CalEPA awards record 84 grants across the state for local environmental justice projects


For Immediate Release
:

March 10, 2022

Media Contact:
Sheryl A., Watson, CalEPA Assistant Director of Communications and External Affairs
916-494-1496 | Sheryl.Watson@calepa.ca.gov


SACRAMENTO, Calif –The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) announced today that $4 million in grants have been awarded to nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribal governments for 84 environmental justice projects across the state.

The number of projects funded and the amount of funding awarded during the 2021 cycle are both records for CalEPA’s Environmental Justice (EJ) Small Grants Program. The program more than doubled the number of projects over the last awards cycle, which was made possible by last year’s Climate Resilience Package in the state budget. The package committed $25 million to CalEPA’s Environmental Justice Program over two years. 

“California is committed to partnering with communities on the front lines of climate change. This year’s 84 environmental justice grants are truly inspiring,” said Jared Blumenfeld, California Secretary for Environmental Protection. “These community-driven projects will have a significant impact in every region of our state. Environmental justice can only be realized by investing in communities that for too long have been left behind.”

The funded projects will address a variety of issues: improving climate resiliency; enhancing water quality; building community capacity to participate in planning and land-use decision-making; and increasing collaboration and environmental education, with a particular focus on engaging youths. Many projects focus on providing information to residents of disproportionately burdened communities and enabling more robust and meaningful participation in environmental decision-making at local, state, and federal levels.

“These organizations empower people in disadvantaged communities with knowledge, training and hands-on projects that are truly making a difference,” said Bidtah N. Becker, Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal Affairs and Border Relations. “We are excited for the work they are doing and are happy to be able to help fund their efforts.”

The grant program was established by Assembly Bill 2312 (2002) to provide grants to eligible nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribal governments. Since its inception, CalEPA has awarded over $10.8 million to 290 projects focused on environmental justice issues statewide.

Sample of Recipients by Region

For the full list of 84 recipients, see the 2022 Environmental Justice Small Grants Project Summaries.

North Coast

Save CA Salmon: $49,233 (Del Norte and Humboldt counties)
Save California Salmon will engage tribal and rural youth located in Humboldt, Trinity, Siskiyou, and Shasta counties on water policy, science education and training, media creation, watersheds, climate and water crisis in California, and environmental leadership training. New grantee.
Media Contact: Executive Director Regina Chichizola, (541) 951-0126

Central Coast 

Safe Ag Schools: $50,000 (Monterey and Santa Cruz counties)
Ag Safe Schools, with additional support from the Pesticide Action Network, will provide a 10-week summer environmental leadership internship program in which high school students conduct English and Spanish outreach on the health risks of pesticide exposure to 200 residents and youth. Ag Safe Schools will also provide two, 24-week paid student internships to train students to become peer environmental leaders, educators, and presenters. New grantee.
Media Contact: Yanley Martinez, (831) 201-9151

Central Valley

Fresno Metro Black Chamber Foundation: $50,000 (Fresno County)
The Fresno Metro Black Chamber Foundation will train K-8 youth to become Green Team Youth Ambassadors through educational hands-on workshops on climate change, greenhouse gas emission reductions, air quality, clean technologies, sustainability, sustainable food, food insecurity, urban gardening, and alternatives to toxic pesticides. Previous grantee.
Media Contact: Kaya Herron, (559) 441-7929, ext. 503

Inland Empire

Morongo Band of Mission Indians: $48,130 (Riverside County)
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians will develop, execute, and report on a sampling plan to collect and analyze 20 particulate matter samples for heavy metal concentrations using high-volume air sampler along fence lines and in populated areas of the reservation. They will compare their results to health screening levels established by the to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to determine the community health risk from pollutant exposure. Their results will inform 1,000 tribal members of the Morongo Indian Reservation. New grantee.
Media Contact: Michael Fisher, (909) 234-3593
 

Los Angeles

Conservation Corps of Long Beach: $49,985 (Los Angeles County)
The Conservation Corps of Long Beach will provide training and green jobs for 25 youth in disadvantaged and low-income communities in Long Beach, along the I-710 corridor. The youth will plant drought-tolerant gardens and California native trees on 7,500 square feet of land. They will also educate Long Beach community residents on the effects gardens have on urban cooling, air quality, and carbon sequestration. Previous grantee.
Media Contact: Executive Director Dan Knapp, (562) 446-4533

Sacramento Region

Sierra Nevada Journeys: $30,318 (Sacramento County)
Sierra Nevada Journeys will provide a STEM afterschool program to 600 low-income 5th and 6th grade students through hands-on activities, field trips, and discussions to increase their understanding about environmental justice, point- and non-point sources of water pollution, climate change impacts (e.g., drought, water pollution), green infrastructure, and storm water pollution. The program will include 60 volunteers from Sacramento River Watershed. Previous grantee.
Media Contact: Sean Hill, (916) 616-3842. 
 

San Diego / Imperial Valley Region

San Diego Urban Sustainability Coalition: $29,670 (San Diego County)
The San Diego Urban Sustainability Coalition will educate community residents about food insecurity and climate equity through five workshops and three presentations, as well as through social media and public education materials. They will also collaborate with the city to establish an urban food forest. New grantee.
Media Contact: SDUSC President Eddie Price, (619) 616-5890
 

San Francisco Bay Area

Earth Team: $49,903 (Contra Costa and Alameda counties)
Earth Team provides service-learning projects by partnering with educational, environmental and governnment organizations. The nonprofit organization will utilize the grant to provide a youth-led education program on reducing and diverting solid waste. They will hire youth interns to conduct outreach to 5,000 students on four campuses in Richmond, San Pablo, Oakland and San Lorenzo. They will to provide information and information to 200 families in vulnerable communities on the negative health effects solid waste landfill impacts. As part of this effort, four leadership teams will install three bin kits in their homes and monitor their use with waste audits. Previous grantee.
Media Contact: Joelle Alley, (844) 704-4030, ext. 3

Statewide

Youth On Root: $42,116 (Statewide)
Youth On Root is a local leadership program. It will collaborate with 20 representatives from 10 organizations to develop and deliver an EJ curriculum that will include print materials and videos. New grantee.
Media Contact: Candice Youngblood.

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Two children stand on a riverbank closely examining cups of river water

Two fifth-graders on the bank of the American River examine water samples as part of Sierra Nevada Journeys’ water education program, funded by an earlier EJ grant. (Image by Sierra Nevada Journeys)

 

“California is committed to partnering with communities on the front lines of climate change. This year’s 84 environmental justice grants are truly inspiring. These community-driven projects will have a significant impact in every region of our state. Environmental justice can only be realized by investing in communities that for too long have been left behind.”

Jared Blumenfeld, California Secretary for Environmental Protection

“These organizations empower people in disadvantaged communities with knowledge, training and hands-on projects that are truly making a difference. We are excited to support the work they are doing and hope it inspires others to do the same.”

Bidtah N. Becker, CalEPA Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal Affairs and Border Relations.

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