Grant Partner Spotlight

Our 30 current and past grant partners are focused on helping women and girls of San Diego achieve their full potential. 

As a Women Give San Diego member, you are encouraged to help our partners with their mission through our Community Engagement committee.  To get involved, please contact our co-chairs at

August 2020: The Center

Large group photo in front of The Center building

Organization Overview and Mission
Established in 1972 as a community-based nonprofit organization, The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center (The Center) is one of the most vibrant and largest LGBT community centers in the nation. The Center’s mission is to enhance and sustain the health & well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, non-binary, immigrant, and HIV communities to the betterment of our entire San Diego region.
The Center promotes LGBT health/wellness and human rights by providing targeted programs and services to the full diversity of the San Diego LGBT community. Last year, The Center provided more than 86,000 direct service visits to over 26,000 San Diego community members and, through its events, activities, and advocacy, touched the lives of thousands more.
Program Update
The San Diego LGBT Community Center received funding from Women Give San Diego in 2019 that supports a wide array of vital services provided through The Center’s youth services programming. These programs address the multiple ways in which LGBTQ youth, including transgender and non-binary youth, as well as youth living with HIV, remain a population vulnerable to homelessness, lack access to health care, and experience violence in school and at home. The Center is committed to the wellness and empowerment of LGBT youth and making sure the next generation has the resources and support they need to be healthy and thrive. Our clients benefit from services ranging from emergency shelter, health care enrollment, resume assistance, educational access assistance, to permanent supportive housing that fully supports them in attaining self-sufficiency and success.
With this funding, The Center has exceeded all objectives and outcomes that were in our grant proposal. We have served over 700 youth, provided over 975 counseling sessions, provided over 6,800 service visits to youth, served over 125 youth with housing navigation and prevention/diversion services, and housed six youth in host homes. Of the youth in host homes, all but one exited to permanent housing, and the remaining youth is still in placement. 96% of the residents at the Sunburst Youth Housing Project remained in permanent housing during the grant period. 60% of youth who have completed six or more counseling sessions reported fewer psychological symptoms at the termination of treatment.
The Center is very grateful for the support of Women Give San Diego! This funding has truly made a difference in the lives of San Diego’s most vulnerable youth.
 Unfortunately, during the pandemic, The Center has suspended its robust volunteer program. During typical times, The Center has volunteer opportunities every day, including front desk and cyber Center volunteers, signature events such as AIDS Walk San Diego and Dine Out for Life, and a monthly food bank that requires assistance from about 20 volunteers each month. Once it becomes safe, The Center will reactivate the volunteer program. Information about the status of the volunteer program can be found on The Center’s website or in our e-newsletter. If you have questions, you can reach out to

June 2020: Reflecting on Pride Month During COVID-19

By Sarafina Scapicchio, Membership Co-Chair

June is Pride month, but for certain, this Pride month has been different from all others. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on hundreds of Pride organizations worldwide with countless marches and events cancelled or postponed. San Diego’s own pride celebration has gone virtual to help keep community members safe, but still connected. However, as we watched the national conversation about racism and anti-black violence emerge across our computer screens, televisions, and dinner tables, to many of us in the LGBTQ community it seemed that the spirit of Pride month would prevail after all.

You see, the annual Pride celebration, originated on June 28, 1969 when patrons of the Stonewall Inn bar in New York City, decided to fight back against discriminatory police raids and violence. The revolt was reportedly led by two transgender women of color and a lesbian. This riot was commemorated by activists one year later with a march that has evolved into our modern-day Pride parade. So you can imagine on June 15, 2020 when over 15,000 people clad all in white outside of the Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Heights gathered to chant “Trans Black Lives Matter!” many LGBTQ community members declared that our movement had finally returned to its revolutionary roots. The LGBTQ movement would move ahead this year without any floats, speeches, or rainbows – just folks coming together in the name of justice was all that was needed. It made me incredibly grateful to be a part of such a resilient community.

Similarly, I am grateful to the community of Women Give San Diego and to be welcomed by its leadership as an out queer woman.  Our 150+ members have a variety of backgrounds, faiths, races, and sexual orientations but we have one goal in common – to promote the economic self-sufficiency of women and girls in San Diego. To that end, we have granted $810,000 over the last 10 years to 30 very diverse charitable organizations. In fact, in 2019, the San Diego LGBTQ Community Center was one of our grantees. This is significant to me personally because I understand that for every $100 awarded by U.S. foundations each year, only 28 cents goes toward supporting LGBTQ issues directly. I am incredibly proud to be part of a membership organization that is actively seeking diversity in their grantee pool and helping to correct funding disparities like these. Therefore, I wish to say to you before Pride month ends, “Happy Pride” to you all! I hope we can celebrate the progress we made this year in person safely sometime soon! 

With Pride,


Director of Philanthropy
San Diego Pride

May 2020: Virtual Volunteer Opportunities with WGSD's 2020 Grant Partners

  1. Virtual tutors are needed to support refugee youth. Email to learn more about this and other upcoming virtual volunteer opportunities including how to purchase cloth face masks from IRC client tailors/seamstresses, order take-out or delivery from a refugee or immigrant owned local restaurant, and more.
  2. Our Refugee Film Festival has gone online. Sign up to stream award- winning films and all proceeds will help ensure we can continue to provide critical services during the COVID-19 outbreak and help families recover in the months ahead.
  3. Provide Lyft/Uber credits or online gift certificates to help vulnerable families access food and other basic needs. Contact for more information.

  1. Create and decorate inspiring greeting cards to our moms. Email Mark Lagace at for more information.
  2. Purchase candles from Home Start Bright Futures Candles here.
  3. Donate here to help Home Start respond to COVID-19, and continue to manage our housing programs to keep our clients sheltered, distribute critical resources like food and hygiene items, and implement safe therapy practices like telemedicine and phone technologies.  

  1. Help us show much-deserved appreciation to our amazing residential teams at the Center by making personalized notes or providing PPE, meals and snacks to our essential workers.
  2. Donate arts and crafts supplies for our youth in residential treatment at the Center. 
  3. Provide a food basket (or grocery bag) of nonperishable food items along with a grocery store gift card and you will help alleviate daily stressors for the families we serve, and create joy for them as they spend time sharing meals together.
  4. Find out more about these and other opportunities to #helpfromhome here

  1. Volunteer for College Bound Service (details are still being worked out).
  2. Virtual Power Lunches: let us know if your company is interested in hosting one and has any opportunities for young women to engage.
  3. Contact Jennifer Telitz at to discuss these and additional opportunities.
  4. Start a peer-to-peer fundraiser of your own!

April 2020: Free to Thrive

Free to Thrive (“FTT”) empowers survivors of human trafficking to be free from exploitation and thrive by providing them with legal services and connections to other supportive services.

The FTT Legal Clinic (“Clinic”) is the first of its kind in San Diego County to provide mobile, holistic and trauma-informed legal services to survivors of human trafficking in their recovery and transition from victims to survivors, and ultimately to thriving members of our San Diego community. Through FTT’s innovative programs, FTT serves some of the most vulnerable members of our community by providing direct legal services, connections to pro bono attorneys, and referrals to a variety of supportive services that cultivate healing and overall well- being, empowerment, financial independence and entrepreneurship. The Clinic is an innovative collaboration with law firms, law schools, social service providers, law enforcement, and government agencies. 

The WGSD grant helps support FTT’s Las Colinas Clinic which is held at the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility (San Diego women’s jail) in Santee. This funding is used to help homeless, incarcerated human trafficking survivors plan for and find housing upon release from custody.

FTT is still fully operating during the COVID-19 crisis. The organization’s primary focus is helping assist clients who are not in jail with their basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, personal safety) and their legal needs (restraining orders, emergency chi

ld custody issues).

For FTT’s clients in jail, the organization is working closely with reentry specialists to serve clients transitioning out of jail during this crisis and has had two clients successfully transition from jail/prison to housing programs since the start of COVID-19. FTT also received a referral from the public defender's office after they identified an individual as medically fragile and in need of housing upon release. FTT has kept the public defender's office up-to-date on the housing options FTT has found so they can advocate for their client’s release. For clients who do not have release dates in the near future, FTT has provided them with general information regarding COVID-19, FTT’s inability to do in-person screenings at this time, an

d court updates.

There are many ways for Women Give San Diego members to get involved with FTT to make a life- changing impact in a survivor’s life. In light of the COVID crisis, FTT needs gift cards for client’s basic needs (gas grocery stores, Target, Walmart).

Additional ways to help include:

  • Providing in-kind services that will meet the emergency needs of FTT’s most vulnerable client population. 
  • Providing virtual mentorship to survivors.
  • Contacting FTT if you have, or know of, employment opportunities for survivors.
  • Once in-person gathering resume post- COVID-19, members are welcome to volunteer at events, workshops, and other survivor or community programs, and can also host a fundraising event.
FTT encourages any member who is interested in getting involved to reach out directly to FTT for additional ways to support survivors, especially during this difficult economic time. You can contact FTT through their website at: You can also sign up to volunteer with FTT here: 

NAWIC Summer Camp

Our 2017 grantee National Association of Women In Construction is providing training for young women through volunteers in the industry teaching basic (apprentice) and advanced (journeywoman) skills every summer.  This is their tenth summer camp.  Why?  Construction is a growth industry, and there is a great need for skilled workers.  The average annual pay is $62,300, 2% more than all the private sectors reporting.

Our grant helps pay for all the construction supplies, breakfast and lunch, sunscreen and whatever it takes.  Supplies cost about $100 per camper.  Each camper gets her own personalized tool bag, with seven tools, a hard hat, and if she returns for more camps she gets another tool each year.  CAT San Diego, heavy equipment company and supporter, provided a replacement fork lift on the spot and also provides the barbecue for the graduation ceremony.  There are many companies, trade unions, and organizations that donate time and treasure to invest in these young women.

They build sheds for the school to use for equipment and a solar greenhouse used by the biology department for growing experiments.  The greenhouse is now also housing a tank for underwater robotics!  It is self-sufficient providing all power and water needed for the projects.  They have made tables and benches of concrete and planters to use on campus.

The camp volunteers say it is gratifying to watch the confidence build in the campers year after year.  About 60% return to camp for several years.  One student was a “naturally gifted carpenter”.  She went into the Seabees, Coast Guard, to work in the service most known for their building skills.

Watching these bright energetic women learn new skills is inspiring.  Our grant is doing great work!