Since 1920, United Way of San Diego County has been an testagent of change. Yet our role as a community leader in solving Health & Human Services issues has remained unchanged. We advance the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. Our focus is oneducation, financial self-sufficiency, health and homeless prevention — integrate these efforts and you have the building blocks for a good life. Why? Because statistics show us that:
- Every year, a million teens drop out of high school
- Only one in three working parents earn enough to support their families
- Only one in three adults are considered healthy
We’re helping children, youth and struggling families. We’re using our unique role to build public/private partnerships that are making significant progress in all of these areas. To help solve these community issues, we recruit the people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. As we work to strengthen our community and bring real solutions to our region’s most pressing problems, we help improve the lives of all San Diegans.
The Center on Policy Initiatives is a nonprofit research and action institute dedicated to advancing economic equity for working people and diverse communities throughout the San Diego region. CPI works to increase access to good jobs and quality healthcare, and to improve conditions for low-wage workers and families.
The Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice (ICWJ) of San Diego County is a membership organization, established in 1998, to bring the power and energy of the faith community’s moral authority to local struggles for worker justice. ICWJ represents clergy, synagogues, churches, mosques, faith and justice organizations, and many people of faith in the San Diego region who feel called by their respective religious traditions to work for justice and stand up for the poor and marginalized. Men and women have a basic right to productive lives, including compensated employment. Part of compensated employment is the right to just and living wages and other benefits to sustain a life with dignity. Included in the benefits are adequate health care, security for old age or disability, unemployment compensation, healthful and safe working conditions, weekly and daily rest, family leave, periodic holidays for recreation and leisure, and reasonable security against abuse, harassment, and arbitrary dismissal. These provisions are all essential if workers are to be treated as persons of dignity rather than as mere “factors of production.”
Alliance San Diego is the community empowerment organization that builds coalitions to promote justice and social change.
The San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP) is a faith-based community organization which has united people throughout the county since 1979. As a result, a powerful voice has emerged that is responding to community concerns and creating a future of hope for all of San Diego. A member of PICO, a national network of faith-based community organizations, SDOP believes that San Diego’s greatest resource is its people. SDOP’s mission is to build powerful volunteer-driven organizations that:
- Listen to hundreds of people
- Develop solutions to community concerns
- Implement those solutions
The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties fights for individual rights and fundamental freedoms for all through education, litigation, and policy advocacy. We envision a society where fairness prevails and where liberty and justice exist for all. As a non-partisan organization committed to fulfilling the aspirations of the Bill of Rights, the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties believes in:
- The dignity and equality of every human being
- Vigilance against abuse of power
- The principled approach rather than the convenient one when individuals’ rights are at stake
- Speaking truth to power even when it is unpopular to do so
- Fairness and respect in human and organizational interactions
- An educated and participatory public
In 2000, when the State of California named March 31st Cesar Chavez Day, community leaders who had known Cesar Chavez and served within the movement he founded sought a way to engage young people in the community service that characterized his life. They created the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs, a highly successful leadership development and community service program active in many local schools. By forming student clubs, teaching the ten values Cesar Chavez embodied, and carrying out service projects for community benefit, the Clubs inspire students to believe in themselves. These students learn through their experiences that they can make a lasting difference. Our 21 clubs provide leadership and service opportunities to over 400 members guided by 22 Club Coordinators. Combining the clubs, this year we will hold 500 meetings totaling 10,000 club member hours. Including the total time of the members, Club Coordinators, volunteers and staff, the Clubs will invest 15,000 hours in leadership development activities. We have a waiting list of additional schools that want a Club at their school. Research has demonstrated that Chavistas’ reading scores on standardized tests improve markedly. Educators embrace the Clubs’ work because of its positive effect on students’ attitudes and behavior. The dropout rate among program participants is low, while their retention of information and attendance at school are high. Many go on to be leaders in class, at work, and in the community.
Founded in 1999 the Employee Rights Center has as its mission, offering all San Diego area workers, especially disadvantaged workers without union representation, education and advocacy regarding their workplace issues. It is the only non-profit organization in the area that offers legal services regarding employment and labor law. During 2009 alone, The Center won over $1.5 million in benefits and $250,000 in unpaid wage claims for its clients and has educated thousands of workers about their rights and benefits. The Center was founded as a program of a local 501c3 organization now named Labor’s Training & Community Development Alliance. Founder Peter Zschiesche brought 20 years’ experience of labor law as a labor union representative to promote economic and social justice among the large population of low-wage workers without unions, the majority of whom are recent immigrants to the U.S. The two initial $3,000 grants from the San Diego Foundation for Change and UC San Diego’s Civic Collaborative reflected the Center’s mission from the start to reach beyond the unionized workforce that has the protections of union contracts to the many other workers in the San Diego community who lack those protections in seeking workplace justice, such as safe working conditions and the right to report workplace injuries. Ever since opening the Center has been and remains the only local non-profit organization focused on workplace and immigration rights for all workers. In recent years, with major support from some California-based foundations and refinement of its fee-for-services model the Center has grown to a paid staff of four, including two young attorneys specializing in employment and immigration law. As a founding member of the San Diego Immigration Rights Consortium in 2007 it also operates their 24-hour hotline. The Center gets regular referrals from the Legal Aid Society, the county Bar Association’s lawyer referral service, Mexican Consulate, local unions, many community partners, and local attorneys. The Center also provides community workshops with its community partners to hundreds of immigrant workers yearly seeking workplace justice.