SDG&E’s $10M Grant Program Enables Local Nonprofits to Expand Food and Housing Support


San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) recently launched their Community Assistance Fund initiative, a transformational charitable grant program to expand essential services to vulnerable residents that have been adversely affected by inflation and the high cost of living within the region. Funded with shareholder dollars, this initiative provided charitable grants to 21 nonprofits, building upon the company’s long history of giving back and investing within local communities.

In the culturally rich and ethnically diverse communities of City Heights and Southeast San Diego, families in need visit a special food pantry on a weekly basis to pick up basic food items. The food, however, is not the typical items you see at food banks and pantries across the county. The food is reflective of the cultural preferences of the population living in the area. The Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC) recently opened this cultural food pantry program, with a charitable grant from SDG&E’s Community Assistance Fund.

UPAC is one of 21 community-based nonprofit organizations that received transformational grants under SDG&E’s shareholder-funded program – the single largest charitable initiative the company has ever launched. The grants awarded by SDG&E to the nonprofits ranged from $250,000 to $1 million.
The grant recipients specialize in supporting vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and low-income families struggling with food insecurity and housing instability. The nonprofits are utilizing the grants to expand food pantries, provide emergency rental assistance, offer financial coaching and much more.
“The grant is a game changer for us,” says Paul Downey, President and CEO of Serving Seniors. “It allows us to invest in trucks and kitchen equipment so that we can provide 1.2 million meals, a case manager who can help folks navigate through the system and an emergency assistance fund to assist people who are in danger of becoming homeless.”

According to the San Diego Hunger Coalition, as of December 2022, 23% or nearly one in four residents in San Diego County, live in a household that cannot afford to eat three healthy meals a day. People of color, particularly Hispanic/Latino, Black and Native Americans, continue to experience food insecurity at a higher rate than the rest of San Diego County.
UPAC expects to distribute an estimated 300,000 pounds of food and enroll 1,000 individuals in its cultural food pantry program.

“We understand the challenges that our region is currently facing with inflation driving up the cost of food, housing, and other basic necessities,” shared Kazeem Omidiji, SDG&E director of community relations. “The charitable investments through this grant initiative are just one of the many ways we are trying to support individuals and families who need help the most within our communities.”

Over the past year, the San Diego region has experienced of one of the highest inflation rates in the nation – meaning local residents pay among the highest consumer prices for necessities. Additionally, the San Diego housing market consistently ranks as one of the least affordable in the nation.

Having been a part of the community for more than 140 years, SDG&E has a long history of supporting a variety of local philanthropic causes. Over the past 12 years, SDG&E has invested more than $100 million in shareholder dollars to improve lives in our communities. Most of that charitable investment went to diverse and underserved communities for workforce development, education, public safety and environmental stewardship.
To learn more about SDG&E’s Community Assistance Fund and its 21 grant recipients, visit

SDG&E employees volunteer at Union of Pan Asian Communities Cultural Food Pantry, a Community Assistance Fund grant recipient

Families Forward, a south Orange County nonprofit organization was one of 21 grant recipients supported through SDG&E’s $10M Community Assistance Fund

SDG&E employees volunteer with Community Assistance Fund grantee Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank

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Esteban Villanueva