Grantees with Mark Stuart and Steve Klosterman. Voices of Our City Choir’s CEO Steph Johnson, far right. Photo from the San Diego Foundation.
This year, Voices of Our City Choir was chosen among nine other nonprofits as the first recipients of Jay Kahn’s generous $100M legacy to San Diego. Khan left the third-largest unrestricted gift to a U.S. community foundation. Voices will receive the initial $50,000 in February—a transformative gift for the small-but-mighty nonprofit. With the San Diego Foundation’s $150,000 funding over the next three years, Voices will welcome new members to its creative community for adults experiencing homelessness.
Voices of Our City Choir’s music & arts program helps move members from living unhoused towards shelter and self-sufficiency. Since relocating to Bankers Hill last year, the nonprofit brings its outreach, life skills programming, meals, and music rehearsals to a neighborhood with limited resources for adults living unhoused.
“Seven years ago, we began this work out of a shared love of music and the human connection it offers us all,” says Steph Johnson, Voices’ CEO and Creative Director. “It is especially meaningful that the San Diego Foundation chose to honor Jay Khan’s legacy first through his love of music. This initial $50,000 gift allows Voices of Our City Choir to bring healing, song, and much-needed services to unsheltered San Diegans at a pivotal moment of need.”
Voices of Our City Choir, 2020 Golden-Buzzer Winner on NBC’s America’s Got Talent,
continues to receive national recognition for its unique model addressing the homeless epidemic. Last Spring, the nonprofit was selected as an Investee by San Diego Social Venture Partners. The award included a gift of $25,000 plus two years of strategic consulting to support Voices in tackling one of San Diego’s most pressing challenges. According to the Community Performance Dashboard, published in April 2021 by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, 23% of all unhoused San Diego clients who are placed in shelters become homeless again within 2 years.
“Voices is doing something different, and donors are responding to the Choir’s innovation and
inspiring performances” says Lindsey Seegers, Voices’ Deputy Executive Director. “This
extraordinary $150,000 gift builds on the generosity and trust of our supporter community.
Voices’ donors hear their sound investment in the songs and stories of our choir members. And that sound is full of soul, funk, and joy.”