2020 Environmental Justice Small Grants Project Summaries

Alianza Coachella Valley in Riverside County ($35,000)
Alianza Coachella Valley (Alianza CV) in Riverside County will partner with the Youth Leadership Institute, Kounkuey Design Initiative, Loma Linda University Public Health, California Institute for Rural Studies, Sierra Club and the Audubon, to address public and ecological health issues resulting from the Salton Sea in the Eastern Coachella Valley. Alianza CV will support a process that incorporates and promotes the advantages of multi-benefit infrastructure such as physical improvements, ecological resilience, social equity, and sustainable economy. The Alianza CV project will focus on air quality impacts from dust emissions, water quality, housing, public health, infrastructure, and the loss of important wildlife habitat around the Salton Sea. Alianza CV will conduct community workshops and trainings, field trips to the Salton Sea, an annual community meeting, and collection of community science data.

Bay View Hunters Point Community Advocates, $50,000, San Francisco County
Bay View Hunters Point Community Advocates (BHPCA) will train the 11-member Southeast Community Council Program that includes Bayview-Hunters Point community residents to conduct participatory research projects that include document and data collection, analysis, mapping, ethnographies and community empowerment in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood (an area that is home to a former naval shipyard, coal and oil plants, and a laboratory that decontaminated ocean vessels exposed to atomic weapons). BHPCA will work to record the neighborhood’s ground, water, and air quality and its impacts, and interview Bayview residents and workers. BHPCA will conduct outdoor ground-truthing efforts to update a decades-old community toxic index and catalogue neighborhood site data. The BHPCA members will be trained by a master of urban and regional planning in basic planning, and mapping/GIS for toxics reduction.

Brightline Defense, $20,333, San Francisco County
Brightline Defense, in partnership with its education service provider, Community Youth Center, will conduct a series of wildfire and climate resiliency workshops for single-room occupancy (SRO) tenants and youth leaders. Brightline will educate these leaders on wildfire resiliency measures, fire safety training, and provide emergency packs. Brightline will conduct a demographic survey about respiratory illness to community residents through a mixture of phone surveys, email surveys, and surveys at local food pantries, at or near the SRO housing stock. The survey will help provide an overview of SRO tenant needs and inform the development of a community emergency response plan.

California Environmental Justice Coalition, $49,900, statewide
The California Environmental Justice Coalition (CEJC) will build its capacity of its 70 community-based, grassroots member-organizations from frontline urban, rural, and indigenous communities across the state to better understand and resolve the environmental problems that affect their respective communities. CEJC will conduct a needs assessment survey of member-organizations and compile responses into a summary report based on CEJC member regions and issues. CEJC will conduct regional and statewide conferences to improve communication and coordination between CEJC members and facilitate the development of strategies.

California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, $50,000, Alameda, Los Angeles and San Francisco Counties
The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative (CHNSC) will mitigate the compounding negative health effects of environmental pollution and COVID-19 exposure on nail salon workers through outreach and education. Salon workers are largely made up of Vietnamese refugees and immigrants. The collaborative will develop a training curriculum that will be used to educate at least 2,500 nail salon workers and owners throughout the state on best practices to reduce exposures to toxic chemicals, including workplace modifications. The training will also promote adherence to COVID-19 state and local public health guidelines. CHNSC will also educate 150 children of nail salon workers via classroom presentations and social media. The children will be encouraged to talk with their family members about ways to protect themselves by making modifications in their workplaces. CHNSC will create a range of materials in Vietnamese, including an infographic, informational booklet, online video training, and in-person training.

California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, $20,333, Sonoma County
The California Indian Museum and Cultural Center in Sonoma County (CIMCC) will conduct monthly, hour-long virtual workshops (web‐based and mobile) to inform California Native American Tribal members, and their descendants, on clean energy, clean air, and transportation alternatives. The workshops will include information about high-growth and living-wage clean energy careers to increase their climate change resilience. CIMCC will engage Native youth leaders and tribal elder community members as project advisors and workshop speakers.

Central California Environmental Justice Network, $50,000, Fresno, Kern and Tulare Counties
The Central California Environmental Justice Network (CCEJN) will collaborate with its partners to train 40 Latinx youth, ages 13 to18, who live in low-income communities on environmental justice and climate change. CCEJN will organize walking audits where the youth will record virtual tour video of their neighborhoods to ground truth pollution sources. CCEJN youth will utilize citizen science methods, such as grab samples, low cost air quality sensors, creation of GIS maps, drone videos, and photovoice short videos of affected community residents. The CCEJN project will culminate with a youth presentation that details their vision for environmental and climate justice. CCEJN’s partners are Centro Binacional Para el Desarrollo lndigena Oaxaqueno, the Boys and Girls Club of Lamont, Loud 4 Tomorrow, Act for Women and Girls, 99 Rootz, Sunrise Movement Fresno Chapter, Sunrise Movement Kern Chapter, and Education and Leadership Foundation.

Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities , $50,000, Fresno, Kern and Tulare Counties
The Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities (Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo lndigena Oaxaqueno) (CBDIO) will conduct education and outreach to indigenous Mexican (Oaxacan and Guerreran) community residents living in Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties. CBDIO will develop and disseminate information on pesticide exposure, how to recognize exposure symptoms, and how to report incidents related to pesticide use in Zapotec, Miztec, and Triqui languages.  Most of the information widely available in these counties on pesticide related topics are provided in Spanish and English. Many Oaxacan and Guerreran people are monolingual in their native language of either Zapotec, Mixtec, or Triqui. CBDIO will conduct three workshops per month per county to provide 1,200 indigenous Mexican community members training on pesticide related topics. CBDIO will also train community members on how to report pesticide issues using the California’s System for Pesticide Incident Reporting (CASPIR) mobile app and the IVAN reporting network.

Coalition For A Safe Environment, $20,000, Los Angeles County
The Coalition for a Safer Environment (CFASE) will establish the first San Pedro Bay Community Earthquake Monitoring Network Pilot Project in Wilmington and the San Pedro Bay Harbor communities by creating a network of three professional research grade earthquake seismometers. Since there is no dedicated earthquake sensor network currently operating in San Pedro Bay, CFASE project will establish its own seismometer and improve the Wilmington and the San Pedro Bay Harbor Communities knowledge of earthquakes, earthquake monitoring equipment, and awareness of earthquake dangers to residents in relation to climate emergency preparedness and resilience to avoid air, land and water toxic exposure dangers from industries in Wilmington which might be impacted due to an earthquake instigated by climate change impacts.

Comité Pro Uno, $50,000, Los Angeles County
Comité Pro Uno (CPU) will promote community capacity by building and strengthening collaborations with schools and local government to address cumulative pollution impacts. Comité Pro Uno will enhance community knowledge in the city of Maywood through the development and implementation of a community-specific, actionable emissions reduction and mitigation plan. CPU will partner with Coalition for Clean Air, Sonoma Technologies, Inc., and the Los Angeles Unified School District to improve the air quality and public health in Maywood. CPU will increase participation in environmental decision-making among residents by conducting community meetings throughout the project. The CPU project will build off of existing scientific testing and analysis that quantifies the levels of air toxics, such as hexavalent chromium and likely sources of chromium, other toxic metals, and black carbon at Heliotrope Elementary School in Maywood to identify the likely sources of these pollutants that occurred between 2019 and 2020. CPU will also conduct a community-wide greening initiative to support a community garden and tree planting.

Conservation Corps of Long Beach, $49,985, Los Angeles County
The Conservation Corps of Long Beach (CCLB) will educate communities living along the I-710 corridor in Long Beach about environmental restoration, the importance of climate resilience, and provide green job opportunities. The CCLB project, with assistance from the Long Beach Water Department conservation staff, will work to convert 10 lawns of low-income households. The households chosen will need to be owner-occupied by residents who are at or below 80 percent of the U.S. Department of Urban Housing median income threshold for the Los Angeles and Long Beach area commit to maintain the new drought tolerant garden landscape for a minimum of five years. CCLB will provide professional development and train 25 at-risk CCLB youth to install the multi-benefit, drought tolerant gardens. The training will include information on California native trees, beautification, urban cooling effects, air quality improvements, and carbon sequestration to help mitigate the effects of climate change on the local environment. CCLB youth will gain experience in landscape maintenance and skills in urban greening to encourage opportunities in the green sector.

Earth Team, $49,242, Contra Costa and Alameda Counties
Earth Team will work with professional educators, local experts and public high schools to develop climate hazards action plans at four Title I high schools, schools that receive federal funding for having a large concentration of low-income students. This effort will support local adaptive capacity to respond to climate change impacts, increase participation in environmental decision-making, and reduce risks and vulnerabilities. Earth Team will also build a relevant culture of climate and resilience literacy among 56 high school students, training them to become informed leaders to influence peers, families and community members to take action to reduce climate change triggers and build a more equitable and resilient community. Earth Team will train these students in research data design, assessing climate trends, and identification of local stressors. They will also provide instruction on how to reduce exposure to   climate-related health hazards, such as infectious diseases, heat, smoke and flooding events.

Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, $50,000, San Joaquin County
Fathers and Families of San Joaquin (FFSJ) will conduct a youth-led participatory research project that includes photovoice, environmental testing, monitoring, and participation in city environmental processes. The FFSJ will create a report illuminating the environmental conditions and perspectives in Stockton. FFSJ will also establish a media hub where the project will provide infographics, videos, interactive data maps, podcasts, photovoice, and environmental hazard pamphlets. FFSH will work to protect the Stockton-San Joaquin Delta from air pollution. FFSJ will conduct an eight-workshop summer series for community residents that will teach leadership skills, reconnect people to nature, and cultural healing practices. The workshops will also include instruction on how to test and measure water quality, soil quality, and air pollution. FFSJ will also create a youth zine and a five-episode podcast series documenting Stockton environmental justice history and efforts to improve the environment.

Fresno Metro Black Chamber Foundation, $48,061, Fresno County
The Fresno Metro Black Chamber Foundation (FMBCF) will address birth outcome disparities in African American communities by addressing underlying socio-economic and environmental factors through the creation of a comprehensive community-based training curriculum and toolkit. The FMBCF curriculum and toolkit will highlight the importance of prenatal health, air quality, impacts of climate change and the benefits of the greenhouse gas reduction in the environment. FMBCF will train community health workers on social determinants of health specifically stemming from the environment and climate change impacts. FMBCF will educate expectant mothers and their families through eight peer learning sessions and four one-on-one coach and mentor sessions. The sessions will include information on access to care and how to advocate for the adoption of clean technologies, services and sustainability practices that would create safe, equitable, and healthy communities that strengthen the local economy and improve quality of life for expectant mothers.

 Green Technical Education and Employment, $20,333, Sacramento County
Green Technical Education and Employment (Green Tech) will train high school students in Sacramento in urban farming, forestry, aquaponics and green-waste management systems at two urban farm sites in Sacramento. Green Tech will provide workforce development, job training and environmental justice education. Green Tech will also conduct an online composting workshop and online environmental justice town hall meetings. Green Tech will expand its food production to include additional garden beds in its urban gardens to provide organic food for local Sacramento residents.

GRID Alternatives North Coast, $49,953, Humboldt and Mendocino Counties
Grid Alternatives North Coast will collaborate with six tribes in northern California, to provide job training in solar photovoltaic, battery storage, and energy resilience to tribal communities in high fire risk areas. The tribes are the Bear River Rancheria, Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Pinoleville Pomo Nation, Round Valley Reservation, Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians, and Yurok. The GRID project will coincide with no-cost solar installs for low-income tribal communities already planned to take place in Mendocino and Humboldt Counties through the GRID program from July 2020 to June 2021. GRID will train up to 20 tribal members for employment in the renewable energy industry and establishing pathways for energy autonomy and resilience by offering real-world install experience, classroom learning, and hands-on workshops. GRID will install solar on at least 28 tribal homes and three community centers, and offer paid training installation experience. GRID trainees will also connect with experts, organizations, and for-profit solar companies that are searching for trained solar installers.

Insight Garden Program, $50,000, Alameda, San Joaquin, and Solano Counties
Insight Garden Program (IGP), based in Berkeley, will engage up to 250 people incarcerated at California Medical Facility in Vacaville, the California State Prison-Solano, and California Health Care Facility in Stockton, in an environmental and health equity training program via distance learning and/or through in-person classes post- COVID-19. The classes are meant to strengthen capacity to address environmental and health issues relating to climate change, pollution, and pesticides. IGP will curate in-prison public service announcements that will be broadcast in the facilities regarding environmental justice, health, wellness, and sanitation hygiene in prison during and post the COVID-19 crisis. IGP will also support and promote increased access to hygiene supplies in prisons by securing private donations of hygiene supplies and distributing them to the prisons with people who are most at risk of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the facilities. IGP will connect people who are preparing to be released from prison with information on green sector career interests, marketable skills, housing, health, family, financial needs and community resources.  IGP will also connect people who have been released from prison with “reentry friendly” green sector employers and green sector training programs. IGP will create and manage a peer reentry network that uses phone, texting, and social media to conduct wellness checks, connect a peer learning community of people committed to environmental justice, and offer support to those released from prison during the COVID-19 crisis.

Los Indios de San Gabriel (Kizh Nation), $47,620, Los Angeles County
Kizh Nation will promote the participation and involvement of four non-federally recognized tribal governments in an effort by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to incorporate tribal beneficial use definitions into their triennial review basin planning efforts. The Kizh Nation will lead the compilation of tribal information on traditional activities including subsistence fishing and traditional cultural uses of water bodies in the board’s jurisdiction. The Kizh Nation will develop a traditional use survey and collect information via phone and online, host online conference meetings, and make site reconnaissance visits. This information can be used to assess toxin exposure at these locations and establish numerical water quality objectives in the basin planning process. The Kizh Nation will help document culturally significant waterbodies to promote the reconciliation and reconnection of the tribes to inland surface waters, enclosed bays, and estuaries in their traditional ancestral territories.

North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, $34,000, Fresno, Madera and Mariposa Counties
The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California will develop and adopt an emergency operation plan for its over 1,000 tribal citizens to assist in emergency decision-making during a crisis to better prepare for a catastrophic event and strengthen tribal community resilience. The tribe’s project will provide the ability to make better decisions and coordination at the local, state and federal levels with the tribal community.

The Orange County EJ Education Fund, $50,000, Orange County
In partnership with Lead-Free Santa Ana and U.C. Irvine, the fund will conduct a lead isotope analysis study to test of 75 soil samples to help identify sources of lead in Santa Ana. The OCEJ will examine the sources of lead, such as historical leaded gasoline and lead paint, conducted on a subset of previously collected soil samples. The project will work with the Santa Ana community to identify and promote system changes to address the problem of soil lead in the community. OCEJEF’s data will initiate the development of an environmental health equity action plan and inform city of Santa Ana’s General Plan update to ensure local leaders consider lead exposure as a determinant of community health.

Proyecto Pastoral, $49,972, Los Angeles County
Proyecto Pastoral will train a core group of four community leaders in Boyle Heights through four workshops to become environmental promotoras (community environmental health workers). Proyecto Pastoral will deepen community knowledge of watershed health, surface water quality issues, and green infrastructure projects in Boyle Heights. Proyecto Pastoral will incorporate the issue of environmental health into its existing promotora model for long-term and sustainable change, ensuring community resilience to respond to evolving environmental and health challenges. Proyecto Pastoral will promote green infrastructure projects with surface water quality, protection from pollutants, and connecting these issues to a broader environmental justice and health framework with community residents. The Proyecto Pastoral promotoras will gain the skills and knowledge needed to be able to conduct effective and meaningful outreach in their community. Proyecto Pastoral will develop an asset map of existing green infrastructure and low-impact development projects designed to improve surface water quality in the Boyle Heights community. The Proyecto Pastoral promotoras will design and distribute culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach materials at 20 community workshops.

Pueblo Unido CDC, $25,000, Riverside County
Pueblo Unido  CDC will address arsenic contamination in the drinking water of the homes of predominantly farmworker, monolingual Spanish speaking communities that live in the trailer parks known as polancos, in the unincorporated part of the Eastern Coachella Valley. Pueblo Unido will conduct community meetings with mobile home park owners, test and identify water contaminants in their private wells.

Regeneration of Pajaro Valley, $20,333, Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties
Regeneration Pajaro Valley (aka Regeneración) will engage new partnerships and deepen existing ones in the Pajaro Valley to bolster community response to the changing climate through community-led solutions. This project will build climate resilience, expand climate justice leadership, and outreach to community leaders and the general public to improve understanding of environmental issues affecting the Pajaro Valley community, a mostly Latino, low-income farmworker community. Regeneración will host a lunchtime speaker series featuring community partners from environmental justice and social justice. Regeneración will also host an intergenerational town hall meeting on women and climate change to address the United Nations statistic that 80 percent of the people displaced by climate change are women, yet women are less than 30 percent of those who decide policy in national and global climate negotiating bodies. Regeneración will engage Pajaro Valley community members directly and through radio and other channels.

The Rising Sun Center for Opportunity, $50,000, San Joaquin County
The Rising Sun Center for Opportunity will train and employ four young people from low-income households or who have barriers to employment, to provide up to 750 homes with Rising Sun’s free, online Green House Call service in Stockton and other areas of San Joaquin County. Green House Calls help residents save energy and water by providing online home energy and water assessments, mailing energy and water-saving devices such as LED light bulbs and efficient showerheads to homes, and emailing information on how to continue energy and water savings. The service prioritizes underserved and hard-to-reach residents. Rising Sun youth will be trained in customer service and other workplace skills. Rising Sun will also provide conservation education, environmental literacy and professional development workshops for alumni of the program. Rising sun will do online outreach through partner organizations, paid social media advertising, email campaigns, and other strategies to recruit participation in the program.

Rose Foundation, $49,994, Alameda County
The Rose Foundation will train 25 high school youth from Oakland’s disadvantaged communities as environmental justice leaders. It will teach through virtual field trips and meetings with agency staff, other policy makers on how they and their families can take part in agency planning processes. The foundation will also teach youth how to effectively reach out to community members to promote participation in decision-making processes. A sub-group of four students will take on special projects during the school year, including citizen-science-style air monitoring and working with local community organizations to advance a resilience hub in East Oakland. The Rose Foundation will pilot new ways to engage students in advancing environmental justice and climate resilience. All gatherings will be virtual. Students will connect on electronic tablets provided by the program, they will learn how to lead community forums, and they will carry out hands-on resilience projects such as community tree plantings and food gardens, community and home weatherization services. Participating students will also receive kits and training to plant gardens in their own homes or yards, and students’ families will receive a donated weekly produce box for six weeks. This will connect students with local farmers while helping reduce high levels of food insecurity.

The Global Action Research Center, $49,620, San Diego County
The Global Action Research Center (GARC) will train 30 San Diego residents on the benefits of applying green infrastructure solutions in the form of climate friendly food forests, planting trees, community gardens, water harvesting, composting systems, and bioswales. GARC youth will utilize what they learned from the project to develop and implement an education campaign on climate change issues to other community residents and elected officials with the goal of developing working relationships to inform climate change decision-making processes.

Tuolumne River Trust, $35,000, Stanislaus County
The Tuolumne River Trust will engage west Modesto residents in planning and developing the Tuolumne River Regional Park Carpenter Road parcel. The trust will outreach and recruit West Modesto residents, businesses, and organizations to participate in creating a revitalization action plan for the parcel. It will also work with Santa Clara University and West Modesto residents to create an actual or virtual park audit for community stakeholders by conducting a bilingual community survey and a digital story map. The park audit will help residents understand barriers to access as well as inspect the existing infrastructure. The trust will facilitate meetings with community residents and partners. The trust will teach community residents how to use online tools and applications to inform the TRRP plan, including the City of Modesto Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Department’s online tool.

 Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association, $50,000, San Diego County
The Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association (SCTCA) will identify the watersheds within in the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board’s jurisdiction  where Native American cultural uses are occurring and where appropriate water quality standards are needed to ensure vulnerable populations are protected. The grant will fund a project to improve the quality of water in areas of traditional harvest through identification of culturally sensitive areas in the San Diego watershed. The SCTCA will also work with traditional practitioners to highlight ecological benefits of traditional environmental management. The project will use Geographical Positioning Systems to identify the locations of cultural resource areas subject to current, past or potential future utilization. Geographical Information Systems will be used to categorize and delineate the areas and inform the basin planning process.