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Economic Development

San Diego Promise Zone Partner Financial Assistance

Program Summary

As part of a multiyear partnership with California Coast Credit Union (Cal Coast), the San Diego Promise Zone is offering the Partner Financial Assistance Grant which enhances community development and capacity building to advance the goals of the Promise Zone designation. 

San Diego Promise Zone Partner Financial Assistance aims to support the capacity building of Promise Zone partners and partner work assisting individuals experiencing barriers to post-secondary education and employment. Additional opportunities for financial literacy education for Promise Zone partners, business owners, and youth are available, and a focus on creating awareness and ultimately new partnerships between Cal Coast and Promise Zone Partners to advance the goals of the designation. Annual funding levels and allocations are subject to corporate partnership contributions and Promise Zone goals and priorities.

California Coast Credit Union Logo                San Diego Promise Zone Logo

General Provisions

Organization Legal Status: Nonprofit organization with a signed (or willing to sign a) Partner Memorandum of Understanding with the San Diego Promise Zone

Contract Duration: Twelve (12) months, with an option for extension for up to 3 months

Funding Awards: Minimum $1,500 to a maximum $10,000 (per qualifying applicant)

Allocation, Use of Funds, and Timelines:

  • Funds will not be available for disbursement until 1) a final agreement is fully executed; and 2) all necessary internal accounting protocols have been established.
  • Contract awardees will not be precluded from applying for other discretionary City fund source(s) during the contract period.
  • Awarded funds must be fully expended a year after contract execution.
  • At least half of the population served must be Promise Zone residents; all served must be City of San Diego residents.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit​
  • Be financially solvent and submit the most current IRS Form 990​
  • Disclose all sources of funding for the project requested ​
  • All documents related to the funding request are a matter of public record​
  • May be requested to submit proof of insurance​ 


The Promise Zone Partner Financial Assistance program grant recipients for 2023 include eight nonprofits and projects chosen for their experience in serving Promise Zone residents, the critical need that the proposed projects will address and overall project alignment with working group priorities. The selected groups are listed below! Please keep in mind that this is a yearly award and be sure to check back in spring of 2024 for more updates on the next round!

2023 Awardees 

Access Youth Academy- Founded in 2006, Access Youth Academy is an after-school life-skill and academic enrichment program for low-income youth aged 10 to 24+ designed to foster equal access to higher education, healthy lifestyle habits, and post-college graduation employment. Access Youth Academy students are low-income as defined by Federal standards. Most currently come from high need Promise Zone neighborhoods in Southeastern San Diego and strive to be the first in their families to attend college. Barriers to success include poverty, food insecurity, neighborhood violence, and family instability.

The $7,500 awarded will help cover Access Youth Academy's telecommunications related costs. Access provides daily connectivity to the internet for 100 students, their families, and other Promise Zone residents. Internet connectivity is a crucial component of Access's provision of services and a cornerstone component of bridging the digital divide. 

Alma Community Care- Alma Community Care’s mission is to see mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy families creating a thriving Greater Logan Heights community. One of the ways they do this is through their parenting seminar program. Since 2017, Alma Community Care has served the population of Greater Logan Heights in the San Diego Promise Zone by providing free monthly parenting seminars in English and Spanish at several local public schools.

With the $5,000 awarded they will be able to provide stipends for therapists teaching the parenting seminars, supplies for parenting seminars like mental health educational books for parents and children in English and Spanish and paper and toner to print flyers to promote the seminars. Their parenting seminars are led by licensed bilingual mental health professionals and are focused on topics such as positive parentings skills, childhood anxiety and depression, substance abuse, and healthy eating habits. 

Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI) - The mission of BLCI is to break the cycle of poverty by preparing underserved students to be first in their families to attend and graduate college through no-cost, after-school programs that begin in third grade. BLCI serves up to 600 low-to-moderate-income, first-generation students living in San Diego’s highest underserved communities where residents contend with extreme poverty and disparities compared to other communities within the city. Since 1996, BLCI programs have directly supported students and families residing within the SD Promise Zone.

The $10,000 awarded will support expenses critical to the successful operation of the BLCI College and Career Readiness Program, including curriculum materials, supplies, field trips, marketing and outreach, and will provide youth in San Diego’s Promise Zone with the tools and skills needed to attend and graduate college, resulting in a thriving community and improved local economy. 

Circulate San Diego - Circulate San Diego (Circulate) has a mission to create excellent mobility choices and vibrant, healthy neighborhoods, which they accomplish by promoting public transit, safe streets, and sustainable growth. They believe transportation and land use policies should work for everyone, not just some. The region’s transportation system should be safe, convenient, accessible, and affordable for all, particularly for disadvantaged populations. Circulate makes a concerted effort to prioritize programming and activities for people located within the Promise Zone. With high-speed roads, limited bicycle facilities, dangerous levels of air pollution, insufficient pedestrian networks, and rising incidents of vehicular crashes, Promise Zone residents urgently need improved mobility choice and transportation safety.

The $10,000 awarded will support Circulate planning and engagement staff as they further their Safe Routes to Parks Initiative and allow for coordination with Parks Department staff members to install placemaking, pedestrian safety, and traffic calming measures within high-crash parks (Memorial Park, Mountain View Park, and MLK Park). 

Dreams+Ducats - Dreams+Ducats fosters the future of learning by harnessing the power of community and culture. They are committed to empowering youth and institutions through the continuous and equitable evolution of education to ensure it delivers on the modern demands of people and society. They work to ensure that young people and their families benefit from consistent enrichment opportunities that are relevant and accessible in their neighborhoods and across the SDPZ. The SDPZ community and its partners recognize that the lack of shared knowledge and strategies around money and personal finance creates barriers to financial empowerment and hampers the overall economic growth of the community.

With the $9,000 awarded they look to implement a Community Engagement Program focused on creating a space for members to come together and share their financial stories and strategies. By offering workshops and interactive learning experiences centered around money and personal finance, they aim to foster a supportive ecosystem where community members can learn from each other's experiences and gain exposure to essential financial literacy skills. 

Sherman Heights Community Center (SHCC) - Sherman Heights Community Center’s mission is “Fostering community through education, cultural enrichment, health promotion and personal development.” They offer programs, services and events that enhance the well-being of individuals and families in our communities. The SHCC predominantly serves working class Mexican American, Chicano and Latinx communities living in Sherman Heights and surrounding neighborhoods of Grant Hill, Stockton, Logan Heights, Memorial, Downtown San Diego and Barrio Logan. Located in Qualified Census Tract 47 and within the Promise Zone, they prioritize these communities by focusing on efforts that support the needs, desires and aspirations of our communities serving approximately 20,000 individuals.

The $10,000 awarded will help support staff salaries and benefits, instructor stipends, program supplies, certification fees, food purchases, commercial kitchen capital improvements, marketing and publicity costs, volunteer training and overhead costs. Program sustainability includes community support, grant funding, fundraising and partnership growth. 

The Blue Heart Foundation - The mission of the Blue Heart Foundation is to build their community by providing an equitable and secure path to higher education, emotional health and character development for young African American males. They offer a solid holistic youth development program through adult and peer mentorship that facilitates positive interactions, education, empowerment and emotional well-being that is a critical part of life. They also benefit communities of color by providing academic assistance, career development, mentoring, and mindfulness practice to young men of color so that they can learn to deal with adversity, improve their physical and mental well-being, and thrive.

With the $10,000 awarded, The Blue Heart Foundation will implement the Blue Heart Academy throughout the 2023-2024 fiscal year, serving at least 100 young Black males from the San Diego Promise Zone. Services will take place at BHF’s youth center in San Diego’s Diamond District. The center includes two large open spaces for activities, a STEM lab, and smaller classrooms where mentors and mentees can meet, and staff can provide case management and support services. The program also includes field trips to various locations around the county, including college visits to local campuses, outdoor experiences, and cultural activities. 

The Urban Collaborative Project CDC- The Urban Collaborative Project Community Development Corporation (UCP-CDC) serves Southeast San Diego and Encanto neighborhoods of City Council District 4 (D4) by connecting residents to upstream services and resources through various action teams and strategic partnerships. Utilizing a Self-Healing Community Model, UCP-CDC empowers local residents to identify neighborhood issues and address challenges together by using data and developing community-led projects. By using data, their teams create action plans, outreach, and solutions designed to address disparities focusing on health, housing, transportation, art, and infrastructure. Since 2013, UCP-CDC has focused on improving our community’s social infrastructure as a neighborhood collaborative, addressing issues that affect D4 and the San Diego Promise Zone areas. These include health and environmental justice, transportation and infrastructure equity, as well as art and community beautification.

The $9,000 awarded will support community outreach, education, and engagement in Promise Zone areas for the above-referenced focus areas, including stipends for volunteers and community ambassadors. Funds will also be used to improve project planning and community engagement by updating their computer equipment, purchasing new UCP-CDC banners, and updating/modernizing their website.  


2022 Awardees

Project New Village: “Expanding Equitable and Just Food Access within the San Diego Promise Zone”

Since 2010, Project New Village (PNV) has elevated and integrated urban agriculture to increase access to healthy food and as a key component of community revitalization in food-insecure neighborhoods. PNV operates the Mt. Hope Community Garden to grow and sell produce and herbs, distribute free food, provide nutrition education, and host community-centered activities. In 2020, PNV purchased a refrigerated food truck to operate a weekly Mobile Farmers’ Markets at three different SDPZ-serving locations, which will sell affordable, locally grown produce and packaged foods, accept SNAP benefits payments, and offer discounts to help stretch tight food budgets. Through this partnership, PNV will be awarded $13,650 to expand resident and funder engagement through marketing and social media communications related to two major fundraising events for its Mobile Farmers’ Markets and the Community Food Hub. PNV will also submit new grant applications to unlock $500,000+ in new capital. PNV’s projects ensure long-term sustainability by increasing the community’s control over its food supply and keeping more of the community’s money within the community. 

San Diego Parks Foundation: “Park Ambassador Program”

The San Diego Parks Foundation will receive $13,300 to support its Park Ambassador Program, a leadership program for youths ages 16-24 living in low-income areas. Funds will support outreach and recruitment in neighborhoods within the Promise Zone, service project supplies, and student stipends. Curriculum from the Parks Ambassador Program will help build leadership skills and ensure greater access to additional government jobs through by creating pathways for career education and internships and/or jobs within the City of San Diego, increase outdoor education, access, and engagement, and teach youth living in the Promise Zone how to advocate for the environmental health of their community.  

San Diego Co-Harvest Foundation: “Co-Harvest Regenerative Urban Agriculture program - Building environmental stewardship and equity into our food-system"

The Promise Zone Urban Agriculture Program will receive $10,500 to expand upon Co-Harvest's current work by increasing their ability to accept new members within the Promise Zone. This expansion will enable Co-Harvest to install school and residential micro-farms to increase their yield to grow and distribute over 40,000 lbs. of produce in 2022. The funding will help the organization exceed current impact goals and increase the number of San Diego Co-Harvest micro-farms to 100+ by the end of the project period. This project will drastically increase the amount of fresh produce in low-income communities through the implementation and education that comes through food sovereignty and grassroots partnerships with local food banks/mutual aid distributions. 

D.E.T.O.U.R.: “Ambassador Program”

Depositing Empowerment Through Outreach & Urban Development (D.E.T.O.U.R.)’s Ambassador Program provides high school and college girls of color work readiness training, leadership development, and opportunities to explore career pathways. Under this $14,000 award, up to twenty (20) Ambassadors will be selected, with up to four (4) being college students taking on lead roles in the program. All Ambassadors will participate in weekly leadership development and group mentoring sessions focused on confidence building, identity awareness, healthy relationships, and communication. DETOUR will create access to professionals of color through workshops and corporate tours to deepen youth confidence and resiliency. Participants will help plan and execute DETOUR’s FANCY Expo, plan service-learning activities, and be placed in a paid internship. Career coaching, goal setting, and resume-building support will also be provided.  Since their founding in 2011, D.E.T.O.U.R. has served more than 1,000 youth, with 100% of youth that completed their leadership program being accepted into 4-year universities and 44 youth being placed in paid internships. 

Logan Heights Community Development Corporation: “Career & Financial Advancement Center”

Logan Heights Community Development Corporation (Logan Heights CDC) works across the communities of Grant Hill, Logan, Memorial, Sherman, and Stockton. Logan Heights CDC will be awarded $10,500 to provide services from the Career/Financial Advancement Center (CFAC) that are focused on household economic wellbeing. CFAC offers residents employment research and preparation assistance, connection to education and training providers, financial education and coaching, workforce placement and advancement, and income support ranging from tax preparation and accessing benefits. This integrated service delivery is specifically designed to facilitate the ability of low- and moderate-income families to visualize tangible financial goals that will require multiple elements of progress to achieve.  

Leah’s Pantry: “Barrio Botany School-Based Neighborhood Gardens”

The mission of the Barrio Botany program is to provide innovative school garden-based experiential learning opportunities in San Diego urban communities to achieve equity and sustainability in indoor education, nutrition security, environment, and food sovereignty. Leah’s Pantry will be awarded $14,000 to support Barrio Botany and a bilingual horticultural specialist with extensive experience in youth development and community engagement. The grant will help six San Diego Promise Zone school gardens that serve as outdoor learning laboratories for students and as hubs for catalyzing backyard gardening in their surrounding neighborhoods. Their aim is to assist Promise Zone neighborhood residents in nurturing self-reliance, working toward their personal goals for health and well-being, and becoming advocates for change for themselves and their community. 

San Diego Habitat for Humanity: “San Diego Habitat for Humanity Home Repair”

San Diego Habitat for Humanity will be awarded $17,100 to help complete home repairs on three unduplicated households within the Promise Zone earning low to moderate incomes. These families will have access to at-no-cost home repairs for the purpose of providing and preserving safe and stable homeownership. San Diego Habitat for Humanity focuses on looking for long-term solutions for families to produce long-term sustainability and circumvent homeowner displacement into unaffordable or inadequate rental situations. 

San Diego Futures Foundation: “Get Connected, Empowering San Diego Promise Zone”

Over the years, the San Diego Futures Foundation (SDFF) has donated computers to residents and organizations, along with providing digital literacy classes to youth and adults in schools and organizations within the Promise Zone. SDFF will be awarded $12,000 to provide on-site technical assistance at schools, churches, community centers, and partner organizations where instructors will be ready and available to serve the needs of the communities. SDFF is targeting to serve approximately 200 community members with this program, by providing immediate tech support, ongoing digital literacy training, and connection with county-wide resources including workforce development.  Furthermore, community members will gain access to the City’s Digital Navigator System to connect them to additional resources.   

Outdoor Outreach: “Pipeline to Nature: Outdoor Educator Workforce Development Project”

Outdoor Outreach’s mission is to connect youth to the transformative power of the outdoors. Since 1999, they have provided opportunities for more than 17,000 young people from low-income and historically underserved communities, with a special focus on serving youth from the Promise Zone. Through this partnership, Outdoor Outreach will be awarded $14,000 to provide direct employment opportunities to ten (10) youth and empower them to lead outdoor programs that inspire other youth to consider careers in the outdoor professions and green jobs. Those newly hired educators will, in turn, lead 100+ outdoor outings for more than 500 additional San Diego youth. Youth from low-income communities and of color are underrepresented in outdoor/environmental careers and our workforce development program aims to level the playing field. 


If you would like to become a partner or learn more information about the Promise Zone, please contact staff:

  • Amber Joy Weber, Promise Zone & Special Projects Program Manager, City of San Diego Economic Development Department 
  • Roosevelt Williams III, Program Specialist, City of San Diego Economic Development Department


Visit the new SDPZ website