New initiative is a partnership of San Diego Foundation and International Community Foundation, other funders

October 20, 2022 – San Diego, CA – San Diego Foundation and the International Community Foundation announced today the formation of the Binational Resilience Initiative to preserve the Cali-Baja coast for current residents and future generations. The initiative launches with $294,805 in grants to four environmental nonprofits located in the U.S.-Mexico border region.

“The capacity of the Cali-Baja region’s ability to adapt and persist through changing circumstances does not stop at the border,” said Mark Stuart, President and CEO of SDF. “We are committed to partnering with our colleagues at International Community Foundation to address our cross-border region’s climate vulnerabilities by empowering binational collaborations between civil organizations, scientists, community leaders and other stakeholders.”

The inaugural Binational Resilience Initiative grants funded through San Diego Foundation will address immediate needs in coastal preservation and improve the ability of decision-makers to respond to climate-related impacts along the Cali-Baja coastline, including:

  • Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association – $94,805 to improve coastal resilience through nature-based solutions and a pilot infrastructure project in Tijuana, Mexico.
  • UCSD – SCRIPPS California Sea Grant Program – $100,000 to build science and data collection capacity to support the coastal resilience needs of the San Diego-Baja community.
  • Via International – $50,000 to strengthen binational, regional leadership by promoting sustainable development in under-resourced communities that are inequitably affected by climate change.
  • WILDCOAST – $50,000 to reduce plastics pollution in the binational lower Tijuana River watershed.

“The U.S.-Mexico border region is home to incredible innovation, leadership, resourcefulness and creativity. Together our communities face multiple environmental, economic and social challenges that are further exacerbated by the impacts of a changing climate,” said Marisa Quiroz, President and CEO of International Community Foundation. “Jobs, housing, transportation, a healthy coastline and access to nature are all climate issues. We are excited to work with San Diego Foundation to continue to support cross-border relationships that uplift and strengthen the shared resilience of our region.”

The Binational Resilience Initiative places geographic focus on the Cali-Baja coastline region that spans from Oceanside in North San Diego County in the U.S. to Ensenada in Northern Baja California, Mexico. This is the largest economic zone along the U.S.-Mexico border and generates a regional GDP of $250 billion, an estimated $70 billion in cross-border trade flows and more than 90 million people crossing the border each year. To sustain the resilience of the region, the initiative will pioneer a binational model that helps the region adapt to the impacts of climate change by leveraging existing cross-border connectivity of its social, economic, energy, freshwater and coastal resources.

Funders for the Binational Resilience Initiative include The Builders Initiative (BI) and Alumbra Innovations Foundation, which together seeded the initiative with $1,975,000 in combined funding.

“Builders Initiative is thrilled to lend its support as San Diego Foundation and International Community Foundation embark on this incredible collaboration with Resilient Cities Catalyst and the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative,” said Laura Rodriguez, Senior Oceans Portfolio Officer with Builders Initiative. “We know that those closest to the issue are the best equipped to solve it, and the BRI reflects this place-based expertise and passion at work. As this team works to realize the Cali-Baja region’s climate resiliency, BI can’t wait to see what innovative projects, creative solutions and unique friendships arise from their efforts.”

Other project partners include Resilient Cities Catalyst and the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative housed at the Nonprofit Institute of the University of San Diego. Learn more about the Binational Resilient Initiative at

About San Diego Foundation

San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region. Our strategic priorities include advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy to realize our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities. For more than 47 years, SDF and its donors have granted more than $1.45 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at

About International Community Foundation

Founded in 1990, International Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to work across borders to connect people, ideas and investments in the transformative power of community. We have a vast network of partners in the region, long-standing relationships with nonprofit organizations and community leaders at the border and beyond and can identify trustworthy grantees. Our team members, who have lived and traveled throughout Latin America, offer unique cultural insights and first-hand knowledge of the communities, initiatives and programs we support, not to mention the dedication to strengthening a community’s ability to transform regions for themselves. ICF has successfully granted more than $130 million to hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout Mexico and other Latin American countries. Learn more at


Lorena Nava Ruggero, San Diego Foundation,, 619-814-1365
Leticia Martinez, International Community Foundation,, 619-336-2250