February 25, 2015 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation and its partners in the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative were honored today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at its annual Climate Leadership Award Ceremony. One of only two organizations in the nation to receive the “Innovative Partnerships Certificate,” the Climate Collaborative was recognized as a unique partnership working on leading edge climate initiatives that are above and beyond business-as-usual.

“I am proud to recognize the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative and all of our Climate Leadership Award winners for their actions to reduce the harmful carbon pollution that’s fueling climate change,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Our winners are providing the leadership, commitment, and solutions needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and meet the challenge of a changing climate head on.”

The Climate Collaborative is a member‐based network that supports public agencies in the San Diego region to advance comprehensive solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for climate impacts. This is achieved by building partnerships with local businesses, academia, non‐profits, and philanthropic entities to share expertise, leverage resources, and advance actions that benefit the San Diego region’s communities, economy, and natural resources.

The Climate Collaborative was created and founded by the following organizations, all of which have contributed funding: The San Diego Foundation, the cities of Chula Vista and San Diego, the Port of San Diego, the County of San Diego, the San Diego Association of Governments, the University of San Diego, and San Diego Gas & Electric.

“This award underscores the importance of our region’s continued efforts to work together and invest today in addressing climate change,” said San Diego Foundation Vice President of Community Impact Dr. Emily Young. “Since launching in 2012, the Climate Collaborative has added significant capacity for staff from localities region-wide through training and coordination, as well as partnerships with academia, businesses, and non-profits. This is critical since climate change is an issue no one agency can address alone.”

The EPA Innovative Partnerships award is based on several criteria, including the demonstration of innovation, thought leadership and public benefit. The award acknowledges the Climate Collaborative as a replicable model for other regions, highlighting its demonstrated leadership and success in the following areas:

  • Establishing a network that engages a broad reach of representatives from public agencies, non‐profits, philanthropic organizations, and academic institutions;
  • Supporting members in setting and meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets;
  • Successfully building capacity, collaborations, and expertise for public agency staff to undertake actions to increase energy efficiency and address climate change; and,
  • Supporting pilot projects that seek to integrate climate change preparedness into regional‐scale policies or plans.

Charles “Muggs” Stoll, Director of Land Use and Transportation Planning at the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) said, “As a member of the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, SANDAG is pleased that the EPA has honored the region’s work with the Climate Leadership Award and that the region’s efforts are being recognized at the national level.”

“As a founding member of the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, the City of San Diego is especially grateful to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for recognizing the efforts this group has made to facilitate climate change planning,” said Mario X. Sierra, Director, Environmental Services Department, City of San Diego. “The Collaborative’s leadership is an invaluable tool in helping the region address global climate change issues.”

This is not the first time the EPA has recognized national leadership coming from the San Diego region. Each year since 2012 when the Climate Leadership Awards began, a local agency has been honored. Prior awardees include the City of Chula Vista, Port of San Diego, and San Diego Gas & Electric, all of which are members of the Climate Collaborative.

Since its creation, several new members joined the Climate Collaborative, including the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, San Diego State University Center for Regional Sustainability, the Tijuana National Estuarine Research Reserve, the cities of Encinitas and Oceanside, and CleanTECH San Diego.

The EPA Climate Leadership awards announcement can be found athttp://www.epa.gov/climateleadership/awards/2015winners.html.

About The San Diego Foundation
Founded in 1975, The San Diego Foundation’s purpose is to promote and increase effective and responsible charitable giving. The Foundation manages more than $668 million in assets, more than half of which reside in permanent endowment funds that extend the impact of today’s gifts to future generations. Since its inception, The Foundation has granted more than $900 million to the San Diego region’s nonprofit community. For additional information, please visit The San Diego Foundation at sdfoundation.org.

About the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative
The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative is a network for public agencies that serve the San Diego region to share expertise, leverage resources, and advance comprehensive solutions to facilitate climate change planning. For additional information, please visit the Climate Collaborative at www.sdclimatecollaborative.org.

Vince Heald, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600, vheald@behmedia.com
Theresa Nakata, The San Diego Foundation, 619-235-2300, theresan@sdfoundation.org