November 28, 2016 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation today announced it awarded $410,522 in grants to eight innovative public-private partnerships and nonprofit programs focused on water resilience and developing smart cities prepared for the impacts of climate change in the San Diego region.

The grants assist with the development and implementation of regional and local government action plans, and address climate change through research, strategic investments and collaborations so communities enjoy cleaner air, water and a healthier and safer region.

“As we enter the fifth year of a statewide drought, it is clear we are already experiencing impacts of a changing climate, including increasing risks from more frequent and intense drought, coastal flooding and wildfire,” noted Nicola Hedge, Director of Environmental Initiatives at The San Diego Foundation. “Fully implementing local, regional and statewide policies to address climate change and ensure sustainable water resources in light of a changing climate will require concerted nonprofit and civic engagement, as well as leadership from philanthropy, government and business.”

The San Diego, 2050 is Calling. How Will We Answer? report, released in 2014 by The San Diego Foundation and Climate Education Partners, outlines the 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 that manage the risks and prepare for an evolving future.

The San Diego Foundation Climate Program focuses on preparation for and resilience to the impacts of climate change by leading efforts to inform, educate and engage policy makers, and other regional and local leaders.

Grant funding is made possible through collaboration of The San Diego Foundation, Foundation donors and other private foundations.

City of Solana Beach (Partner: Cleantech San Diego)
Project: Smart Water Monitoring: Empowering Water Knowledge, Conservation and Security ($80,000)
Why it matters: As California enters its fifth year of drought, cities and public agencies are looking for ways to implement innovative technology that creates more sustainable water solutions. This grant will establish a public-private partnership between the City of Solana Beach, Santa Fe Irrigation District and six private partners to deploy smart monitoring units that will provide a greater understanding of water use and measurable conservation efforts. This grant leverages $166,000+ of in-kind support from three of the demonstration project’s private sector partners.

Airport Authority (Partner: Cleantech San Diego)
Project: Condensate Capture and Reuse at San Diego International Airport ($80,000)
Why it matters: As part of a broader sustainability initiative, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has will pursue a range of water capture and reuse activities to offset the nearly 80 percent of airport water uses that do not require potable water. This public-private partnership will implement projects to increase the reuse of condensate from air handling units across multiple facilities throughout the Airport campus, and can serve as a model for other organizations and agencies. This grant will leverage $92,000+ of in-kind resources from the Airport Authority and private sector partners.

San Diego Coastkeeper
Project: Advocating for Sustainable Water Solutions in San Diego County ($50,000)
Why it matters: There are many opportunities in the San Diego region to save water and improve water quality through increased water conservation and stormwater capture and reuse. This project will advocate for water conservation policies and innovations, increased stormwater collection and reuse projects, and support advancement of the City of San Diego’s Pure Water project. To implement this project, Coastkeeper will work in collaboration with the Water Reliability Coalition and other partners.

Water Reliability Coalition
Project: Assessing the Potential for Stormwater Capture & Reuse ($50,000)
Why it matters: As with many community challenges, an actively engaged business community can help to develop solutions for stormwater capture and reuse to address water supply management, climate mitigation and adaptation. This project will be conducted in partnership with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce to facilitate education, dialogue and solution-seeking efforts among key stakeholders regarding the opportunities and challenges for stormwater as a sustainable water supply source.

Endangered Habitats League
Project: Climate Resiliency in San Diego through Smart Land Use ($45,000)
Why it matters: Research shows that automobile-dependent development increases vehicle miles traveled, associated greenhouse gas emissions and further drives regional risks of wildfire and higher usage of water. This grant will educate key stakeholders and advocate for smart growth planning strategies in relation to local plans and policies, such as the County of San Diego’s upcoming Climate

Action Plan, and help to ensure that as the region grows, housing choices are close to job centers and convenient transportation options while also protecting nature for people and animals to enjoy.

Center for Sustainable Energy (Equinox Project)
Project: Water Resilience Interactive Dashboard ($41,022)
Why it matters: Support for this project will build on Equinox’s multi-year track record in developing a Quality of Life dashboard of sustainability metrics and the H2Overview series to develop an online, visual and interactive tool showcasing regional water consumption and conservation data for stakeholders looking to make fact-based decisions about this critical resource. This collaborative project is a partnership among nonprofit, academic and government sectors, and will lay the foundation for incorporating other types of data into a comprehensive online Quality of Life dashboard.

San Diego Green Building Council
Project: Net Zero Water San Diego ($39,500)
Why it matters: Potable water is the most necessary, albeit scarce, natural resource in California, yet our buildings are not always designed to use this resource as efficiently as possible. Through extensive stakeholder and community engagement, this project will educate stakeholders and develop a roadmap for more net zero water buildings in the region. The project will engage industry experts, local government staff, elected officials, and non-profit partners.

Surfrider Foundation
Project: Carbon Connection ($25,000)
Why it matters: Few local climate action plans comprehensively address the important nexus between water and energy, to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change to water resources. The purpose of this grant is to host educational workshops regarding the urgency of climate change action and the connection between water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to increase dialogue and promote sustainable water solutions to maintain local quality of life.

About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation maximizes the impact of charitable giving to enact positive social change in our region. We mobilize resources to advance quality of life, increase social impact and champion civic engagement though effective, responsible and innovative philanthropy. We are your community foundation committed to arts & culture, civil society, education, environment, health and human services, and youth development to build equity and opportunity for all San Diegans. For more than 40 years, The Foundation and our donors have granted more than $1 billion to grow a vibrant San Diego region. For more information, visit our website and consider a donation to the Fund for the Future Endowment which supports San Diego now and forever.


Vince Heald, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600,
Justin Nunez, The San Diego Foundation, 619-235-2300,