2016 Environmental Justice Small Grants Project Summaries

Asian Health Services (AHS), Los Angeles County ($50,000) AHS will work in partnership with the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative to educate nail salon workers across 300 salons in Los Angeles County on how to reduce exposure of toxic chemicals frequently found in nail salon products. AHS will provide education on best workplace practices, government regulations and processes.

Big Valley Band (Big Valley Band) of Pomo Indians, Northern California, Lake County ($50,000) The Big Valley Band will collect samples of three fish and shellfish species for cyanotoxin analysis to develop adaptation strategies to ensure the safe consumption of Tribally important fish at subsistence fish levels. The results will be shared with other Pomo Tribes in the Lake County area, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the public, and Clear Lake Cyanobacteria Task Force to determine viable safe fish consumption options. The Big Valley Tribe will also work with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and OEHHA to develop a monitoring strategy framework for the project.

California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA, fiscal sponsor: Environmental Health Coalition), Statewide ($20,000) CEJA will host the state’s first Green Zones summit to bring together communities for in-depth cross-training on strategies to address cumulative impacts through the promotion of Green Zones. Green Zones can be neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by multiple pollution sources, socioeconomic and public health stressors, where low-income residents seek to reduce pollution and improve local land-use planning, health, the economy and the environment. This summit will improve residents and community leaders understanding of the technical and procedural aspects of establishing Green Zones while promoting skill building, and utilization of environmental justice resources to support a vision for a healthy community.

California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), Central Valley and Coastal Counties ($50,000) CRLA will conduct state-wide trainings to reduce potential exposure to pesticides among indigenous Mixteco, Zapoteco, and Triqui farmworkers. These trainings will include updated outreach materials to reflect the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recently revised worker protection safety standard regulations.

California Safe Schools (CSS), Los Angeles County ($49,692) CSS will identify sources of environmental threats near ten schools in Los Angeles County and seek solutions through a task force model comprised of parents, students and community members. CSS will also host a summit in Los Angeles County to promote engagement of communities on toxic chemicals and pesticides issues. CSS will host a summit that brings together 300 Los Angeles County community residents, leading medical experts, environmental regulators, and academia to build awareness and reduce the potential for exposure to pesticides and toxic chemicals.

Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR, fiscal sponsor: Pesticide Action Network North America), Monterey County, Pajaro and Salinas Valleys ($32,000) CPR will build community resident capacity in Pajaro Valley and Salinas Valley to participate in governmental processes related to pesticide use near schools and homes through bilingual outreach and education.

Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ), Inland Empire, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties ($50,000) CCAEJ will expand the Inland Valley Environmental Justice Task to identify environmental hazards and seek solutions with governmental partners, through community education forums, trainings and environmental justice learning tours. CCAEJ will promote community capacity building and increase awareness of environmental health hazards.

Clean Water Fund (CWF), Western Kern County, Lost Hills ($50,000) CWF will establish a community led web-based reporting system that allows Lost Hills residents to identify and report potential environmental violations. The Clean Water Fund will conduct environmental reporting trainings for residents to build community capacity and improve the community’s understanding of the technical and procedural aspects of environmental enforcement.

Comité Cívico del Valle, Inc. (CCV), Statewide ($45,546) CCV will produce an operational manual and user guidebook for the Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods (IVAN) Network system, a community-based environmental reporting system, currently being utilized in seven locations throughout California, including Imperial Valley, Coachella Valley, Wilmington in the Los Angeles area, Bay View Hunters Point in San Francisco, Kings, Fresno, and Kern Counties.

East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ), Los Angeles County, Commerce and Long Beach ($50,000) EYCEJ, in partnership with academic researchers, will conduct a seven week summer research program for its members to develop research from community experiences in East and South Los Angeles and Long Beach. EYCEJ will share research findings in a symposium.

Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), San Diego County, National City, Paradise Creek, Marina District ($50,000) EHC will facilitate community participation in the design process for the housing, parks, and paths in National City, Paradise Creek, and the Marina District in San Diego. EHC will also promote access to state and local incentives to support installation of renewable energy in San Diego. EHC will give its Environmental Justice Leadership training to National City community residents.

Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice (Greenaction), Bay Area, Bay View Hunter’s Point ($50,000) Greenaction will expand the Bayview Hunters Point Environmental Justice Response Task Force to promote community capacity-building, provide a platform for reporting and addressing environmental pollution problems, and reduce exposure and cumulative impacts for the community of Bayview Hunters Point (BVHP) in San Francisco. BVHP contains industrial sites, mixed use zones, and residential neighborhoods. BVHP is surrounded by the city’s two freeways and its main streets are filled with commercial and commuter traffic. Greenaction will expand multi-lingual community outreach, education, training, and engagement of diverse stakeholders in the task force.

Green Tech Education and Employment (Green Tech), Sacramento, Oak Park ($30,000) Green Tech will partner with Sacramento County’s Office of Education to utilize a vacant lot in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood to install and maintain a commercial grade aquaponics system with irrigation, build raised garden beds and worm bin, and plant fruit trees. Green Tech will then work with the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services to produce pesticide-free vegetables to distribute to south Sacramento area residents. Green Tech will recruit and train local area high school students to assist in the building and maintenance of the project to gain valuable job skills. Green Tech will help educate residents about the connection between food choices and environmental health and health outcomes.

Humboldt Baykeeper (fiscal sponsor: Northcoast Environmental Center), Humboldt County ($35,340) The Humboldt Baykeeper will analyze fish caught by local subsistence, tribal, and sport fishermen to determine the magnitude of local mercury contamination in Humboldt Bay. Humboldt Baykeeper will identify and recruit Latino, Tribal, Hmong, and low-income fishermen to develop a community-based assessment of the human health risk of mercury from fish caught in Humboldt Bay through the analysis of fish tissue sampling of fish that are commonly eaten by fishermen and their families. The Humboldt Baykeeper will conduct outreach to share information on how to reduce mercury exposure.

Insight Garden Program (IGP), Bay Area, Oakland, Richmond ($49,881) IGP will partner with environmental justice organizations, community colleges, and local government to provide leadership training to formerly incarcerated residents now living in Oakland and Richmond. IGP will work with local community organizations and schools to provide education on air, water, and local regulations related to climate change that impact disproportionately underserved communities.

Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN), southern Los Angeles, Watts ($48,265) LACAN will provide environmental justice and health education to residents living in the Jordan Downs Public Housing Complex in Los Angeles. LACAN will also educate community members on soil and groundwater contamination, air quality, toxic chemicals and how to participate in government decision-making process. LACAN will facilitate a community health assessment project in conjunction with health professionals from Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles.

Pacoima Beautiful (PB), Los Angeles County, northeast San Fernando Valley ($50,000) PB through its Community Inspectors training program and Youth Summer Institute programs, will train youth and adult community residents in Pacoima (Los Angeles area) to report environmental violations such as high levels of dust, waste, and foul and noxious odors to the appropriate local and state regulating agencies (i.e. local air quality management district, County of Los Angeles Environmental Health, and CalEPA’s environmental complaint system). Pacoima Beautiful will recruit students from five local high schools to participate in PB’s afterschool program.

The Rising Sun Energy Center (Rising Sun), San Joaquin and eastern Contra Costa Counties, Antioch, Manteca, Stockton, Tracy ($50,000) Rising Sun, partnering with municipalities and water districts, will train and employ youth to work with its no-cost Green House Call Program in the cities of Antioch, Manteca, Stockton, and Tracy. At a Green House Call, a team of two youth will conduct an energy and water assessment, install water and energy saving devices such as energy efficient light bulbs and water saving shower heads, and provide tips on how residents can further save energy and water in the home. Rising Sun will provide Green House Call services, at no-cost to 1,250 homes in San Joaquin and eastern Contra Costa Counties.

The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment (Rose Foundation), Bay Area, Oakland ($50,000) Rose Foundation will give high school students in Oakland the knowledge and skills to participate in decision-making, promote community capacity on key environmental issues, encourage collaboration between different stakeholders, and engage community members in environmental decision making. Rose Foundation will educate youth on sources of and reduction strategies for toxic pollution, climate risks strategies and sustainability, urban greening and green infrastructure. Rose Foundation will provide summer internships with community based organizations and local agencies to high school students to learn different perspectives on how to reduce toxic pollution and or minimize community exposure to toxics. Rose Foundation will also offer school-year long internships to high school students to further leadership skills.

Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC), Central Valley, Merced County, Planada, Le Grand ($50,000) RCAC will install ten new water filling stations in Planada and Le Grand in Merced County to improve access to safe and clean water consumption and increase water consumption. RCAC will provide education to community residents on water safety and the importance of water consumption. RCAC will partner with Self-Help Enterprises (SHE) and Merced Building Healthy Communities to outreach to the targeted communities.

The Sequoia Foundation, Los Angeles, Pico-Union, Koreatown, east Hollywood ($49,346) The Sequoia Foundation, in partnership with the Los Angeles Healthy Homes Collaborative (HHC), will provide community health worker training to tenant leaders in the Los Angeles Promise Zone (LAPZ), specifically, Pico-Union, Koreatown, and East Hollywood communities in the City of Los Angeles. The Sequoia Foundation will facilitate community workshops and targeted outreach events on how to reduce potential exposures to pesticides, lead, and other toxic chemicals. The Sequoia Foundation will also conduct a needs assessment with its project partners, Coalition for Economic Survival, Inquilinos Unidos, and Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance.

Sierra Nevada Journeys (SNJ), Sacramento County ($20,120) SNJ will galvanize 400 fifth grade students in the Twin Rivers and Sacramento Unified School District in Sacramento to address polluted drinking water, groundwater threats, and water conservation through science, technology, engineering, and math principles. SNJ will cover topics such as water cycles, watersheds, water quality, and local water issues. Students will learn how to think critically about the science and stewardship related to the resources of their environment, how to take personal steps to protect drinking water and groundwater, and engage in water conservation efforts through a field day at River Bend Park on the American River Parkway.

Tuolumne River Trust (TRT), Modesto County, Airport ($20,143) TRT will build community capacity in Airport neighborhood in Modesto on water quality issues in the Tuolumne River and its tributary Dry Creek. TRT will engage community residents and partners in the plan and design of a water quality monitoring and an Adopt-a-River program that will promote “ownership” of a section of river to monitor and clean. TRT will also work with youth education programs to improve the community’s understanding of water quality issues that affect local swimming holes, fishing locations, and parks along the Tuolumne River and Dry Creek.

Valley Improvement Projects (VIP), Statewide ($49,900) VIP will facilitate four regional conferences and one state-wide conference for environmental justice communities throughout the state to share information on the local, regional, and statewide impacts from pollution, land-use, and other environmental issues that disproportionately affect environmental justice communities. The four regional conferences will be held in Oakland (for Bay Area groups), Fresno (for Central Valley groups), Huntington Park (for Los Angeles and Southern California area groups), and EI Centro (for Imperial Valley and Colorado River areas). Each of the VIP conferences will include trainings and educational programs on governance and the regulatory process both in their local areas and at the state level.

Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC), Los Angeles, Watts, Willowbrook ($50,000) WLCAC will seek to address cumulative impacts and promote engagement in local decision-making processes in the Watts/Willowbrook communities of Los Angeles. The WLCAC in collaboration with students from California State University Dominguez Hills will conduct a community assessment of cumulative impacts and corresponding health needs in the community and then develop a community health report from assessment data gathered.

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