Application Opens: 6/5/2024
Apply Online:
Total Initiative Amount: $250,000
Individual Grant Amount: $10,000

What is a GO Grant?

Inspired by the work of Headwaters Foundation, the Arlene & Michael Rosen Foundation is issuing unrestricted general operating funds for San Diego County. GO Grant is a quick turnaround award of $10,000 in General Operating funds. The entire premise of GO Grant is built on trust. There is no need for extensive applications, reports, or site visits. We trust your organization and know you’re making a positive impact! Learn more about our trust-based approach.

Curtis Howard, 2024 AMRF grantee, specializes in the areas of homelessness, gangs, and substance use and is the founder of Your Connect Inc., a nonprofit focusing on alternatives to incarceration and reintegration. He is also the Lead Organizer for All of Us or None, a national organization that advocates for formerly incarcerated people. Curtis authored two books written in prison “Cellmates”, and most recently “Who’s Left”. Additionally, he serves on the San Diego Continuum of Care board and is a member of the Ad Hoc Committee On Addressing Homelessness Among Black San Diegans.  

Why we’re launching in San Diego County

San Diego, as the unceded ancestral home of the Kumeyaay Nation and boasting the largest number of federally recognized tribes in the country, embodies a vibrant multicultural border community. Despite its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, San Diego faces significant challenges, notably a severe housing crisis ranking fourth in the nation of people experiencing homelessness.

Housing justice in border communities involves not only welcoming new arrivals, but also integrating them into the community’s fabric. Moreover, we acknowledge the historical injustices fueled by racism, which continue to impact communities of color today, especially those located south of interstate 8. Despite facing chronic underinvestment, redlining, gentrification, over-policing these communities continue to persist and build resilience. 

Volunteers for South Bay Street Medicine, a program serving San Diego County.

We are committed to partnering with grassroots organizations that rise to the occasion in solidarity. Our grant eligibility criteria were intentionally crafted to resource and prioritize nonprofits led by Black, Indigenous, People of Color who historically are underfunded or not considered for funding opportunities at all.

We acknowledge that community engagement and wellness in our community extends beyond basic needs; they integrate cultural and somatic practices into service provision. It includes advocacy efforts to end carceral harm and promote community healing. Qualifying activities are not limited to, but may include: harm reduction, free legal clinics to over-policed communities, housing justice, safe spaces for queer youth/adults, violence interruption, access to healthy food, BIPOC voter turn out. Essentially activities that improve the quality of life for communities historically impacting by systemic harm. 

Using a Collaborative Approach to Center Racial Justice & Equity

Our journey began with a commitment to ensuring a participatory process. We assembled an advisory group comprised of local activists, individuals with lived experience, and harm reductionists. Essentially, those at the forefront of change in our community who dedicate their lives to championing equity, justice, liberation, and collective care.       

We asked them:

  • How do we create equity in philanthropy?
  • How can we ensure our efforts do not extract from our partners?
  • How do we center and uplift BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and people with lived experience in all aspects of our work? 

Their feedback highlighted the significant barriers faced by grassroots organizations, particularly those led by people of color, in accessing grants and navigating complex application processes. They emphasized the importance of autonomy and quality over quantity, ensuring that organizations have the flexibility to address the unique needs of their communities. Their invaluable insights and guidance have been instrumental in shaping our approach, emphasizing the importance of supporting grassroots initiatives to address disparities. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for their guidance and, in line with best practices, compensated our advisors for their time and expertise.

Aligned with Community Equity Goals and Action Plan:

As proud supporters and participants of the RTFH Ad Hoc Committee on Addressing Homelessness Among Black San Diegans, we learned that Black individuals are overrepresented in homelessness, accounting for 21% of the unsheltered population and 30% of the sheltered population, despite comprising only 5.5% of the general population in San Diego County. Black people are often discharged from social services programs at a higher rate than other populations, and less than 5% of leadership positions in homeless services are held by Black individuals. 

We offer GO Grants as a way to strengthen and complement our regional equity goals and community action plan. As the saying goes:

If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.

We believe everyone has a role to play in creating a more equitable community, and GO Grants is one of our many commitments to doing that!

How to Apply

After completing the Eligibility Checklist, you will see your results instantly and be invited to submit an application. This application is designed to be completed in one sitting. You will not be able to save your progress. The application launches on June 5, 2024 at 10:00am; grants are first-come, first-serve. Still have questions? Join us for our community Q/A May 29th at 10:00am. Or reach out to Lucky Michael at [email protected]

Join us in partnership to create a just, equitable, and thriving San Diego.