Conrad Prebys at a press conference in 2015 to announce a $100 million donation to what became the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. Photo by Alexander Nguyen

The Conrad Prebys Foundation announced Tuesday the selection of 121 arts, education, health and science projects to receive a combined $78 million in grant funding during the new foundation’s inaugural grant cycle.

The size of the grants ranged from a $7,500 one-time grant to a $15 million multiyear award. The grants went to 114 different nonprofit organizations, all but two of which are local.

“Our staff and board are honored to serve as stewards for The Conrad Prebys Foundation, and with our role comes the responsibility to empower the nonprofits creating meaningful change across San Diego,” said Erin Decker, director of grantmaking.

“The grantees have exhibited an extraordinary level of resilience, innovation and compassion during this very challenging time, and it is these organizations that will heal our community in the months and years to come,” Decker said. “The foundation is proud to be a part of their story.”

Among the awards made Tuesday:

  • $150,000 to University of San Diego to create a scholarship fund for nonprofit leaders of color.
  • $225,000 to San Diego Blood Bank to support two new mobile facilities for its Campaign for Life.
  • $1 million over two years for the San Diego River Park Foundation for a river education center at Grant Park
  • $50,000 to transcenDANCE youth arts project to support a new East County facility.
  • $1,000,000 to Scripps Research to support COVID-19-related efforts for outsmarting emerging pathogens.
  • $20,000 to Autism Tree Project to support children who face increased social interaction challenges due to the pandemic.
  • $30,000 to Tariq Khamisa Foundation to support a Safe School Program for kids impacted by gang violence.

Other recipients included Rady Children’s Hospital, Sharp HealthCare, KPBS, Scripps Research, San Diego State University and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. A full list of recipients is available online.

Recipients of the awards said they were both gratified and inspired by the support from the foundation amid the pandemic.

“Mingei International Museum is thrilled to be given a major $1.5 million grant by The Conrad Prebys Foundation in its in its inaugural funding cycle. This challenge match is a great help as we work to fund in full the comprehensive renovation of the museum, which is quickly moving toward completion,” said Rob Sidner, president and CEO of the Mingei.

“Art of Elan is honored and humbled to be among the 121 grantees who represent both the breadth and depth of impactful engagement work being done in our community during these extremely challenging times. This tremendous outpouring of support from The Conrad Prebys Foundation is both inspiring and motivating,” said Kate Hatmaker, founder and artistic director of the classical music collaborative.

In addition to the grants announced Tuesday, the foundation has already received letters of intent for its next grant cycle, which will be announced this summer.

The foundation was established by the late real estate entrepreneur Conrad Prebys, who died in 2016, to perpetuate his commitment to philanthropic endeavors.

“During his philanthropic years, Conrad experienced so much joy through the act of giving to causes he was passionate about,” said Tony Cortes, a longtime friend and board chair of the foundation. “The foundation hopes that these gifts — including the many matching opportunities being funded — will inspire others to feel that same ‘jump-up-and-down’ joy through giving.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.