2023: A Year in Review

As we bid farewell to 2023, we want to take a moment to appreciate the accomplishments we’ve made together. This year has been marked by extraordinary collaborative efforts, meaningful discussions, and impactful initiatives that have left a lasting imprint on our community. 

Watch our latest video to hear about our year from our President & CEO, Megan Thomas.

Celebrating Achievements:

Annual Conference – “Funding our Future: Examining Wealth, Power, and Community”

Over 200 attendees gathered in Escondido to engage in discussions on philanthropy’s role in meaningful wealth redistribution.

New Funder Collaboratives

We welcomed Arts & Intersections to our portfolio of impactful funder groups, broadening our reach and impact and making connections between individual practitioners and businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies 

Nonprofit Capacity Building-focused foundations met regularly to discuss sustainability for the region’s nonprofit sector and how to secure our fair share of the federal funds flowing from Washington, D.C.  

Humanitarian Relief Efforts

Our combined efforts, working with Catalyst’s Binational Migration Funders and others in statewide and local philanthropy, raised $1.7 million for relief efforts aiding newly arrived asylum. This critical support bridged the gap until a $6 million County commitment could be deployed.  

State Funds and Philanthropic Investments

Catalyst stewarded $18.6 million in State funds for anti-hate and arts and culture work, leading to an additional $1.4 million philanthropic investment in over 100 artists. Philanthropy California, a statewide alliance of Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties, Northern California Grantmakers, and SoCal Grantmakers, also was awarded a two-million-dollar grant from The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to expand our role in advancing climate resilience and nonprofit capacity. 

Do the Work Trips

Participants spent an overnight in the Imperial Valley, gaining firsthand perspectives on issues affecting the region, including the community impacts of the growing investment in lithium extraction. We visited a naval base to hear from active-duty military personnel and their families on the important topics of mental health and childcare, and spent time at Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, working on an outdoor kitchen and community agricultural land during a day of service. 

Inaugural Pulse of the Practice Report

Developed in partnership with the University of San Diego Nonprofit Institute, we conducted a first-ever survey of regional philanthropic practices and showcased the collective influence of our sector with over $19 billion in assets and $1 billion in annual giving. 

The Nancy Jamison Fund for Social Justice

Launched in memory of Nancy Jamison, The Nancy Jamison Fund for Social Justice will award $50,000 in unrestricted funds to advance racial equity and social justice in San Diego County. Nominations are due December 31 and awards will be announced in early 2024.  


Building on Success: 

As we reflect on these accomplishments, we are excited to share our plans for the upcoming year: 

New Family & Individual Funders Community of Practice 

Introducing a family and individual funders community of practice, fostering connections and collaboration for those working individually or with your family to steward a deeply personal mission in the ever-changing landscape of our communties. 

Corporate Funders Community of Practice Relaunch

Quarterly meetings for our corporate foundation and corporate giving program members will give you a place to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities for employee engagement, internal advocacy, and community relationships. 

Skill Building and Connection Events

An assortment of programs ranging from a multi-day Fundamentals 101 session to workshops on deploying program related investments alongside your grants, Equitable Grantmaking Deep Dives to bring more community-centric practices to your processes, and unique experiences in our Do the Work series. 

Annual Conference and Member Socials

More member socials will provide space to connect, network, and build relationships with peers and colleagues. And on September 12th, join our 2024 annual conference for another extraordinary day of exploration and celebration.  


A Heartfelt Thank You

In a world where time and resources are precious, we deeply appreciate the commitment each of you brings to our community. Together, we are shaping a culture of philanthropy grounded in care and repair, founded on the belief that positive change is not only possible, but achievable. 

Our members are the heart of Catalyst, and we extend our sincere gratitude for being an integral part of our work to support an equitable, impactful social change ecosystem in Imperial and San Diego counties. We look forward to the many achievements that await us in 2024 as we continue to work collaboratively toward a brighter, more equitable future. 

Thank you for your unwavering partnership. 

Your Catalyst Team