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Jacobs Family Foundation (1988–projected: 2030)

Total Assets (2013): $150,369,772

Total Assets (2002): $83,366, 827

Total Giving (2013): $81,274

Total Giving (2002): $163,152

Prominent Grants: Giving limited to the Village at Market Creek, a 60-acre community development plan in southeastern San Diego.

Summary: The Jacobs Family Foundation (JFF) explores new philanthropic roles and relationships for strengthening under-invested neighborhoods by making grants and other investments that support innovative, practical strategies for community change.

JFF’s funding focus is in support of partners and projects that comprise The Village at Market Creek, a 60-acre community development plan in the Diamond Neighborhoods of southeastern San Diego created by teams of community residents.

The Jacobs Family Foundation (JFF) was founded in 1988 by the late Joseph J. Jacobs, Jr., (1916-2004), his wife, Violet, and daughters Meg, Linda, and Valerie.

Joseph and Violet, both children of Lebanese immigrants, grew up in strong families of humble means in Brooklyn, New York. When the company they started in 1947, the now $9-billion Jacobs Engineering Group, went public, the family chose to invest its wealth in creating opportunities for others.

At first, JFF was solely a grantmaker. Then non-profit directors asked for hands-on help, and technical assistance was added to the foundation’s role. In time, those relationships revealed that it takes time for individuals and organizations to grow strong, which confirmed the commitment not just to fund a program, but to develop long-term, non-profit strengthening partnerships.

Those first partnerships revealed a great deal about how communities work and how issues interconnect. Meaningful change can’t happen project-by-project. It requires investing in and working with a community and its people over time.

In 1998, JFF and its sister organization, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation (JCNI), moved into the Diamond Neighborhoods of southeastern San Diego, a diverse network of neighborhoods. The organization’s work will continue in this area until the foundation sunsets in about the year 2030. By that time, ownership of the assets created through the partnership will be transferred to the community.