FAQ

FAQs

Membership FAQs
When is my annual membership contribution due?
How may I pay my membership contribution?
Is my membership contribution tax deductible?
Why is there an initial 5 year requirement?
What happens after I have completed my initial 5 year commitment?
What is the time obligation/commitment?
Is there a way to check out the organization before joining?

Grantmaking FAQs
How much experience do I have to have to be on the Grants Committee?
How do I get to be a member of the Grants Committee?
What are the focus areas for our grants?
What is the minimum grant award?
Does SDWF have a conflict of interest policy?
What are the requirements to participate on the Grants Committee?

Finance FAQs
The SDWF is a Supporting Organization of The San Diego Foundation (TSDF). What does that mean?
What support does TSDF provide the SDWF?
How are SDWF Members’ funds allocated?
What asset pools exist under the SDWF?
What is the SDWF Endowment Fund?
What are the SDWF Endowment Fund Goals?
How is the SDWF Endowment Fund invested?
What are the operating and management costs for the SDWF Endowment Fund?
What is the current spending policy for the SDWF Endowment Fund?
What is the SDWF Non-Endowment Fund and its source of revenue?
How is the SDWF Non-Endowment Fund invested?
How is the SDWF Operating Fund determined and administered?
What are the SDWF Operating Fund sources of revenue?
Outside of SDWF annual membership contributions, how is the SDWF and its mission supported?

Membership FAQs

When is my annual membership contribution due?
Your membership contribution is paid in five annual installments. SDWF has two billing cycles; February and August. If you join between January and May your billing cycle will be in February. If you join between June and December, your billing cycle will be in August.
A Membership Contribution Request Form is sent to you annually.


How may I pay my membership contribution?
Payment options are:

  • A check made payable to The San Diego Women’s Foundation.
  • Payment by credit card. When a credit card is used, a tax deductible transaction fee of 3.5% will be applied to help reduce our operating costs.
  • Payment by stock or from a Donor Advised Fund. Contact SDWF for details.
  • Matching Funds from Employer. Many organizations support their employee’s charitable contributions with matching funds. The SDWF encourages all members to seek additional contributions through employer matching fund programs.

More details are available on payments options on our Join Us page.


Is my membership contribution tax deductible?
All contributions to the San Diego Women’s Foundation are fully tax-deductible.


Why is there an initial 5 year requirement?
We have established an initial 5 year membership commitment in order to provide a strong and viable financial and organizational base.


What happens after I have completed my initial 5 year commitment?
Your commitment following the initial period is on an annual basis. Our goal is to inspire you to continue indefinitely.


What is the time obligation/commitment?
The only time requirement is the time it takes to sign up and to vote for your grant selections each year. Opportunities to become more involved through committee work and special programs are limitless.


Is there a way to check out the organization before joining?
Absolutely! On a regular basis we have introductory neighborhood coffees and programs that you may attend. Or you can call our Executive Director for more information at 619-814-1374 or email sdwf@sdfoundation.org.


Grantmaking FAQs

How much experience do I have to have to be on the Grants Committee?
You do not need any experience in making grants to be on the committee. One of the main purposes of the Grants Committee is to teach women how to become philanthropists. We provide the experience and requisite training for our grantmaking process.


How do I get to be a member of the Grants Committee?
Once you have become an SDWF member just call or email sdwf@sdfoundation.org our office to sign up.


What are the focus areas for our grants?
Each year our grants focus rotates among: Health and Human Services, Civil Society, Economic Development and Employment, Environment, Arts and Culture, Education.


What is the minimum grant award?
The minimum grant that we make is $25,000.


Does SDWF have a conflict of interest policy?
Yes. It is important that the community knows that we are ethical in the distribution of our grant dollars. We require each grants committee member to sign a Conflict of Interest form annually.


What are the requirements to participate on the Grants Committee?
All of the teams that are part of the grants process require a commitment of time and talent. There are three sub-committees (teams) of the Grants Committee: Discovery, Implementation, and Impact. Typically you will select to be on one of those teams.

Discovery Team requirements:

  • Sign up is required in the summer. This team has a limited number of participants.
  • It is a cumulative process that requires a full year commitment of regular meetings, independent study and community research.

Implementation Team requirements:
You are encouraged to attend monthly grants committee meetings to become informed about the focus area for the year. Specifically you:

  • Must understand the year’s proposal criteria and guidelines
  • Must attend one of the monthly grants committee meetings
  • Must attend one of two training sessions:
  • Proposal Review training if participating in proposal reviews
  • Site Visit training if attending site visits
  • Must have participated in a proposal review or gone on 2 site visits in order to participate in the ballot selection.

Impact Team requirements:

  • Attend regular meetings.
  • Evaluate and track the effectiveness and success of our grants.
  • Serve as Community Partner liaisons.

The overarching goal is to have our members well trained and educated on the topic so that our entire membership can be confident that every proposal on the ballot has been vetted to the best of our ability.


Finance FAQs

The SDWF is a Supporting Organization of The San Diego Foundation (TSDF). What does that mean?
The SDWF is a distinct legal, charitable entity affiliated with TSDF. However, SDWF has separate Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws for its governance. SDWF chooses to affiliate with TSDF in order to streamline operations and gain efficiencies. While SDWF supports TSDF’s mission to improve the quality of life within all of our communities, it also has the distinct mission to educate and inspire women to engage in significant and sustainable philanthropy.


What support does TSDF provide the SDWF?
Since the founding of the SDWF, the San Diego Foundation has generously contributed to the operational expenses of the SDWF. Although 10% of each SDWF member’s contribution goes into the operating fund of the organization, members’ contributions do not yet cover the operating expenses. TSDF provides a TSDF/SDWF negotiated subsidy to those expenses as well as office space for both staff and SDWF meetings.  Details of the negotiated subsidy may be obtained from the SDWF Director, Tracy Johnson.


How are SDWF Members’ funds allocated?
SDWF members commit to an annual contribution of $2,000 for a minimum of five years, totaling $10,000. For each fiscal year, the members’ contributions are allocated as follows:
45% of each contribution is allocated to the SDWF Endowment Fund to support San Diego’s communities in perpetuity;
45% of each contribution is allocated to the SDWF Non-Endowment Fund for grantmaking to non-profit organizations in the San Diego region;
10% of each contribution is allocated to the SDWF Operating Fund for administrative and operational costs associated with the SDWF. All contributions to the San Diego Women’s Foundation are fully tax-deductible.


What asset pools exist under the SDWF?
The SDWF Endowment Fund, The SDWF Non-Endowment Fund, and The SDWF Operating Fund.


What is the SDWF Endowment Fund?
The SDWF Endowment Fund is comprised of 45% of the annual contribution of each SDWF member and the earnings on those contributions. The Endowment Fund is permanent with the requirement that the principal is never spent. The balance in the SDWF Endowment Fund is invested in a pool with TSDF’s long-term assets and oversight is provided by the Investment Committee of TSDF.


What are the SDWF Endowment Fund Goals?
The Fund’s purpose is to provide income in perpetuity for the benefit of SDWF’s future and its mission. As the Endowment Fund grows to fully support ongoing SDWF operations, we anticipate that excess endowment fund earnings will be invested back into the community.


How is the SDWF Endowment Fund invested?
The SDWF Endowment Fund represents a portion of the total assets in TSDF’s endowment funds and is invested in TSDF’s Balanced Pool portfolio, which is structured for long-term total return. To provide diversification and to moderate risk, the investments are divided into carefully-defined asset classes. Money managers are hired by TSDF through a competitive process. The investment performance of each money manager is monitored by TSDF’s Investment Committee and an independent investment consultant retained by TSDF.


What are the operating and management costs for the SDWF Endowment Fund?
TSDF charges the SDWF a support fee annually for management of the SDWF Endowment Fund. The TSDF support charge ranges between .5% and 1.5% annually. Expenses (custodial services of bank, reporting and professional money managers) are also charged to the fund. These expenses range between .25% and 1%.


What is the current spending policy for the SDWF Endowment Fund?
TSDF disburses annually 5% of principal market value of the Endowment Fund earnings. The 5% less the TSDF support fee is distributed monthly to the SDWF Operating Fund. Any investment gain over the 5% is posted to the endowment principal. Any investment loss is reflected in the SDWF Operating Fund.


What is the SDWF Non-Endowment Fund and its source of revenue?
The purpose of The SDWF Non-Endowment Fund is to provide funds for granting purposes. All contributions to the Non-Endowment Fund are available for grant distribution. The Non-Endowment Fund does not have a permanent principal. Grant recipients are selected by the SDWF membership through the SDWF granting process. 45% of each member’s annual contribution goes into the SDWF Non-Endowment Fund.


How is the SDWF Non-Endowment Fund invested?
The SDWF Non-Endowment Fund is invested in TSDF Non-Endowment Fund – Pool A, a 100% money market fund because liquidity is essential. Earnings generated are credited to this fund on a monthly basis.


How is the SDWF Operating Fund determined and administered?
The SDWF Operating Fund was established to cover the operating costs of the SDWF. Annually, an operating budget is prepared for each fiscal year and approved by the SDWF Board and TSDF’s Board of Governors. Monthly reports are reviewed by the SDWF Finance Committee, the SDWF Board and used as an input for the following fiscal year’s budget process.


What are the SDWF Operating Fund sources of revenue?
The Operating Fund revenue sources are:

  1. Distributable Balance of the SDWF Endowment
  2. Member Annual Contributions

The Board may elect to allocate up to 10% of each member’s annual contribution to The SDWF Operating Fund.


Outside of SDWF annual membership contributions, how is the SDWF and its mission supported?
The Operating Fund revenue sources are:

  1. Other Contributions – Employer matching contributions, angel gifts, and corporate underwriting are some examples of additional sources of revenue.
  2. Endowment and Legacy Gifts – A lasting contribution to the SDWF may be made as an endowment or legacy gift in honor of an individual or special event or milestone.