Employee Rights Center | Somali Bantu Association| ACLU San Diego
  • Funded: $130,000

2016 Grantee Projects

Engage San Diego - Engage San Diego envisions collective power to win social, economic, and health justice through the integration of voter engagement and organizing to build a culture of voting, policy education, community leadership development, strategic research and experiments, and coordinated communications. The collaborative’s 12 partner organizations work together to build a nonpartisan voter mobilization to turn out disenfranchised voters for the issues affecting its constituents and members - including health, environmental health, land use, transportation equity, and social justice.

  • Partners: ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties | Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment | Alliance San Diego | Center on Policy Initiatives | Environmental Health Coalition | San Diego LGBT Community Center
  • Website:

Partners for Progress - Partners for Progress (P4P) is a collaborative of social equity advocacy and social service organizations that improves the lives of San Diegans through narrative change (reframing social policy issues); system change (making San Diego County government more transparent and accountable to residents); and leadership development. P4P convenes the Multi-Sector Alliance to bring together social equity advocacy organizations with nontraditional stakeholders who might not otherwise be associated with social equity causes to achieve changes at the County level.

  • Partners: Clean Slate Clinic | Engage San Diego San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council | SEIU United Service Workers West
  • Website:

San Diego Youth Development Office - San Diego Youth Development Office (YDO) supports positive youth development strategies that improve outcomes for more than 40,000 Opportunity Youth in the county by connecting, convening, and engaging stakeholders and their resources to advance the health and economic wellbeing of San Diego’s youth. YDO’s San Diego Youth Opportunity Pathways Initiative helps reconnect low and moderate income youth with education, training and employment.


2020 Black-led Racial Justice Grants 

SECF is pleased to provide $28,000 in funding to the following Black-led grassroots organizations who are leading racial justice efforts in their communities: 


2020 Climate Justice Grants 

The deadline for this program has passed. Stay tuned for award announcements.

In this grant cycle, the SECF anticipates making 2-4 grants totaling approximately $300,000. Grant decisions will be made by March 2020.

Funding will be a two-year grant to support authentic collaboration that advances racial and climate justice in San Diego County. All proposals must address BOTH racial and climate justice. Funds will be granted as “general support” defined as “funds to support grantee’s mission rather than specific projects or programs.” This funding is intended for grantees to use as they see fit to reach their goals—whether for salaries and overhead, investments in technology, or to fund a marketing campaign or some other identified need.

Applicants are encouraged to describe the full cost of their effort and request the amount needed to be effective in achieving these goals.

The application design, grant decisions, and relationships with grantees are guided by a desire to advance the following key values:

  • Racial and climate justice
  • Resident leadership through community power-building
  • Collaboration, trust-building, shared learning, and cross-cultural healing
  • Honesty, openness, and trust among partners
  • A productive learning process may include failure and experimentation
  • Authentic connection with accountability back to the community
  • A commitment to structural and systemic change


Questions & Answers
General questions submitted during a workshop or via phone/email will be shared here so that all applicants have access to the same information.

Are San Diego Grantmakers and The San Diego Foundation still fundraising to grow the available grantmaking pool?
Yes, both are still fundraising to increase the overall grantmaking amount. At minimum, $300,000 in grants will be distributed.

How many times will grantees be required to meet, and what will the meetings look like?
Grantees will be asked to attend up to two gatherings. These will either be half- or full-day events with the agenda co-created by grantees.

Do applicants need to have partnerships and their roles solidified by the time proposals are due?
No. We understand that partnerships take time to form, and ask that applicants describe any collaborative partnerships that will help make this project possible to the best of their ability.  

Is there a grant funding range, or limit to how much funding applicants should ask for through this grant?
No limit, give the full project budget. While it is possible that all grant funds would be provided to one applicant, it is unlikely, so that might help provide some guidance.

Will the review committee prioritize proposals that already have funding secured, or projects that have yet to secure substantial funding?
No, the review committee will evaluate the project’s budget based on the overall project goals. It is the intention of the steering committee to encourage those who might not generally be aware of, able to, or interested in grant funding to submit their proposals.

How long should the application be?
There are no page or word limits for the application. Applicants are encouraged to provide as much content as necessary. For guidance, the past year’s SECF applications were on average 5 to 8 pages in length.

Do applicants need to submit a full budget with their proposal?
No, applicants only need to state the amount requested, not a complete budget. San Diego Grantmakers will reach out to applicants if there are any questions regarding a project’s budget.

What does the review process look like?
The SECF Steering Committee will conduct a review process based on the priorities and values outlined in the RFP.  Grant decisions will be made by March 2020. If any questions come up regarding an individual project, San Diego Grantmakers staff will reach out to applicants directly.

How is the SECF Steering Committee defining social equity and climate justice?
Please refer to the SECF Climate Justice Vision linked below.

If we received funding from the Kresge Foundation for the climate justice work we are proposing, can we apply?
Yes. There will be no limitation on those who have received funding from Kresge also receiving funds through this grant process. As with any proposal, your request should be for work/expenses not already covered by other funders.

Will proposals from organizations in Tijuana be considered?
Yes; organizations and work in Tijuana, Imperial Valley and San Diego County are eligible.

Can we use funds for planning?
Yes; it is up to you how to use the funds if awarded.

How should we choose the lead organization who will apply?
This is entirely up to you. Some ways to think about it are: decide who will be the liaison to the funder, sign the contract, and ensure effective communication among partners. It should be an organization that has the trust of all the collaborating organizations since this will be the link to the funder.

Can the organization be based outside San Diego?
Yes, any organization is eligible to apply, but please take note of the priority for work that is designed and led by members of the affected community (i.e., local) and be sure to describe how the local community participates.