2015 Environmental Justice Small Grants Project Summaries

APA Family Support Services/APIFRN, Bay Area, San Francisco ($20,000) The APA Family Support Services will train 50 family service practitioners in the San Francisco area on hazards of toxic exposure to mercury from fish consumption, pesticides in food, and chemicals in cleaning products. The trained practitioners and other local health experts will conduct workshops and distribute flyers in Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, Tagalog and Samoan languages. The goal is to reduce children’s exposure to potentially harmful toxic substances by increasing awareness in parents.

Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Northern California, Lake County ($20,000) The Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians will collaborate with Elem Indian Colony of Pomo Indians to manage the Clear Lake Cyanobacteria Task Force. The project will include water sampling to understand and address the algal blooms in Clear Lake, and will also identify when and where tribal activities are taking place as a means to assess risks to the community.

Calexico New River Committee, Inc., San Diego/Imperial, Calexico ($16,445) The Calexico New River Committee will conduct a cross border leadership summit to bring together community and government leaders from California, Imperial County, Mexicali and Baja California to craft implementation strategies for New River Improvement Project and Strategic Plan. The Summit will benefit the residents of Calexico and other communities within Imperial County that are adversely affected by New River water pollution issues.

California Indian Environmental Alliance, Northern California, North Coast ($15,000) CIEA will partner in the North Coast Resource Partnership Tribal Engagement that will encourage economically disadvantaged tribes to engage in regional decision-making processes. The Partnership will increase the access to clean water through funded projects, and reduce the potential for exposure to mercury and PCBs by identifying safe fishing areas.

California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., Central California, Salinas Valley, Fresno and Oxnard/Ventura areas ($20,000) According to U.S. EPA statistics, farmworkers are at high risk for pesticide exposure. In California, there is a growing population of indigenous farmworkers who come from rural parts of Mexico. Outreach efforts to inform indigenous farmworkers about pesticide safety and laws can be challenging due to language barriers. CRLA will provide pesticide safety training and accessible outreach materials for about 500 indigenous farmworkers (Triqui, Mixteco, and Zapoteco) in the Salinas Valley, Fresno, Oxnard, and Ventura areas.

Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Inland Empire, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties ($20,000) CCAEJ will assist community organizations in the Inland Empire region through training on strategic planning, messaging and media practices, and engagement with elected officials. The program will result in more effective efforts by community groups to improve their social and natural environment negatively impacted by industrial and commercial enterprises in the area.

Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, Central Valley, Delano, Allensworth ($20,000) CRPE will enable residents of Kern and Tulare counties to participate effectively in watershed projects that directly affect their communities. CRPE will develop 10 community leaders to educate Allensworth and Delano residents about water issues and the drought, create educational materials on water issues, conduct regular meetings with community members, and participate in the Strategic Growth Council in Tulare to ensure outreach to vulnerable community members.

Community Water Center, Central Valley, southern San Joaquin Valley ($20,000) The Community Water Center will empower San Joaquin Valley residents to understand and participate in water policy decision making to ensure safe and affordable drinking water solutions. The program will educate at least 400 residents in 20 disadvantaged communities through in-person, phone, email and online outreach trainings. The goal is to boost water quality in the San Joaquin Valley and reduce exposure to toxic chemicals through improved community engagement.

CSU Fullerton Auxiliary Services Corporation, Los Angeles County ($20,000) The CSU Fullerton Auxiliary Services Corporation will teach high school students about air quality issues and give them the skills to become leaders on environmental concerns in their own communities. Approximately 60 youth will participate in a 12-week after-school high school educational program in four high schools in the cities of Anaheim, Alhambra and Los Angeles.

Del Amo Action Committee, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County ($20,000) The Del Amo Action Committee will lead the Los Angeles Groundwater Basin Restoration Convening that is a collaborative effort to stop the spread of contaminated groundwater plumes in the LA Groundwater Basin and restore groundwater health. Del Amo will also continue to facilitate the monthly Los Angeles EJ Network meetings to spread the word about efforts to improve groundwater in the LA area.

East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Los Angeles County, Commerce ($20,000) The City of Commerce developed a Green Zone policy with the goals to prevent toxic exposures through new development, reduce impacts of existing exposures, revitalize economic opportunities, and reinvest in key boulevards to improve business and quality of life. East Yard Communities for EJ will raise the visibility of Green Zones by conducting community organizing and outreach activities, alliance building, policy development, and leadership activities that will turn Green Zone policies into tangible results that benefit Commerce residents.

Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego County, Barrio Logan, City Heights ($20,000) The Environmental Health Coalition will deliver education and training on climate change and its environmental and health impacts via its Advancing Health and Climate Justice Project. The Project will enhance meaningful participation by community members in the planning and implementation of climate change policies called for in Climate Action Plans for City of San Diego.

California Environmental Justice Alliance (fiscal sponsor: Environmental Health Coalitio­­n), Statewide ($20,000) The California Environmental Justice Alliance will bring together residents from low-income communities and communities of color in a 2-day 300 person Environmental Justice Congreso. The Congreso will give residents opportunities to share stories and receive training on statewide decision-making and engagement to improve the disproportionate impacts of pollution, poor land-use, and other environmental issues that affect their neighborhoods.

Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Central California, North Monterey County ($18,972) EJCW works primarily with low income, Spanish-speaking communities in Monterey County to ensure they are represented in water policy decision making. New curriculum will train residents to become water savvy community leaders who can participate in policy decisions. The pilot training will take place in Springfield Terrace, Las Lomas and Royal Oaks which lack reliable access to safe affordable drinking water. The project will ultimately develop and evaluate an environmental justice curriculum for use on the rest of the Central Coast.

Girls Incorporated of Alameda County, Bay Area, East Oakland and San Leandro ($19,540) Girls Incorporated of Alameda County will add environmental justice concepts and activities to its InnovaTE^3 program that encourages ethnically diverse girls from low income neighborhoods, to pursue science, technology, engineering and math careers. The program will reach 80 8th and 9th grade girls residing in Oakland and San Leandro. Activities include water and soil testing, designing models of green technology, and developing community “calls to action” on environmental issues.

Global Community Monitor, Bay Area, Pittsburg, Richmond, Martinez, Benicia, Crocket-Rodeo ($20,000) Global Community Monitor will provide ongoing training and an air sampling program to five low income, minority communities affected by the concentration of oil refineries and other industrial facilities in the Bay Area. Residents of Pittsburg, Martinez, Benicia, Rodeo and Richmond will learn about current pollution levels, and receive technical support to conduct sampling to track emissions and air quality over time. The knowledge and empirical evidence gained through these activities will give residents the tools to engage in decision making that will improve environmental quality in their neighborhoods.

Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, Bay Area, Bay View Hunter’s Point ($20,000) Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice will establish a multi-stakeholder environmental task force that will include representatives from San Francisco’s Bay View Hunter’s Point neighborhood. The task force will conduct public meetings, develop a community reporting website, and ultimately work toward improving the environmental quality of the region and health of its residents.

National Indian Justice Center, Statewide ($20,000) The National Indian Justice Center will develop, pilot-test and evaluate an online educational program, “Understanding Consultation and Collaboration between CalEPA and California Tribes.” This statewide project will help Tribes better understand the planning, hierarchy and decision making processes within the California Environmental Protection Agency and its various departments. When tribal leaders understand CalEPA’s role in environmental tribal regulatory programs and interests, more informed partnerships and effective environmental program efforts will develop. 

Pacoima Beautiful, Los Angeles County, northeast San Fernando Valley ($15,000) Pacoima Beautiful will teach 50 high school students from northeast San Fernando Valley through its Youth Environmentalists 4-week summer institute about the environment, EJ, and environmental stewardship. Pacoima Beautiful will also train the students on how to engage in the public process and public speaking to prepare them to make positive impacts in their community.

People’s Community Organization for Reform and Empowerment, Los Angeles County, Carson ($19,304) Residents within the City of Carson experience language barriers, poverty and limited education that make them particularly vulnerable to environmental health risks from multiple pollution sources. People’s Community Organization for Reform and Empowerment (People’s CORE) will train 10 Carson residents to become Environmental Educators in their own communities and participate in Air Quality Management District meetings.

Iris Cantor – UCLA Women’s Health Education and Resource Center, Los Angeles County, Los Angeles ($20,000) The Planning for a Healthy and Chemical-Free Baby project aims to reduce damaging exposure from environmental toxins in women of childbearing age by educating low-income women of color on how to avoid or minimize exposures. Women will learn about avoiding toxins used in everyday household and beauty products, how to make their own non-toxic products and options for purchasing inexpensive alternatives. Education will be delivered through existing pre-conception programs.

Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, Bay Area, Oakland ($19,983) The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment “New Voices Are Rising” Project will build community power by training and empowering 15 disadvantaged high school students to become the next generation of community leaders in the Oakland area. The Project will serve high school students ages 14 to18 who live in low-income communities. The Rose Foundation students will learn issue analysis, community mapping, problem solving, issue development, community outreach, and public speaking.

San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement Project (fiscal sponsor: Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies), Central Valley, Fresno ($19,720) The San Joaquin Valley LEAP Project will develop a curriculum of train-the-trainers, so Promotoras can teach youth, farmworkers and parents to correctly identify and report environmental violations. Educational efforts will include recruitment of interns to conduct youth workshops. The project will also focus on improving the Kings County online environmental reporting system.

Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Northern California, Lake County ($20,000) Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, in collaboration with two other Clear Lake Tribes and 8 state and federal agencies, will pilot a signed based warning system to alert seasonal recreational visitors to Clear Lake about the danger level of harmful algal blooms and how to identify and avoid contact with these cyanotoxins. The project will also include development of educational materials, and public forums.

Central California Environmental Justice Network (fiscal sponsor: Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs), Central Valley, Fresno and Kern Counties ($20,000) The Central California Environmental Justice Network project, “Developing the Ability of Residents to Inform Government about Local Hazards and Helping Government Navigate Jurisdictional Overlays” will maintain and improve the Fresno Environmental Enforcement Network (FERN) and Kern Environmental Enforcement Network (KEEN). The project includes increasing the efficiency of FERN and KEEN taskforce meetings, maintaining and improving the web-based systems, and organizing with resident reporting groups in the EJ communities of Lamont and Delano in Kern County and Parlier and Calwa in Fresno County. The Central California Environmental Justice Network will ensure widespread education to increase recognition of pollution sources and the use of regulatory.

The Sierra Fund, Northern California, Yuba and Bear watersheds in Nevada, Sierra, Yuba, and Placer Counties ($19,699) The Sierra Fund, in partnership with South Yuba River Citizens League, Wolf Creek Community Alliance, and the Sierra Native Alliance will mobilize community members to post 200 fish consumption advisory signs near popular fishing locations, campgrounds and bait shops in the Yuba and Bear River watersheds. The project will also survey at least 60 anglers to ensure they are aware of the health risks of eating certain species of fish caught in the Sierra.

Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, High Sierra and Desert, Inyo County, Furnace Creek ($16,911) The Timbisha Shoshone Tribal Village is completely surrounded by Death Valley National Park and is the hottest and driest area of the country because of lack of surface water. The only drinking water on village land comes through a Park Service provided water box and is delivered through an antiquated piping system. The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe project will improve access to safe and clean water for the village through the study of historical and current status of the drinking and groundwater systems, and exploration of strategies for remediation of the Tribe’s water for its 260 members.

Wiyot Tribe, Northern California, Table Bluff Reservation, Loleta ($20,000) The Wiyot Tribe, living on the Table Bluff Reservation in Loleta (Humboldt County), will raise the tribe members’ awareness of possible health hazards of household cleaning products and pesticides, and educate about less toxic alternatives. The project will train staff, create outreach materials, and offer hands-on activities to community members including youth garden field trips. The Tribe will partner with the Northcoast Community Garden Collaborative and the United Indian Health Services to organize its tribal youth community garden and other community environmental activities.

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