Racial Justice Grants at First UMC San Diego

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.

Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  

John 13:34

The Racial Justice Endowment was established in 2020 as an act of conscience, conviction, and confession for us as a Christian community. The church hasn’t been as present in this work in the past, but we are here to follow and support with our financial resources, our service, and our voices. We believe deeply in generosity and sharing of all the resources that have been entrusted to us, and we seek to serve our community in a new way of peace and solidarity.


Background and Vision

Born out of the First Church’s desire to take positive, tangible action in response to racial inequity in our community and in the nation, the Racial Justice Grants Committee (RJGC) was created to identify and recommend local grantee organizations to receive funds from the Racial Justice Endowment. The RJGC is to be led primarily by People of Color from our congregation, and also includes youth representatives and representatives from St. Paul UMC in San Diego. First Church recognizes the leadership of organizations that have spent decades bettering the lives of People of Color and advocating for more equitable government policies. We seek to come alongside those already deeply involved in the work of justice for all God’s people. Our vision is not simply to provide financial gifts to grantee organizations—we will also invite grantee organizations to utilize First Church as a platform to educate and build awareness of their work, and to encourage congregants to join them in volunteer opportunities. The RJGC will consider organizations whose work directly benefits any or all Black, Indigenous and other People of Color in San Diego County.

Grants Process and Timeline

Each spring, the RJGC may choose to narrow its focus to one or more specific issues or urgent community needs. Each fall, grants from the Racial Justice Endowment will be awarded to San Diego County nonprofit organizations that

  1. Serve primarily People of Color and/or
  2. Are working to dismantle systemic racism in the San Diego Community.

Grant funds available each year will be 5% of the Racial Justice Endowment’s value at the end of the preceding calendar year plus any gifts given to support the current year’s grant cycle.

April 1, 2021: Grant cycle focus announced and application released

July 30, 2021: Grant application deadline

Sept. – Nov. 2021: Grant awards announced pending First Church Church Council meeting schedule

Grantmaking Criteria

Past Grantees



Help to spread God’s justice further into our community. We welcome gifts to increase both the corpus of our endowed fund as well as each year’s grant cycle. Your tax-deductible gift will either make our work more fruitful for generations to come, or serve the immediate needs of our community this year.

If you would like to add to the Racial Justice Endowment, and build the amount of grant funding available in perpetuity, you can make a gift by clicking the button below. Your gift will be held and invested with the First United Methodist Foundation of San Diego and 5% of the total fund will me made available for grants each year. Donate to the Racial Justice Endowment

If you would like to make a donation to current year’s grant cycle and add to that which is shared with our neighbors each fall, you can make a gift by clicking the button below. Gifts received will be added to the total for grants available, as recommended each year by the Racial Justice Grants Committee.
Donate to current year's grant

For questions on grants or donations to the Racial Justice Grants program here at First Church, please contact Jason Tucker, Sr. Director of Stewardship and Development. (619) 297-4366 x145 or .


Stay Connected!

If you would like to see periodic news (grant awards, annual grants focus, major donations, etc.) from the Racial Justice Endowment, please provide your information on the following form and we will be sure to keep you notified of new developments!

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Grantmaking Criteria

RJGC Members will use the following to identify and recommend recipient organizations each grant cycle. Organizations that do not satisfy all of the Basic Eligibility criteria will not be considered for any funding. Organizations meeting one or more of the Priority Eligibility criteria will receive higher consideration by the RJGC than those only meeting the basic criteria.  

2021 Grant Application: Please download the application form below  and submit your application materials by July 30, 2021 to be considered for a 2021 Racial Justice Grant. Instructions for submission and including accompanying documents are included in the application form.

Racial Justice Grant Application (PDF)

Racial Justice Grant Application Online Submission Form 

Basic Eligibility—Organizations must meet all the following basic criteria to be considered for a grant from the Racial Justice Endowment Fund:

  1. Provide data confirming at least 75% of those served are People of Color AND/OR engage in non-violent advocacy for specific local or state policy changes that directly benefit communities of color in San Diego County.
  2. Be registered as or fiscally sponsored by a 501c3 organization located in the county of San Diego.
  3. Have publicly available or be willing to share compelling evidence of success in meeting your established mission.
  4. Agree to utilize all grant funds within 1 year of receipt.
  5. Agree to provide a written narrative report (template to be supplied) of the use of grant funds within 1 year of receipt of funds.

Priority Eligibility—Highest priority will be given to organizations also meeting the following criteria:

  1. Have appointed a majority of People of Color and/or women to executive leadership roles and board of directors.
  2. Include current service recipients, program alumni and/or community members in decision-making processes, either as board members, staff, or an advisory council.
  3. Explicitly serve communities experiencing multiple, intersecting challenges and discrimination (i.e., LGBTQ People of Color, Indigenous Women, Disabled Latinx Veterans, etc.).
  4. Have volunteer opportunities for First Church members to join in your work.
  5. Be willing to have a representative from your organization share your work with our worshiping community. 


2020/21 Grantees 

In 2020 the Racial Justice Grants Committee focused on education and/or criminal justice reform primarily affecting the Black community in San Diego. We look forward to providing these organizations with volunteer support (where appropriate) and opportunities to share their work with our congregations.

  • Pillars of the Community
    "Pillars of the Community is committed to embracing and celebrating the historic, rich, and diverse culture of Southeast San Diego. We strive to counter the criminalization of our community through community organizing, leadership development, and strategic partnerships. Our vision is for a healthy and thriving Southeast San Diego which reflects the rich and diverse culture of all its members.”

  • San Diego Young Artists Music Academy (SDYAMA)
    "San Diego Young Artists Music Academy (SDYAMA) offers a wide variety of programs in vocal, instrumental, choir, dance and many other positive activities in a healthy and safe environment. Our programs help develop culturally relevant and artistic activities for our students that promotes positive self-esteem and good order and discipline for young people."

  • DETOUR (Depositing Empowerment Through Outreach and Urban Redevelopment)
    "DETOUR is a mentoring program for girls of color. Our vision is to see equity and inclusion for teen girls of color in higher education and priority sector employment. Our mission is to increase access to education and employment opportunities for girls through our Focused And Naturally Confident Youth (F.A.N.C.Y.) Leadership programs (Expo, Leadership Academy, and Ambassador Internships.)Our purpose is to provide a positive forum for girls to become actively engaged in working towards acquiring the skills necessary to become what they aspire to be and to achieve their dreams. Our goal is to encourage living a fulfilled positive lifestyle, while promoting the revitalization of self-esteem and self-perception. Our message is it is never too late to reposition yourself to passionately seek and fulfill your purpose!"

  • The Blue Heart Foundation
    "Blue Heart is a non-profit organization that focuses on under-served youth ages 13-19 in the greater San Diego County community. As a part of our program, participants receive mentoring, personal and professional development workshops. As well as college campus tours and “road trips” supervised by qualified mentors. Students will be given the “tools” to succeed and excel in today’s academic and social environment."

  • San Diego Chapter of the National Council of Negro Women’s (NCNW) STEAM Workshop
    "NCNW San Diego Section was organized and chartered by the City of  San Diego in 1966.  Since its inception, NCNW San Diego Section has focused on fulfilling its goals with programs and projects that provide critical services to women, children, and families.  NCNW San Diego Section provides mentoring and educational support to children and youth and disseminates information to adults about issues affecting their lives and the lives of their families."

  • National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., Delta Upsilon Chapter, San Diego’s Y.E.S Program
    "As a professional organization of well-trained and effective educators in all components of the learning spectrum, the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. is dedicated to training youth and adults to develop and enhance those skills, abilities, attitudes and ethics that will prepare them to function successfully in a democratic society. Education is the vehicle by which they can pursue their dreams, discover new vistas, seek self-actualization and achieve extraordinary accomplishments."

  • Man Up Club at Wilson Middle School
    The name of our club is "Man Up!" and the mission is to teach our male students lessons in self-improvement, empowerment, responsibility, and cultural awareness. The club meets with all members on a weekly basis, teaching students lessons that will make them marketable in today's society.

  • Neighborhood House Association’s Project In-Reach
    The Neighborhood House Association (NHA) Project In-Reach program is an outreach and engagement program designed to help incarcerated individuals with substance abuse and/or mental health disorders as they prepare for re-entry into the community. Program goals include educating clients about mental health, substance dependence and coping mechanisms, decreasing instances of relapse, diminishing the impact of untreated health, mental health and/or substance use issues, and reducing recidivism.

  • Mustard Seed Wood, Inc.
    Mustard Seed Wood, Inc is a pre-vocational furniture project that provides access for youth to learn essential skills related to the carpentry trade, mathematics, and interpersonal relationships.

  • SD Urban Warriors
    The goal is to create an urban performing artist community advocating, teaching, demonstrating collective work and responsibility promoting, health, self-determination and discipline through creative edutainment artistic experiences and exploration.