Environmental justice is built on the belief that by working together we can create a brighter future for present and future generations. By looking at climate change through a human rights and racial equity lens, we begin to discover the toll global warming takes on some of the most vulnerable populations and start to analyze how philanthropy can play a role in strengthening all communities.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, certain populations are more vulnerable because of differences in their exposure, sensitivity or ability to adapt to climate-related stresses. Historically, the negative effects of our changing climate are disproportionately felt by low-income communities of color.

For example, low-income communities of color are more likely to live within areas zoned for industrial facilities, which contribute to air pollution, safety issues and health concerns. That poor air quality has been proven to lead to serious, sometimes life-threatening, cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses among residents.

In addition, extreme weather events, such as drought or flooding that we often experience here in San Diego, can have devastating consequences for low-income communities due to lack of resources and public support.

That’s why The San Diego Foundation and San Diego Grantmakers have joined together for a new grant cycle that will champion environmental justice in the region.

The grants will focus on the intersection of social justice and climate change to ensure that all people, particularly those from underserved communities, are protected from the harmful effects of our changing climate.

As Director of Environment Initiatives Lydia Van Note shared, “This grant partnership combines the regional impact of The San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative with the social justice focus of the San Diego Grantmakers Social Equity Collaborative Fund to launch a climate justice funding initiative that connects and amplifies a community-driven approach to local climate solutions.”

Since its inception, The San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative has partnered with key funders to engage local stakeholders at the intersections between climate, water, equity, land use and housing. Through these efforts, The San Diego Foundation has invested more than $3.5 million to help develop public action plans and spur innovative solutions that prepare local cities for climate change, as well as protect San Diego’s most vulnerable populations and communities.

Up to $300,000 in grant funding is available to nonprofit organizations that are advancing racial and climate justice in San Diego County.

To learn more about The San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative or apply for the Climate & Social Equity Fund grants, click here. The deadline to apply is January 16.

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