Column: How to thank San Diego’s nonprofits on Giving Tuesday

Alyson Yoo of the San Diego Humane Society brings Dori the terrier mix to Beth Spangler, her new adoptive owner.
San Diego Humane Society employee Alyson Yoo (right), unites Beth Spangler (left) with Dori, the skittish Yorkshire terrier mix that Spangler has adopted. The San Diego Humane Society is one of the many local nonprofit organizations that San Diegans can support during Giving Tuesday, the philanthropic answer to Black Friday. The global day of giving happens on Dec. 1.
(Nancee E. Lewis)

Giving Tuesday, the philanthropic world’s answer to Black Friday, will be held on Dec. 1 this year. Which is not a moment too soon.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, donations to San Diego’s nonprofit organizations are down, but demand is way up. With many organizations benefiting from matching grants and other Giving Tuesday incentives, this is a great time to visit your favorite nonprofit online and give what you can.

“No one could have anticipated the depth and breadth of this pandemic,” said Mark Stuart, president and CEO of the San Diego Foundation, whose San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund ( has given $53 million in emergency grants and no-to-low interest loans to local nonprofits so far. “It has been devastating for nonprofits, particularly those that want to serve the less fortunate in San Diego.”

In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, here is a look at some San Diego nonprofits that give back all year long — pandemic or no pandemic.


Second Chance

Its offices are closed for in-person services, but Second Chance has not stopped providing housing and employment help, education and essential services to men, women and young people who are trying to get their lives on track after being incarcerated.

Despite COVID-19, Second Chance is still bringing its Youthful Offender Rehabilitation Program to the East Mesa and Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facilities. Its Youth Garden program is back to providing paid, hands-on urban-farming training for teens and young adults. Its four-week job readiness training program is now happening online, where participants get help with resume-writing, job-searching and workplace interpersonal skills.

“When you come out of incarceration, you have no phone, no hygiene items, nothing. You have the shirt on your back, and that’s about it,” said Sylvia DuBeau, the organization’s chief development officer. “When you make a donation, you are sponsoring someone’s success. You are helping someone create a new life.” (

The San Diego Humane Society

With more humans working, learning and even vacationing at 比特币交易网home, more people are adopting pets, and fewer people are relinquishing the pets they already have. This leaves the San Diego Humane Society with a new set of priorities while offering donors more ways to support San Diego’s animal lovers.

“We are focusing on community-based support and making sure people can keep their animals,” said Gary Weitzman, president of the San Diego Humane Society. “People are dealing with income challenges, 比特币交易网homelessness and mobility issues, and we want to make sure we are there for them.”

The Humane Society’s expanded Community Pet Pantry offers free dog and cat food and other supplies to any pet owners for any reason. The pantries are open Tuesday through Sunday at the organization’s campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside and Mission Valley. There is also a pilot mobile-clinic program that brings microchipping, vaccines, wellness checks and other veterinary services directly to communities that need them.

On Giving Tuesday, the Resources Partners Foundation will match all gifts to the San Diego Humane Society up to $35,000. (

Foundation for Women Warriors

Like many nonprofits, the Foundation for Women Warriors is caught between two COVID-related challenges. As the need for their services has soared, donations have dropped. But the group has continued to support the women veterans of Southern California — many of them single mothers — with emergency financial assistance, childcare help, professional development webinars and help finding mental-health resources.


“This has been a challenging time, but we get to help families who are struggling, and we get to hear a lot of thanks and gratitude and appreciation,” said Jodie Grenier, the foundation’s CEO. “Veterans give so much, so it’s nice to feel like we are doing a little bit of good in our corner of the world.”

In honor of Giving Tuesday, an anonymous donor will be matching all donations up to $7,500. (

Meals on Wheels San Diego

During the first three weeks of California’s COVID-19 shutdown in March, Meals on Wheels San Diego saw its clientele numbers increase by 47 percent, as in-person meal programs for seniors were suspended and trips to the grocery store became a risk older San Diegans couldn’t take. But Meals on Wheels San Diego keeps rolling along, with its 130-plus volunteers delivering lunch and dinner to some 2,000 people six days a week.

To make sure their clients also get the emotional sustenance they need, Meals on Wheels has launched Companionship Calls, which connects clients with a volunteer who will call them up once or twice a week to check in and chat. If donating money is not an option for you, Giving Tuesday is the perfect time to remember that your time means the world, too.


“If somebody really cares about seniors who are living in isolation, Meals on Wheels is a great place,” said CEO Brent Wakefield.“And if you can’t give treasure, give time. We need volunteers, and your time is valuable to us.” (

Sunlight Retreats for Rape Survivors

From 2017 to 2019, the San Diego-based Sunlight Retreats for Rape Survivors gave its attendees a life-changing weekend that included time with therapy dogs, acupuncture treatments, yoga sessions and workshops with trauma specialist Dr. Shiva Ghaed. The 2020 retreat was canceled due to the pandemic, leaving survivors to deal their trauma in isolation.

Founder Brittany Catton Kirk reached out to survivors with mentoring help, online meetups for former attendees, and a student club at the University of San Diego. But she hopes to hold retreats in Julian and in Annapolis, Md., in 2021. For a small organization that has always run on a sliver of a budget, Giving Tuesday donations to Sunlight Retreats ( can bring about a world of change.

“We are not a 100-percent solution, but we can give survivors tools for their toolbox and a network of support,” Kirk said. “And for some survivors, it can be the catalyst for a 100-percent turnaround.”


More ways to give

Mission Federal Credit Union match for hunger: The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, the San Diego Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army San Diego will each receive $10,000 in matching funds through Mission Fed Credit Union’s Holiday Giving Fundraiser. The campaign continues through the end of the year.

Gift cards for domestic violence survivors: The Center for Community Solutions’ annual Bridging Hearts Program is accepting gift-card and monetary donations to help support survivors of relationship and sexual violence. The campaign runs through Dec. 21.

Lions Tigers & Bears: Your Giving Tuesday donations to the Alpine-based big-cat and exotic-animal rescue will be matched by the JEM Project for up to $30,000, which will go a long way toward providing medication, proper diet and veterinary care for the organization’s lions, tigers, bears, bobcats, leopards, servals and mountain lions.

COVID-19 financial relief: The Jewish Family Services COVID-19 Relief Fund gives direct financial assistance to cover such expenses as rent, utilities and medical needs for San Diegans who have been affected by the pandemic. Your Giving Tuesday donation will be matched 2:1 up to $50,000 to triple the impact.


The San Diego Rep: In honor of Giving Tuesday, the San Diego Rep is presenting a day of free virtual activities, including a performance by Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi at 9 a.m.; an online salon about Black artists’ experiences in the theater industry at 4 p.m.; and a dinner chilaquiles “cook-along” with Amigos del REP at 6 p.m. Your donation will enter you in a drawing to win a household pass to all San Diego Rep virtual performances through June of 2021 and a $60 gift card to Bandar Persian Prime Rib restaurant.

Helen Woodward Animal Center: Your Giving Tuesday donation on behalf of orphan pets will be matched up to $50,00 by June and Neil Ash.

Help for families at risk: The Lucky Duck Foundation is matching Giving Tuesday donations to 比特币交易网home Start, which fights child abuse by providing support and services for at-risk families and children living in poverty. 比特币交易网

The San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund: Your donation to the San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund will provide emergency grants and low-to-no interest loans to local nonprofits that help San Diego’s most vulnerable communities with everything from computer access and financial assistance to food and medical support.