December 22, 2017 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation today announced it awarded $230,462 in grants to seven programs that will catalyze greater regional action to prepare for the impacts of climate change. The San Diego Foundation Climate Program and these seven grants will build on success from previous grant funding to help ensure our region is prepared with clean and secure water supplies in light of a changing climate.

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 among residents and in buildings and city infrastructure.

“San Diegans understand how valuable of a commodity water is in drought-prone Southern California,” explained Nicola Hedge, Director of Environmental Initiatives at The San Diego Foundation. “As climate change increasingly impacts our daily lives and threatens the region’s access to water, The San Diego Foundation is committed to engaging a cross-section of local leaders and nonprofit organizations in working together and investing today in solutions.”

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 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 Program identifies and promotes solutions to address climate change by leading efforts to inform, educate and engage policymakers and other regional and local leaders. Grant funding is made possible through collaboration of The San Diego Foundation, individual donors and private foundations such as the Kresge Foundation and Qualcomm Foundation.

The seven nonprofit programs receiving grants include:

Center for Sustainable Energy (Equinox Project)
Water Resiliency Dashboard and Convening – $40,000
With 2016 funding, Equinox successfully transitioned the entire Quality of Life dashboard online and built out water-specific components of this unique, online tool for 500+ decision-makers and local stakeholders to better understand the state of San Diego water use and water quality. This phase two grant will help Equinox expand water-specific research and provide updated data to decision-makers while fostering more collaboration between local governments and agencies on sustainable water management and climate resiliency issues in 2018.

San Diego Coastkeeper
Advancing Sustainable Water Solutions in San Diego County – $40,000
Climate change poses a risk to both imported and local water sources in San Diego. San Diego County boasts hundreds of miles of waterways, 90 percent of which are pollution-impaired, with stormwater runoff threatening water quality. This phase two grant will help Coastkeeper continue implementation of a three-year strategic plan to reduce water pollution by strengthening water quality regulations and practices; advocating for the prioritization of environmentally sensitive and energy-efficient water supply and use; and educating and activating residents to achieve clean water and sustainable water supply.

San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative
Advancing Climate-Smart Water Strategies – $40,000
The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative is a network for cities, public agencies and partners serving the San Diego region to share expertise, leverage resources and advance comprehensive solutions to climate change. This grant will help the Collaborative provide tools, trainings, leverage funding for cities to develop and implement climate action plans and local projects that promote water conservation and expand local water supplies through water and stormwater reuse in communities and city infrastructure.

Surfrider Foundation – San Diego Chapter
Carbon Connection – $40,000
Cities are planning to undertake a groundswell of relevant coastal and water policy development in 2018 and it is essential that stakeholders and communities are engaged in the process to integrate science-based climate change mitigation and adaptation. This phase two grant will support Surfrider member engagement, policy outreach, public awareness and education work to create greater resilience to increased coastal flooding along the coast in San Diego County and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through sustainable water management.

Endangered Habitat League
Advancing Climate Resilience, Water Conservation, and Fire Hazard Reduction through Land Use – $30,000
Automobile-dependent development has the potential to increase vehicle usage, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and risks of wildfire. This phase two grant will support work to limit the negative impact of sprawl development by advancing integration of climate change risks into implementation of the San Diego County adopted General Plan and development of a Climate Action Plan. The grant program will also expand on last year’s work by ensuring conservation of open space in North County to increase climate resilience.

Water Reliability Coalition (Fiscal Sponsor: San Diego Regional Chamber Foundation)
Residential Water Rate Reform Education & Outreach – $20,462
Water rate structures can have unintended consequences such as penalizing residents for conserving “too much” water as during the most recent drought or not providing enough incentives for conservation. As the City of San Diego embarks on water rate reform, it is essential that a broad set of local stakeholders are part of this complex process. This grant project will educate and engage the Water Reliability Coalition’s diverse members from environmental, consumer, business, labor and technical organizations about water rate reform options that can help ensure a safe, reliable, sustainable and cost-effective local water supply.

San Diego Green Building Council
Net Zero Water Education – $20,000
As water becomes a scarcer resource in the region, San Diego buildings must be designed and built with efficiency in mind. While technological and design solutions exist to address this issue, current regulatory frameworks at the federal, state and local levels include obstacles to some of the most responsible water practices including commercial composting toilets, onside indoor water reuse and blackwater treatments systems. This phase two grant will help San Diego Green Building Council provide strategies for local leaders and encourage more developers to build “net-zero water buildings” in the region.

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 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 now and forever.


Alyssa Enwright, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600,
Theresa Nakata, The San Diego Foundation, 619-235-2300,