Guide to Giving Back This Holiday Season

By |2021-05-27T09:53:14-07:00November 20th, 2020|Categories: Giving, Marketplace, Volunteer, Workplace Giving|

Guide to Giving Back This Holiday Season

Written by: Claudia Chow, Digital Marketing Manager, UWSD

Each year, we receive dozens of inquiries from community volunteers and companies who are looking to give their time, talent, and treasure during the holiday season. The holidays are always a challenging time for many in our community, but this year will be especially difficult for families who are still dealing with the effects of the COVID crisis. While there are an infinite number of ways to help, we want to spotlight a few ways in which you can get involved and help make this a cheerful season for everyone!
If you are looking to volunteer, in-person or virtually, we have many resources to share…

The San Diego Homelessness Volunteer Network, a partnership of UWSD, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, and Councilmember Chris Ward, has many opportunities to help unsheltered individuals through several nonprofit organizations in the San Diego region:

UWSD also partners with HandsOn San Diego to offer The COVID-19 Volunteer Hub, with many virtual and remote opportunities focused on supporting nonprofits in the midst of the coronavirus crisis:

Lastly, you can find holiday-related volunteer activities on HandsOn San Diego’s dedicated Holiday Page.

United Way and the Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego have joined forces to offer the Board Service Certification Program, designed to help professionals use their skills and experience to move nonprofit boards forward in an ever-changing world. Our program gives participants the knowledge and leadership training needed to serve as effective and passionate board members. In addition to a certificate received upon completion of the course, participants are given the opportunity to connect with nonprofits who are searching for new board members.

A big congratulations goes out to our Fall 2020 cohort participants who recently completed this course! We are so excited to see the big changes these leaders will make in our community.

Are you interested in joining our next cohort, set to take place virtually in early 2021?
Please contact Carlee Chatman, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, at .

As you may know, we recently celebrated our Centennial Anniversary here at UWSD. 100 years of United Way in San Diego! We celebrated with a virtual gala to thank all of the wonderful partners who have helped us grow our impact and further our work of eliminating inequities in our community over the last century. Continuing with the celebration, UWSD has set a goal to raise $100,000 in 100 days before the end of 2020. Please consider donating to our efforts as we look forward to the next year of recovery, rebuilding, and reimagining our community in the wake of COVID-19.

Lastly, each year UWSD participates in the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council’s Holiday Food & Toy Distribution. This year, we are setting out to help 950 local families have a brighter holiday season with a delicious turkey dinner and toys for their children. Please consider participating in our toy drive!

Is your company or organization interested in hosting a collection drive?
Please email Carlee Chatman at .


100 Days of Giving text

Centennial Celebrating the 1980s

By |2021-05-27T09:41:54-07:00July 27th, 2020|Categories: Centennial, Giving|

Centennial Celebrating the 1980s

Written by: Alli Temnick, Senior Development Executive, UWSD

As we celebrate our Centennial year, we continue to highlight the role United Way of San Diego County has played in our region throughout our history. This month, we want to focus on the 1980s, a decade when San Diego grew in size, economy, and national prominence.

Prior to the 1980s, the President of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce had referred to the city as “a stool with one leg—the military.” That changed rapidly throughout the decade as the economy grew and diversified. New industries resulted in 300,000 new jobs, and these new jobs attracted new workers, leading to a significant increase in the population. The city officially reached 1.1 million residents in the 80s, making it the sixth largest city in the country at the time.

As a result of the increasing population and budget cuts from the federal government, homelessness became more visible in San Diego at the time. United Way of San Diego County responded by launching the Regional Task Force for the Homeless, in partnership with both the city and the county. The Regional Task Force for the Homeless has grown and is still in operation today. In fact, they are tenants of United Way of San Diego County’s building in Kearny Mesa, which was purchased in the 1980s as well.

Generous donors and the help of a financial consortium made the purchase of the Kearny Mesa building possible. The building is still the primary workplace for UWSD employees, and it is a great example of the way UWSD supports our community by partnering with other nonprofit organizations. Additional office space is rented out to other nonprofit organizations at below-market rates. As of this year, our current tenants include the Autism Society San Diego, Susan G. Komen San Diego, Regional Task Force for the Homeless, San Diego Psychological Association, Dreams for Change, Lupus Foundation of San Diego, HandsOn San Diego, and Wave Academy.

As you can see, United Way of San Diego County has adapted to the changing needs of our community over the years and we will continue to do so. This year has brought a number of changes, and we will continue to draw from the example of our history and find ways to adapt so that we can serve and strengthen our community’s most pressing needs.

Save the date for Thursday, October 8th, 2020 and join us for our Virtual Centennial Celebration! Learn more about UWSD’s Centennial and visit

Centennial Celebrating the 1970s

By |2021-05-27T09:36:11-07:00June 29th, 2020|Categories: Centennial, Family Stability, Giving, Volunteer|

Centennial Celebrating the 1970s

Written by: Claudia Chow, Digital Marketing Manager, UWSD

United Way of San Diego County (UWSD) continues to observe our Centennial Celebration by highlighting each decade with this month’s salute to the 1970s, a time full of innovation and incubation.

In 1973, we adopted the name United Way of San Diego County in keeping with national trends. During the 70s, UWSD flourished thanks to growing relationships with local companies and their workplace campaigns. We joined forces with 11 local affiliates to create the Combined Health Agencies Drive (CHAD). Then in 1975, UWSD helped create The San Diego Foundation. The following year, we helped launch the San Diego Community Leadership Development Program, a predecessor of LEAD San Diego. United Way also created a volunteer bureau to help people get involved in community service. Last but not least, during this era, Guideline was created, a countywide information and referral service that later became 2-1-1.

This year, in conjunction with the Centennial anniversary, UWSD expanded our Day of Action work to a month-long campaign to bring awareness of food insecurity as well as support vulnerable senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each June, United Ways across the globe participate in Day of Action, a day to address and tackle a variety of challenges that communities face. It is a day that United Ways ask their community members to help put the mission into action by volunteering to improve the building blocks for a good quality of life – education and family stability.

In addition to bringing attention to National Hunger Awareness Month, UWSD team members and partners from the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council honored the staff of Unions United with a surprise no-contact parade that doubled as a food drive. To help support the mission of the food pantry, we hosted a month-long virtual food drive to help restock the pantry! The staff members in the emergency on-site food pantry have provided over two decades of commitment and support to those vulnerable in our community. They have been working hard everyday face to face with clients throughout this pandemic.

Not only did we celebrate the Unions United team, but that weekend UWSD staff and volunteers joined the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council for a food distribution at SDCCU Stadium, providing over 640 individuals and families with produce and canned goods during these unprecedented times.

Now, more than ever, seniors need to remain safely in their homes. Many seniors are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and cannot venture out to find basic hygiene and personal care items. This year with the expanded Day of Action, UWSD collaborated with ElderHelp, a local nonprofit whose mission is to help seniors remain independent and live with dignity in their own homes, to assemble personal care kits. Volunteers were given supplies to take home, assemble, and instructed to return the completed kits to ElderHelp’s building. All coordination efforts, including picking up and dropping off the kits, were a no-contact transaction. Our eight volunteers put in 25 hours of service to supply ElderHelp with 300 kits for their seniors!

During these challenging times, United Way, with the help of individuals like you, can continue our impactful work as we have for the past 100 years for those in need in our community.

To learn about the Centennial Celebration, visit

How the CARES Act for COVID-19 Benefits Donors

By |2021-04-23T11:38:02-07:00April 21st, 2020|Categories: Giving|

How the CARES Act for COVID-19 Benefits Donors

new tax benefits for giving with blue background and person shaping a heart with hands

There are new incentives for donating to charity, based on the CARES ACT, the recently passed $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package.

Taxpayers who previously could not deduct their charitable contributions, because they took the standard deduction, can now deduct up to $300 of qualified charitable contributions on their 2020 tax return.

Now is a good time to give, if you can, not only because of these new tax benefits, but also because of the overwhelming community need. This health and financial crisis is impacting many in San Diego, who are struggling to cover basic needs.

Donate Now to United Way of San Diego County

Here is the tax benefit break down for those taking standard deductions, itemized deductions and corporate giving:

Standard Deduction

For people who take the standard deduction, the CARES ACT allows you to take a tax deduction for contributions made to qualified charitable entities up to $300 per year starting in 2020 – this deduction is “above-the-line.” The 2020 Standard deduction is $12,400 for individuals and $24,800 for married couples filing jointly. Therefore, any donation to qualifying charities of up to $300 will be added to the standard rate of deduction. This deduction applies for 2020 and beyond.

Itemized Deduction

For people who file for itemized deductions, the CARES ACT allows you to take a tax deduction of up to 100% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for contributions to qualifying charities starting in 2020. The new law temporarily lifts the limits on charitable giving from 60% of a taxpayer’s AGI to 100% for 2020.

Corporate Donations

For corporate donors, the CARES ACT allows an entity to take a tax deduction of up to 25% of their Adjusted Tax Income for contributions to qualifying charities starting in 2020. The new law temporarily lifts the limits from 10% of adjusted taxable income to 25% for 2020.

Ready to help San Diego?

There are so many ways to positively impact the community right now:

This information is not intended to be tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax advisor or lawyer for advice. These numbers are for demonstrative purposes and are subject to change. Rules in individual states may also apply.

United Way’s Guide to Free Food in San Diego During COVID-19

By |2021-04-23T11:36:08-07:00April 7th, 2020|Categories: Family Stability, Giving|

United Way’s Guide to Free Food in San Diego During COVID-19

person holds a bowl with a salad in it

Many San Diego County residents have lost their jobs, are hurting financially and worried about where their next meal will come from. Fortunately, there are many different ways to get food in San Diego, whether it’s from a local business, food bank, or other nonprofit program. The San Diego County response has been overwhelmingly impressive in this time of incredible need by making food more available. We applaud the businesses who are stepping up to serve the community, whether offering food for people who have lost jobs, or the workers on our front lines. If you can, support local businesses, especially the ones donating meals, as this will help them continue to serve the community. 

Here’s a rundown of the many places offering food for those in need:

Unions United

If you are food insecure and do not qualify for free meals at the restaurants listed below, please check out UWSD’s Unions United program, which helps local families get food and other basic necessities in times of need.

The San Diego Hunger Coalition

The San Diego Hunger Coalition has compiled extensive resources about where you can get food from food pantries and other relief options. Learn more here.

San Diego 2-1-1

If you need help getting access to food near you, you can also call 2-1-1 or go to the 2-1-1 website for a list of resources.

Free Meals at Schools

Any child 18 or younger can go to any school site providing meals and receive food during this period of school closures due to COVID-19. The San Diego County Office of Education has a comprehensive list of places offering free meals. They also have a mobile app to help people find the nearest locations. 

Feeding San Diego

Feeding San Diego is open to serve people right now. Click here for a list of locations

San Diego Food Bank

The San Diego Food Bank has food distributions scheduled from Monday, April 6 to Saturday, April 11.

Breakfast Republic – Mission Valley

For: Laid-off hospitality industry members

What: Pre-packaged comfort meals

When: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Mission Valley at 1570 Camino De La Reina

Contributions: Breakfast Republic is suggesting a $10 contribution for these meals, but the food will be free for those who can’t afford to pay. Patrons can also “pass it forward” and buy an extra meal for another customer.

Source: San Diego Eater

Karina’s Mexican Seafood – Bonita & National City

For: All first responders who show proper credentials — from firemen and policemen to hospital medical staff, EMTs, and paramedics

What: A free carnitas, fish, or sautéed vegetable burrito 

When: 12 p.m to 6 p.m. 

Where: 1705 Highland Ave, National City, CA 91950 and 89 Bonita Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91910

Contributions: Contact Karina’s Mexican Seafood 

Source: San Diego Eater

Metl – Downtown San Diego

For: San Diego’s unemployed hospitality industry workers

What: Free meals 

When: 12 p.m to 8 p.m.

Where: 748 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

Contributions: GoFundMe page

Source: San Diego Eater

Farmer’s Table Little Italy or Saltwater Restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter

For: Anyone on the front lines trying to combat the coronavirus pandemic

What: Free meals 

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday

Where: 550 W Date St. Suite A, San Diego, CA 92101 and 565 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Contributions: Contact San Diego Dining Group

Source: KUSI

Common Stock – Hillcrest

For: San Diegans who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis 

What: One free menu item per person

When: Regular business hours 

Where: 3805 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103

Contributions: Customers can donate a meal when ordering for pickup or delivery

Source: San Diego Eater

Note: The eatery has implemented a “passphrase” for those shy about asking for a handout; today’s code for free food is “Sirius Black was never evil”, and daily codes will be posted every morning on the restaurant’s Instagram page at @eatcommonstock.

The Prado at Balboa Park and 333 Pacific in Oceanside

For: Employees of the Cohn Restaurant Group

What: Free family-style meals for takeout 

When: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 

Where: 1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 and 

Contributions: Contact the Cohn Restaurant Group

Source: San Diego Union Tribune

Starbucks – Multiple Locations

For: Any customer who identifies as a first responder or frontline worker supporting our healthcare system

What: Free tall brewed coffee, either hot or iced.

When: Business hours

Where: Multiple locations

Contributions: Contact Starbucks

Source: USA Today

How United Way of San Diego County Is Helping

UWSD supports family stability year-round, not just during times of crisis, with rent/mortgage payments and food assistance. You can learn more about our Unions United program that supports families in need, as well as what we’re doing specifically to address the Coronavirus Crisis, with our Worker Assistance Initiative. The Initiative is designed to support low-wage workers who need assistance paying utilities and rent/mortgage bills due to layoffs or reduced hours.

How You Can Help

Is there something we missed? Let us know in the comments below. 

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