Despite being perceived as affluent and prosperous, San Diego County faces significant economic difficulties.

Imagine a program that could help fund community-led development and infrastructure projects, bringing significant environmental, health and economic benefits to California’s most disadvantaged areas.

Fortunately, such a program exists, and it’s called Transformative Climate Communities (TCC).

What is Transformative Climate Communities?

TCC is an initiative by the Strategic Growth Council, with the California Department of Conservation. The program funds community-led development and infrastructure projects that achieve major environmental, health and economic benefits in California’s most disadvantaged communities. Transformative Climate Communities empowers the communities most impacted by pollution to choose their own goals, strategies and projects to enact transformational change.

Community Working Together

At the start of 2023, San Diego Foundation (SDF) and Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), along with 10 partners, came together to envision a climate-resilient future that will preserve, protect and strengthen San Diego’s Historic Barrios, including Logan, Stockton, Grant Hill, Mt. Hope, Sherman, Southcrest and Shelltown. Each community is a cultural gem with a history of disinvestment and rezoning that has led to toxic pollution and chronic diseases, like asthma.

The Transformative Climate Communities application, dubbed “Rooted in Comunidad, Cultivating Equity,” was grounded in the community and led by the community. During the application-building period, EHC hosted two surveys and held three community workshops to get direct feedback from residents.

The TCC grant will provide $22 million in project funding, plus $26 million in matching funds and other funding to build a healthier, more equitable and climate-resilient future in San Diego.

Receiving the $22M Grant

In December 2023, San Diego Foundation, EHC and 10 partners were awarded $22 million by the California Strategic Growth Council for their TCC application to help fund climate-resilient projects that will preserve, protect and strengthen San Diego’s central historic barrios. This is the first TCC implementation grant to come to the San Diego region.

“We are confident that through this grant, San Diego will become a much more just, equitable and resilient community,” said Mark Stuart, President and CEO of San Diego Foundation.

In total, SDF and EHC hope to leverage the grant award, plus $26 million in matching funds and other funding, to invest a total of $48 million in San Diego’s central historic barrios. Through the grant, the neighborhoods will experience unprecedented investment in green spaces, housing and transportation, community-led food production and distribution, community centers, among other climate-resilient and community benefit projects.

View the list of proposed projects.

Learn more about how the SDF Climate Initiative is reducing polluting emissions, minimizing local risks from climate change and building climate resilience in our region