For Immediate Release

March 14, 2022 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation announced today that it has upwards of $400,000 in Opening the Outdoors grants available for nonprofit organizations providing equitable outdoor access programming in San Diego County.

“For more than a decade, The San Diego Foundation and its partners have worked together to increase community-driven efforts to enhance accessible outdoor space, encourage youth to learn more through hands-on education and create the next generation of environmental stewards in the San Diego region,” said Christiana DeBenedict, Director of Environment Initiatives for The San Diego Foundation.

According to The San Diego Foundation Parks for Everyone 2020 report, the communities facing systemic barriers to usable green space are those with higher concentrations of lower-income households, greater racial and ethnic diversity, and the highest rates of COVID-19 infections. Since the report’s release in 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic has exacerbated systemic inequities and has impacted marginalized communities at disproportionately high rates.

The San Diego Foundation Opening the Outdoors program was established to address this inequity and create safe, accessible outdoor space for all San Diegans. Building on the success of the Opening the Outdoors program, San Diego was chosen as a Thrive Outside Community by the Outdoor Foundation in 2019. The vision for Thrive Outside San Diego is to build regional capacity through collective impact by bringing together multi-sector stakeholders for greater coordination across education, advocacy and programming.

This year, the Opening the Outdoors grant cycle embraces The San Diego Foundation’s collective vision inspired by the Thrive Outside San Diego Community and will invest in programs aligned with these impact areas:

  • Outdoors for All: to support equitable and inclusive access
  • Outdoors for Health: to address critical health and wellness needs
  • Outdoors Forever: for conservation and environmental stewardship

These efforts contribute to building resilient communities, a pillar of The San Diego Foundation Strategic Plan, by addressing equity barriers, developing more inclusive and accessible outdoor experiences for all, and creating future generations of environmental stewards.

Nonprofits interested in applying for an Opening the Outdoors grant must submit an application by 5 p.m., Monday, April 18. Grants are expected to range from $25,000 to $50,000. The San Diego Foundation will host a webinar to review the grant guidelines and application process for interested applicants from 10 – 11 a.m., Wednesday, March 23 (register online). Staff will also host office hours for interested nonprofits on various dates throughout the application period. For more information or to apply, visit