October 8, 2019 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation today announced it awarded $364,000 in grants to six nonprofit programs that will increase equity and strengthen regional resilience as it relates to diminishing water supplies due to the impacts of climate change.

“As climate change increasingly impacts our daily lives and threatens the region’s access to water and its infrastructure, these grant projects will help ensure that the communities most impacted by global warming have the knowledge and tools to protect their quality of life,” explained Lydia Van Note, Director of Environmental Initiatives at The San Diego Foundation. “By investing in capacity building and community-driven efforts, The San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative is empowering all San Diegans to take action and work toward solutions that mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

Since 2015, The San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative has partnered with key funders to engage local stakeholders at the intersections between water, climate, agriculture, equity, land use and housing. Through these efforts, The San Diego Foundation has leveraged more than $1 million in grant support to spur innovative public-private partnerships that prepare cities for climate change, as well as protect San Diego’s water resources amid a drought-prone future.

The current grants are the third phase of funding through this partnership, which heavily focuses on the intersection of climate, water and equity. As outlined in The San Diego Foundation’s Economic Resilience: Water report, local demand for water in San Diego is expected to increase by 46 percent by 2035. The San Diego Foundation is committed to help prepare for this future by building public awareness and investing in programs and solutions to increase water conservation and reuse, particularly among the most vulnerable communities in the region.

The 2019 grants also support the findings from the San Diego, 2050 is Calling. How Will We Answer? report, released by The San Diego Foundation and Climate Education Partners, which outlines the broad set of challenges San Diego faces from a changing climate – including diminishing water resources, more extreme wildfires and coastal flooding – and calls on community leaders to work together to invest in solutions to manage these risks.

The San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative is committed to ensuring San Diego County is prepared for the impacts of climate change with the adoption of comprehensive, science-based climate action plans, the advancement of climate resilient strategies, by facilitating public awareness and civic engagement, and by supporting strategic initiatives that will help the region meet its climate goals.


The six nonprofit programs receiving grants include:

San Diego Coastkeeper – $100,000
Achieving Climate-Smart Integrated Water Management and Storm Water Funding in San Diego
As stormwater management becomes a growing priority across the region, it’s imperative that the City of San Diego and key stakeholders work together to identify strategies to integrate stormwater, wastewater and water supply management. This project will help San Diego Coastkeeper build its relationships with the City of San Diego to expand its strategic community engagement, education and outreach efforts, ultimately increasing the likelihood of a successful stormwater funding initiative in the future.

Climate Science Alliance (via California State Wildlife Foundation) – $74,000
Climate and Water Resilience for Natural and Human Communities
Climate Science Alliance (CSA) builds bridges between communities, scientists and key stakeholders with the goal of safeguarding communities and natural resources from the impacts of our changing climate. The grant will support CSA’s work with local Native American Tribes to build capacity and knowledge within the Tribal Work Group, as well as advance resilience planning and strategies in a region often vulnerable to heat, drought and flash flooding. The grant will also support CSA’s Climate Kids Program, which offers youth education on climate change through immersive science activities, storytelling and art.

Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek – $50,000
Climate Resilience in the Chollas Creek Watershed: A Public/Private Collaborative
Winding through the low-income neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Encanto and Southeastern San Diego, the Chollas Creek Watershed is a system of creeks and canyons in an urbanized part of the City of San Diego that drains into San Diego Bay. As part of this project, Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek will engage with stakeholders and residents along the watershed to develop strategies and policies that address watershed maintenance, stormwater control and integrated water management planning in the region.

Center on Policy Initiatives – $50,000
Thirst for Water Equity: A Snapshot of San Diego County Water Boards
In San Diego County, demand for water is increasing even while supply diminishes. Building water resiliency at the regional and community level is critical to maintain our quality of life. This project will assess community engagement efforts by water boards in San Diego County; evaluate racial, gender and socioeconomic diversity among elected and appointed board members; and make recommendations to enhance the diversity of voices included in future water decisions. The goal will be to bring more diverse voices to the table to better support all San Diego communities.

Borrego Valley Stewardship Council (via Borrego Valley Endowment Fund, Inc.) – $50,000
Capacity Building for Collaborative Governance and Community Resilience through Integrated Master Planning
Located in eastern San Diego County, Borrego Springs relies completely on groundwater pumped from the desert aquifer, which has been declining for decades due to over-pumping. Borrego’s groundwater basin is one of 21 in California that state officials have determined are in “critical overdraft” under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. In compliance with the Act, the State is requiring the Borrego Springs community to reduce pumping by 75 percent over the next 20 years. This grant will help the Borrego Valley Stewardship Council develop a community-driven, ecosystem-based, watershed management plan that will help the community become more climate resilient.

University of San Diego, San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative (SDRCC) – $45,000
Advancing Climate-Smart Water Strategies
In the past year SDRCC has invested resources in revamping its internal governance and membership structure as well as advancing key programmatic areas around energy efficiency and water to support mitigation and adaptation solutions. Through development and delivery of equity programming, this project will allow SDRCC to help regional community leaders understand how equity can be considered in planning and implementation around water.


About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation maximizes the impact of your charitable giving. We mobilize philanthropic resources to advance quality of life, increase social impact and champion civic engagement. For more than 40 years, The Foundation and our donors have granted more than $1.1 billion to grow a vibrant San Diego region. Learn more on our website, and consider a donation to the Fund for the Future Endowment which supports San Diego community needs for good, forever.


Vince Heald, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600, vheald@behmedia.com

Justin Nunez, The San Diego Foundation, 336-254-7056, justin@sdfoundation.org