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Press Release: San Diego Seniors Community Foundation Announces $1 Million Fundraising Initiative to Support Seniors Impacted by COVID-19

SAN DIEGO, October 21, 2020

  • Lasting impacts from COVID-19 will give rise to extended challenges for San Diego’s older adult population as they face adverse health impacts from isolation
  • 23 percent of seniors in San Diego County do not have enough income to meet basic needs, a reality that is only amplified by COVID-19 
  • As a newer foundation, the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation joins ranks with only a few such foundations in the nation dedicated to addressing senior’s needs

WHAT: The San Diego Seniors Community Foundation announces its historic $1 Million No Senior Alone initiative designed to address the challenges facing the region’s older adult population. At the forefront are the lasting impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, which are hitting older adults hardest with anticipated health issues from enduring isolation. With support from this effort, the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation will reinvest the dollars raised into local senior-serving organizations through a grantmaking program later this year.

Bob Kelly, founder, CEO, and president of San Diego Seniors Community Foundation, also shared today that the Sahm Family Foundation has offered a $500,000 matching grant to help end social isolation during COVID-19. With an incentive to double other donations received, the gift aims to encourage more leaders in the region to support the older adult population, which is expected to be one in four San Diegans by 2030 (age 60+).     

WHY: Older people have much to offer their communities. Nearly 24 percent of adults 65+ volunteer and 17 percent are still in the workforce, but barriers erected from stereotypes, ageism, and a lack of supportive resources stop them from reaching their fullest potential. Kelly, a senior himself, founded the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation to address four key issues facing the population: 

  • The struggle with isolation and loneliness for many older adults
  • The region’s lack of a strong network of infrastructure and social services to support older people
  • Ageism preventing older adults from fully participating in their communities
  • The absence of vocal champions for San Diego’s aging network

HOW: The $1 Million No Senior Alone Initiative is just the beginning of the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation’s plan to address the region’s shortcomings and to improve life for older adults. This initial round of dollars raised will be distributed later this year to trustworthy organizations in San Diego County to help them build greater capacity in their senior programming and services to meet the immediate needs of older adults unjustly impacted by COVID-19.

Watch the video of our press conference


“COVID-19 is indiscriminate in choosing who it affects, and the reality for older people is that we are at high risk of infection and at even higher risk of long-lasting impacts due to social isolation. Health and economic wellbeing later in life has little to do with personal sacrifice on an individual level. It has more to do with our collective willingness to give where it helps to build a community that supports all of its residents. That’s what the No Senior Alone initiative is about.” said Bob Kelly, founder, CEO, and president of San Diego Seniors Community Foundation.

“Nationally, there is a major shortage of philanthropy when it comes to senior programs and services, but here in San Diego, by 2030, we will have 930,000 residents over the age of 60 (a 130 percent increase since 2000). The Sahm Family Foundation is pleased to support the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation with a matching gift of $500,000 to help it raise a $1 million to fund local senior-serving nonprofits. We kindly invite leaders in the San Diego region to join us to ensure San Diego leaves No Senior Alone,” said Abigail Sahm, a family member representing the Sahm Family Foundation. 

“One of the things that I have found that is very crucial for seniors is the isolation issue. Isolation is something that if you become a couch potato, your chances of survival are very minimal. You need to get involved, go outside, talk to your neighbor, or walk the block, enjoy the scenery – don’t let your brain betray you. Go out there and become a member of the community. We all belong to this world, we all need to enjoy it, and we all need to have the services. The services that are being provided by these wonderful agencies, and the people that are involved in making sure the senior community is addressed, is a blessing,” said Luis Monge, an active senior who serves on the California Senior Legislature.


  • One in three adults age 65+ live alone, and one in four are at risk of becoming “elder orphans” with no one to care for them as they age
  • Stereotypes lead to discrimination against older people in many areas of life, from healthcare to the workplace, greatly affecting the 23% of older people in the region who do not make enough money to meet their basic needs – food, rent, medicine. According to UCLA’s Elder Index Dashboard, 31% of Latino elders, 26.8% of Black elders, 19.5% of Asian elders, and 16.8% of White elders fall below the index (meaning they don’t have enough income to make ends meet). 
  • Most of San Diego County’s senior centers were built more than 30 years ago.



About SDSCF: The San Diego Seniors Community Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 2017. Its priority focus is to improve the lives of all seniors in San Diego County, so they are physically active, socially connected, and receive the care and necessities for a healthy, dynamic life. SDSCF is founded on the vision of Bob Kelly, former president and CEO of The San Diego Foundation. He is a passionate advocate and committed leader who envisions a world where the senior population is an essential element of our community—where they are no longer vulnerable, but vibrant. SDSCF is one of only a few foundations in the country solely focused on seniors. It exists to ensure that no local senior is left without access to the resources to thrive. For more information visit

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