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Monday, Jun 24, 2024

Nonprofit Profile: Tracy Johnson

Tracy Johnson


Name: Tracy Johnson.

Organization: The San Diego Women’s Foundation.

Title: Director.

No. of employees: Two.

Website: sdwomensfoundation.org.

Education: B.A. in psychology and a M. Ed from University of Maine.

Birthplace: Libby, Mont.

Current residence: San Diego.

Family: Husband, Rudy Johnson; two sons, Kyle and Niko.

As director for The San Diego Women’s Foundation, or SDWF, Tracy Johnson oversees the organization’s operations, including building and supporting its membership and philanthropic programs, ensuring that both members and community partners (grantees) experience and take advantage of all that SDWF offers. The foundation is a membership organization where women collectively pool their charitable contributions and grant the funds to local nonprofits through a strategic grant-making process.


Mission of organization: SDWF educates and inspires members to engage in significant and sustainable philanthropy to strengthen the San Diego region.

Year founded: 2000.

Milestone: Exceeding $2 million in grant-making to 58 local nonprofit


Administrative expense as percent of revenue: 17 percent.

Board chair: Eileen Haag.

No. of board members: 22.

No. of employees: Two.

No. of volunteers: More than 215.

Events: Kickoff of annual grants cycle each September and annual Grants Celebration in June and ongoing education and engagement programs/opportunities throughout the year.

Wish list: Even greater community impact accomplished through more members collectively pooling financial resources to make a significant



Recent challenge: Maintaining our membership and level of grant-making to local nonprofits during economic hard times.

Measures of success: Our members feel educated inspired and connected to our community partners (grantees) through our grant-making process and realize the incredible difference they are making in our community through collectively working together.

Smartest move: Our founders’ decision to create and continue to build an endowment to assure long-term


Misconception: That SDWF supports only organizations focused on issues specific to women and girls. The organization believes all issues affect women and girls.


Personal path to this organization: Rehabilitation specialist for foster children throughout college, director of an outpatient mental health clinic in an inner-city of Massachusetts, director of sexual assault services for Center for Community Solutions, San Diego.

Toughest aspect: Telling organizations that SDWF isn’t able to fund the program for which they are seeking funding.

Most surprising aspect: The true power of pooled philanthropy. What can be done when we collectively pool our resources is far greater than most of us can ever hope to do alone.

Biggest pain: Thoroughly vetting as many as 20 critical projects that are deserving of funding each year, but being able to fund just five or six.

Greatest pleasure: Hearing the stories from the people whose lives have been changed because of our ability to support programs throughout our region.


Best recent moment: The adoption of our youngest son, Niko.

Worst recent moment: Experiencing the budget cuts within our local educational system.

Dream for another life: Eradicating the abuse of children and ensuring all a loving home.

Downtime: Playing and exploring with my boys, date nights with my husband, girl time with my best girlfriends, traveling and shopping.

Causes: Foster children needing a forever family and child abuse prevention.

Favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” — Gandhi.

Favorite way to spend time: Just being with family and close friends.


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