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Our Work

Strategic Plan

Our strategic plan organizes the work into four programs driven by Mr. Prebys’ instructions and giving during his lifetime: Visual and Performing Arts, Youth Success, Healthcare, and Medical Research. As of 2023, our approach will put a priority on co‐creating grants with partners in the community that align with our issue area goals. This will entail an ongoing grantmaking process rather than set grant cycles. We will use many different grantmaking tools as appropriate, including open applications, requests for proposals, invitation‐only processes, and community-led grantmaking. We commit to rolling out these different processes and sharing information about funding opportunities throughout the year. 


In addition, we will go beyond grantmaking to:

  • Design and support initiatives and collaborations;

  • Seek opportunities to use all our capital toward our mission;

  • Work with nonprofit partners to fill core capacity needs;

  • Use strategic messaging, convenings, and our leadership; 

  • Create relationships with other donors and opportunities to co-invest;

  • Take risks and use philanthropic dollars to test new ideas and promote innovation.


Community well-being is highly dependent on making sure the communities facing the most barriers have access to the resources, shared vision, and collaborative infrastructure they need to thrive. We will therefore provide capacity grants to organizations most proximate to communities. The Foundation will also seek to partner with conveners, leaders, and groups to support collective efforts across our issues and the cross-cutting areas of interest.

San Diego is blessed with many major living donors who can, and thankfully do, make major capital grants. We will still make the occasional capital grant, but the number and amount will be limited and smaller than those we announced during our first years.

For now, organizations interested in seeking a grant from the Foundation should consider our learning plan and how our efforts might align. In these early days, we will be creating opportunities for organizations to engage with our program staff and for our staff to engage with the community. Read our strategic plan frequently asked questions here.

Two individuals dance at the PASACAT PHILIPPINE PERFORMING ARTS COMPANY parol festival

As we launch our work in San Diego, we will continue to be in conversation with arts organizations across the county about how we can best support them so that great art is created by, and accessible to, the entire community. And we will focus our grantmaking on partners and efforts that align with three goals: 


Ensure great arts education, programming, and institutions are accessible and exciting to all communities and neighborhoods.


Support emerging and underrepresented artists to create and be celebrated for their art, and to live and thrive in San Diego


Strengthen and diversify public support (funding and audience engagement) for inclusive and innovative art and artists

Visual & Performing Arts

The visual and performing arts are critical to social cohesion, belonging, and economic opportunity in San Diego​.

 Our conversations with San Diego community members affirmed the importance of the arts to promote mental and emotional well-being, increase connectedness across communities, and strengthen narratives of belonging and inclusion. Those conversations also affirmed that the arts sector in San Diego is facing many challenges and is at a critical inflection point as it balances meeting the needs of the community while also maintaining healthy organizations and staff. 

What we’ve learned so far: 

  • While arts education and programming is critical to youth well-being, access to excellent programming is not equally distributed across populations in San Diego. 

  • Many smaller San Diego art organizations are doing wonderful work at the community-level but are underfunded. 

  • Large institutions are critical to the arts landscape and many are doing great work to diversify their art, artists, and audiences.

  • Since COVID, all arts organizations have struggled to rebuild audiences, ensure the well-being of their staff and volunteers, and adapt their business models. 

  • Artists and those working in arts nonprofits are often unable to live in San Diego, given the high cost of living and low salaries. Arts organizations struggle to retain highly skilled staff and promote local artists.

Medical Research

Investments in medical research can improve economic opportunity, health outcomes, and innovation.

 Our research and conversations affirmed the importance of the medical research sector for the economic and innovation vitality of the region, as well as its role in advancing new treatments and solutions for diseases impacting residents.

What we’ve learned so far: 

  • San Diego’s research landscape includes tremendous research institutions, a growing biotech industry, venture capital growth, commercial companies, and clinics. 

  • By advancing innovation, the sector supports job creation, opportunities for researchers, advancements in health, and economic growth.

  • While medical research in San Diego is highly innovative, it continues to have huge potential for increased collaboration.

  • Underrepresented scientists continue to struggle to find funding and lead research projects.

  • Research into diseases that impact BIPOC communities, or the impact of diseases on BIPOC communities, are also under-funded. 

  • In addition, research studies, including clinical trials, are often inaccessible to diverse populations - including BIPOC individuals and women. 

  • By ensuring more diverse scientists are leading labs and research, medical research in San Diego could begin to address some of the disparities in outcomes for historically excluded communities.

Laboratory Scientist looks at a binder of research

In partnership with the stellar institutions in San Diego, we will seek to support a collaborative, equitable, and innovative medical research ecosystem with a focus on three goals:


Promote cross-institute collaboration across the research ecosystem.


Strengthen the pipeline of diverse talent so more underrepresented post-doc and mid-career researchers lead world-class projects in San Diego.


Support researchers focused on diseases impacting diverse communities and ensure underserved populations can access relevant research studies.

Visual & Peforming Arts
Medical Research
Nurse puts band aid on a patient


Healthcare is at the core of well-being - offering physical and mental benefits across the community.

We believe in the capacity and expertise of community-based organizations to ensure all San Diegans are mentally and physically healthy. We have been listening to their needs and will start our healthcare grantmaking with a focus on three goals:


Ensure more San Diegans are trained for, and offered, quality jobs in healthcare, including community and behavioral health.


Support access to excellent, culturally competent healthcare in underserved communities.


Prioritize health providers’ focus on trust and safety with underrepresented communities.

Community members overwhelmingly pointed to the need for more access to physical and mental health services, particularly for those communities that have been excluded from high quality and culturally competent care in San Diego.

What we’ve learned so far: 

  • San Diego’s healthcare ecosystem is marked by disparities in access and excellence. While San Diego has an outstanding healthcare ecosystem, it often struggles to reach the most vulnerable. 

  • For many communities, health clinics are primary healthcare providers. They have the trust and cultural and linguistic competence to care for the wide diversity of people in San Diego. 

  • However, these clinics are often understaffed and under-resourced. In particular, community-serving health organizations often lack the funding to hire and retain qualified, culturally competent providers. 

  • Refugee, immigrant, border, and Indigenous communities face a multitude of barriers to care, including concerns around immigration status, language, culture, finances, awareness, and transportation/time constraints. 

  • Mental health continues to be a critical issue for the region, and for youth in particular. San Diego communities continue to be underserved due to cultural stigma around accessing care, lack of providers, insurance complexities, and cost barriers.


Youth Success

Advancing youth success will unlock youth leadership on issues today and ensure a thriving future for our region.

San Diego community leaders forcefully made the case that the region as a whole lacks a shared vision for and coordinated response to the needs of youth, particularly those most excluded from the opportunities and resources of our region.

What we’ve learned so far: 

  • Youth are catalysts for change in San Diego as organizers, creatives, and community members.

  • And yet, COVID-19 surfaced a behavioral health crisis bigger than ever before, with deep impacts on youths' sense of belonging and purpose.

  • San Diego has many of the leading experts in the creative youth development field and yet adoption of this powerful framework for agency and belonging is lagging in our region.

  • The nonprofit organizations serving youth and children across the region need more support for collaboration, staffing, policy expertise, and service provision.

Student works at his desk at Ibarra Elementary School

Given how many organizations and funders are engaged in this sector, we are eager to come alongside and support the efforts of those focused on ensuring all youth, and historically excluded youth in particular, are thriving and engaged in the community. We will focus on three goals:


Support a shared vision for youth that advances their inclusion and purpose.


Offer access to a breadth of opportunities for youth within their communities, including jobs and workforce training, learning, art, and civic engagement.


Ensure our youth are mentally and physically healthier.

Youth Success

Cross-Functional Areas

Cross Functional Areas

People and communities are complex organisms -- we are not one thing but about many simultaneously. Therefore, we do not intend to do our work in siloed portfolios but rather seek to find areas of intersection across programs. The foundation’s work in the four areas will also acknowledge the importance of three issues critical to the future of San Diego: Addressing Climate Change, Embracing Our Border and Indigenous Nations, and Promoting Civic Dialogue. We believe some of our most exciting work might happen in these areas, and build the capacity of our region to tackle the systemic challenges and opportunities that could threaten or turbocharge our progress. 


Border & Indigenous Communities

Surface innovative approaches to inclusion and deepen our collective understanding of mutuality, belonging, and otherness. 



Support partners across our issues to integrate climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation strategies. 


Civic Dialogue

Encourage a robust and vibrant democracy occurs when all people feel a sense of belonging and purpose within their community - expressed through increased voting, volunteerism, and civic activism. 

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