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  • Writer's pictureABIGAIL SAHM

Sahm Family Foundation Announces Nearly $1 Million in Grants to Seniors

SAN DIEGO (March 5, 2020)—The future of San Diego’s seniors became a little brighter today, thanks to the Sahm Family Foundation, a private foundation based in Rancho Santa Fe that announced its approval of nearly $1 million in grants to various senior centers and senior-focused agencies and programs across the county. It is one of the largest grants ever made to San Diego’s aging population.

“This is something that was very important to my grandparents when they started this foundation in 1997,” said Christopher A. Sahm, president and chairman of the Sahm Family Foundation, and grandson of co-founders Roland and Ramona Sahm. “Now we are in a position to really make a difference in this area.”

Nationally, there is a major shortage of philanthropy when it comes to senior programs and services. Less than 2 percent of all institutional giving in the United States goes to seniors. And yet, the need to support this vulnerable population continues to rise.

By 2030, San Diego will have 930,000 residents over the age of 60, a 130 percent increase since 2000. This influx will strain the already fragile network of existing services for seniors, as statistics show that 40 percent of elder San Diegans face severe economic hardship and just under 2% of Californians are insured for long-term care. The Sahm Family Foundation’s grants are helping call attention to this mounting crisis, and its board members hope other philanthropists will soon follow suit.

The 2019 grants vary in amount, ranging from $8,000 to $100,000. Examples include a $100,000 grant to ElderHelp to support its HomeShare program, which matches seniors who live alone with roommates, so that older adults may continue living in their homes as they age. Elder Law and Advocacy received $60,000 for an elder abuse prevention campaign. And another grant went to Serving Seniors to purchase two hotshot trucks, which will help the agency add two new home-delivery routes and serve an additional 73,000 meals to an additional 100 homebound seniors each year.

The foundation also awarded grants to 12 senior centers. A recent study by the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation revealed that the county’s senior centers are in grave disrepair and in drastic need of funding. The Sahm grants will facilitate equipment and various building upgrades. They will also help these centers expand their nutrition programs, transportation, caregiving, housing, and other essential services.

Additionally, the foundation awarded grants to The Old Globe and Museum of Photographic Arts in support of programming that will directly benefit older adults with lower incomes, whose access to the arts is limited or nonexistent.

The welfare of seniors is one of the Sahm Family Foundation’s three focus areas. The others are the welfare of children, along with the visual and performing arts.

About the Sahm Family Foundation

The Sahm Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, a private family foundation based in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. It was started in 1997 by Roland and Ramona Sahm to support the welfare of seniors, the welfare of children, and the visual and performing arts, in San Diego County and beyond. The foundation is currently overseen by an appointed board of directors, and grant applications are by invitation only. For more information, visit


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