Level Up SD seeks nonprofits to assist San Diego Unified students

By SDCN Editor

San Diego, CA–Nonprofits are invited to participate in 2023 Level Up SD by submitting proposals to provide free summer learning programs for San Diego Unified School District students, under a partnership with the San Diego Foundation funded by San Diego Unified School District. 

New data reveals greater learning loss for students compared to pre-pandemic levels than originally estimated. The needs are the greatest amongst students traditionally furthest from opportunity, such as students from low-income or English learner backgrounds, widening already existing learning gaps between white students and students of color.

“Level Up SD Summer 2023 is a vital partnership that nurtures a diverse and resilient local workforce by providing social-emotional and enhanced learning support to address pandemic-related gaps in academic achievement,” said Mark Stuart, President and CEO of the San Diego Foundation. “Supporting San Diego Unified students with unique learning experiences expands their opportunities as they prepare for success in life and work.”

Level Up SD was launched in the summer of 2021 to provide free summer academic and enrichment programming for students enrolled in San Diego Unified schools, from Universal Transitional Kindergarten through high school. Combined with morning academic programming provided by San Diego Unified, more than 12,000 students enrolled in afternoon enrichment programming provided by 90 San Diego-area nonprofit organizations during the summer of 2022. 

Data shows that high-quality summer learning programs accelerate learning, help minimize the opportunity gap for students who face challenges throughout the school year, and nurture a sense of community and belonging among students. This is especially true for those student groups most deeply impacted by COVID-19, including students who are low-income and those from underrepresented communities.  

“San Diego Unified is thrilled to once again partner with the San Diego Foundation on Level Up SD so all students have access to meaningful summer enrichment programs,” said San Diego Unified Superintendent Dr. Lamont Jackson. “Every student deserves summer experiences that allow them to thrive and gives them a chance to develop a sense of belonging in all that San Diego has to offer – from surf camp to theater camp, and so much more.”

San Diego Unified’s Level Up SD uses funds from the California Department of Education Expanded Learning Opportunities Program and Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant. The foundation is offering $10 million in grant funding for Level Up SD summer 2023 to support Universal Transitional Kindergarten to eighth-grade students. Interested nonprofits serving grades K to 8 must submit a Letter of Interest to the foundation to be considered for an invitation to submit a full application. Letters of Interest must be submitted online by noon on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023.  

LOIs submitted to the foundation will be reviewed in mid-January and selected nonprofit organizations will be invited to apply for a Level Up SD grant in February. A pre-recorded grant application webinar became available on Dec. 22, and questions about the grant application process can be submitted to summerlearning@sdfoundation.org. Grant amounts may range from $50,000 to $500,000 and fund an array of program types that offer not only enrichment activities but also a strong academic component. In addition to the foundation grants, San Diego Unified also has opportunities for nonprofit program providers to serve grades 9-12 as part of Level Up SD Summer 2023. Interested high school nonprofit providers should contact San Diego Unified Operations Specialist Sara Guinn at sguinn@sandi.net. 

With nearly 100,000 students enrolled in Universal Transitional Kindergarten through high school, more than 13,000 employees, and 226 educational facilities, San Diego Unified is California’s second-largest school district. A leader among urban districts, San Diego Unified is a majority-minority district with a diverse student population representing multiple ethnic groups and more than 60 languages and dialects. In addition to academics, San Diego Unified provides extensive wrap-around services for families. Its graduates include top scientists, writers, leaders, and sports stars. Learn more at sandiegounified.org.

San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region. Our strategic priorities include advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy to realize our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities. The Education Initiative supports K-12 and higher education programs to extend opportunities to San Diego students as they prepare for success in life and work. 

For more than 47 years, the foundation and its donors have granted more than $1.4 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at SDFoundation.org.



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