San Diego Foundation, Dr. Seuss Foundation Award $1.15 Million to Support Early Childhood Education, Care - JFSSD
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San Diego Foundation, Dr. Seuss Foundation Award $1.15 Million to Support Early Childhood Education, Care

SAN DIEGO (May 30, 2023) – San Diego Foundation and Dr. Seuss Foundation announced today $1.15 million in grants to support 23 local nonprofit organizations dedicated to providing quality, affordable early childhood education, care and resources for families with young children, ages 0 to 5.

“When we invest in affordable quality early education, care and resources, we’re investing in our region’s families and the local workforce,” said Mark Stuart, President & CEO, San Diego Foundation. “Through our grantmaking with the Dr. Seuss Foundation, we will have a larger collective impact on San Diego’s children and their families, and build a more resilient region for years to come.”

The grant funding includes $650,000 from SDF and $500,000 from the Dr. Seuss Foundation. Starting in 2022, Dr. Seuss Foundation joined SDF in grantmaking for the Early Childhood Initiative, adding a funding emphasis on early literacy.

“The Dr. Seuss Foundation supports evidence-based programs which increase the number of children who enter school ready to learn and thrive, and who are proficient readers by the time they enter fourth grade,” said Jay Hill, Executive Director of the Dr. Seuss Foundation. “The partnership with the San Diego Foundation offers a perfect alignment of these goals and will support the success of the most resource-challenged young learners across the region.”

The 2023 Early Childhood Initiative Equitable Opportunities Grants support nonprofit organizations implementing strategic efforts to build the region’s resilience by increasing access to educational opportunities and supportive services for young children and their caretakers and families. This year’s Early Childhood Initiative grantees include:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics – California Chapter 3 – $45,000 to give children a foundation for success by incorporating books and read-aloud advice into pediatric care starting at birth.
  • Basic Assistance to Students in the Community – $25,000 to help Borrego families acquire the skills to strengthen language development for children 0 – 5 years old, providing a strong foundation for early grade-level readiness.
  • Chicano Federation of San Diego County – $50,000 for a mental health clinician to create training for childcare providers, families and teaching staff about the identification and prevention of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
  • Diamond Educational Excellence Partnership – $75,000 to strengthen the capacity of caregivers to provide children with learning experiences that prepare them for kindergarten success and third-grade reading proficiency.
  • Episcopal Community Services – $45,000 to provide bilingual therapy for low-income, high-potential children, ages 0 – 5, and their parents/caregivers to help children overcome behavioral challenges, adjust to preschool/daycare, and remain in school.
  • Father Joe’s Villages – $25,000 to provide services for children, ages 0 – 5, and their families experiencing homelessness through free high-quality childcare and child and family behavioral health services.
  • Global Communities – $50,000 to achieve birth equity, improve early childhood development and support new parents through birth and breastfeeding support for Black and low-income immigrant communities.
  • Heartbeat Music Academy – $25,000 to support its preschool program, a high-quality, interdisciplinary and culturally informed preschool program for children, ages 2 – 5, from low-income families.
  • Home Start Inc. – $50,000 to provide behavioral and mental health services for children, ages 0 – 5, who have been a victim of a crime and are unable to access treatment, so they can heal and feel safe and secure.
  • International Rescue Committee – $45,000 to implement evidence-based intervention for forcibly displaced immigrant families to mitigate the effects of trauma, strengthen the child-caregiver relationship and increase resilience.
  • Jewish Family Service of San Diego – $45,000 to provide young parents with evidence-based parenting and early childhood development education, build a peer support network and help them access critical resources.
  • La Maestra Family Clinic – $50,000 to support screening for ACEs to address the behavioral and mental health needs of young children and their families.
  • License to Freedom – $50,000 to establish a program for newly arrived refugees that is family-centered, trauma-informed and rooted in understanding cultural norms related to pregnancy, parenting and early childhood development.
  • Palomar Family Counseling Service in partnership with Growing Minds – $75,000 to strengthen the capacity of early childhood education centers to offer high-quality, evidence-based preventive mental health interventions to low-income, minority children and their families.
  • Promises2Kids – $65,000 to provide mental and behavioral health supports, parenting education and ACES screening for current and former foster youth and their children or sibling dependents under the age of 5.
  • Reading Legacies – $60,000 to promote literate and connected families through facilitating read-aloud experiences in homes, correctional facilities, childcare centers and other community settings.
  • San Diego Breastfeeding Center Foundation – $25,000 to increase direct infant feeding support through free lactation visits with Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) lactation consultants and weekly support groups.
  • San Diego Rescue Mission – $25,000 to support educational access for preschoolers experiencing homelessness and strengthen the parent-child relationships that ensure long-term educational success.
  • San Diego Youth Services – $75,000 to provide trauma-informed care and comprehensive services for transition-aged foster youth, who are pregnant and/or parenting, and their children.
  • SAY San Diego – $75,000 to expand sustainable, quality, affordable childcare across the San Diego region for the estimated 70% of local working families with no childcare option.
  • True Care – $70,000 to focus on emotional and cognitive development during the first five years of a child’s life to establish learning opportunities, secure familial bonds and provide intervention services for those with high ACEs scores.
  • Voices for Children – $25,000 to support court-appointed advocacy for children, ages 0-5, who have experienced abuse and neglect, ensuring access to the beneficial resources and services they need to thrive.
  • Words Alive – $75,000 to share best practices and lay a framework for families with young children to develop habits, behaviors, and attitudes toward reading.

The Early Childhood Initiative builds upon a regional vision that supports both immediate impact initiatives and systems-level change in early education and care. Since 2018, the Early Childhood Initiative at SDF has impacted the lives of more than 28,000 young children, ages 0 – 5, by awarding more than $9.2 million to uplift children, families and childcare providers by providing over 135 grants to 50-plus community-based organizations in San Diego County.


About San Diego Foundation
San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region. Our strategic priorities include advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy to realize our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities. The Early Childhood Initiative supports families with young children, ages 0 – 5, throughout San Diego County by expanding equitable access to high-quality, affordable early education and care. For more than 47 years, SDF and its donors have granted more than $1.4 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at

About the Dr. Seuss Foundation
The world of Dr. Seuss is one in which anything’s possible. At the Dr. Seuss Foundation, we approach literacy with the same spirit. We fund programs that promote learning, foster imagination, and help expand opportunities for all. Learn more at


Lorena Nava Ruggero, San Diego Foundation
[email protected], (619) 814-1365