Hand to Hand is a group of women who grant funds to local non-profits which promote economic self-sufficiency and positive change in the lives of women and girls.


In the spring of 2008, a group of women began to discuss ways that they could make a difference in the community for women and girls through their joint philanthropy.  In October 2008 Hand to Hand was established as a charitable fund at Coastal Community Foundation. Nineteen women joined as founders.


Hand to Hand makes an impact in the lives of women and girls in San Diego County by directly resources to programs that empower change and self-sufficiency.  Hand to Hand fulfills its mission by funding education and job training for women, programs to help women re-enter the work force, mentoring programs for girls, and microloan programs through non-profit organizations.

Why You Should Join:

Grant funds are made possible through the membership donations. By investing $500, you become a voting member and you will be able to help select the grant recipients. OR you can participate as a “Friend” of Hand to Hand and your donation at any level provides additional funding for grants.

Additional information on becoming a member can be found in the Files section on the top right of this page – Hand to Hand Donation Form. Donations may be made online by clicking on the Donate button which will take you to a secure page.

Chair Persons:

Chair of Hand to Hand: KJ Koljonen

Grants Committee Chair: Carol Zeenkov

Grantee Relations Committee Chair: Mary Murphy

Finance Committee:  Trisha O’Neal

Membership Committee  Chair: Amy Larson

Hospitality Chair: Jody Sather

Grant History:

Over the past 14 years, Hand to Hand has distributed grants totaling over $488,000 for programs and services for women and girls.

2023 grants:

  • Exposure Skate
  • Alabaster Jar Project
  • Poetic Justice
  • ElderHelp
  • Project Next (San Marcos Promise)

2022 grants:

  • All Tribes Charter School serves girls – empowering them with tools to grow in their self-confidence, self-esteem, self-sufficiency, identity, and independence, as well as a possible new career choice ahead.
  • Operation Hope’s vision – to promotes economic self-sufficiency and positive change to the lives of women and children who are experiencing homelessness.
  • The North County African American Women’s (NCAAW) – dedicated to providing a support network through education, health awareness, and life skills program for women and girls in San Diego North County
  • ElderHelp of San Diego – focuses on the needs of seniors in San Diego, enabling them to be independent and remain in their homes. The majority of their clients are women.

2021 grants:

  • Brother Benno Foundation – helping underserved women obtain the identification papers needed to access support services
  • Foundation for Women Warriors – providing transition and emergency services for female veterans in need
  • MANA de San Diego – supporting the economic mobility of Latinas through mentoring and leadership programs
  • Operation Hope North County – assisting women and children transition out of homelessness through Steps to Independence program

2020 grants:

  • Dreams for Change – housing assistance for young women as a result of COVID-19
  • Just in Time for Foster Youth – resilience checks for young women as a result of job loss and for emergency needs
  • Kitchens for Good – for case management for women in the job training program and hunger relief meals for the community

2019 grants:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Vista – SMART Girls
  • Girls Rising – summer programs
  • Operation Hope, Vista – year-round shelter program for women
  • Reading Legacies – reading program form mothers in jail to read to their children

2018 grants:

  • Barrio Logan College Institute – helping first generation students get on the path to college
  • Girls Rising – mentor program for girls
  • National Veteran Transition Services – Operation Empower for women transitioning out of the military
  • New Entra Casa for the residential treatment program for women upon release from jail
  • Reading Legacies for the Family Correction Program which encourages literacy for women in correctional facilities

2017 grants:

  • Dreams for Change for Eat Better Today, a job readiness program
  • Generate Hope for housing and recovery program for sex trafficking victims
  • New Entra Casa for the residential treatment program for women upon release from jail
  • Reading Legacies for the Family Correction Program which encourages literacy for women in correctional facilities
  • TLC Assistance Dogs Inc for support of their program at the County Girls Rehabilitation facility training service dogs

2009-2016 grants:

  • Angel Faces for a retreat to help girls with severe facial disfigurements build a positive self-image (2009/2012)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Vista (2015) SMART (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) program for girls
  • Casa Cornelia Law Center for the domestic violence program (2012 / 2013 / 2015)
  • Community Resource Center for Life Skills training for domestic abuse survivors (2009)
  • Foundation for Women a micro-credit loan program to help women in poverty start a business (2010)
  • From the Inside Out for the Girls Only mentoring program (2009 / 2011)
  • Generate Hope ($10,000) residential treatment program for victims of sex trafficking (2016)
  • Girls on the Run for development and support of a North County program (2009 / 2011 / 2015)
  • Girls Rising for girls’ mentor program (2013 / 2014 / 2015)
  • Just in Time for Foster Youth for Career Horizons program for girls (2012 / 2014 /2015)
  • Karen Organization of San Diego ($5,700) women’s mentoring circles for Burmese refugees in San Diego (2016)
  • Kitchens for Good ($10,000) culinary job training and life skills program for women in need (2016)
  • Leap to Success for the women’s leadership program (2011)
  • MANA de North County San Diego for the Hermanitas® mentorship program (2010)
  • MANA de San Diego for the Hermanitas® mentorship program (2015)
  • New Entra Casa for residential treatment program for women being released from prison (2014 / 2016)
  • San Diego Hope House to develop a “cottage industry” for women who have been victims of human trafficking (2011)
  • Shakti Rising for the Transformational Recovery Program for women (2009 / 2010)
  • Welcome Home Ministries for Fair Dorm project and peer re-entry program (2013/ 2014)