Opening the Outdoors

The San Diego Foundation Opening the Outdoors program connects, protects and increases equitable access to the outdoors across the county, especially for San Diegans in underserved and park-deficient communities.

Since 2010, Opening the Outdoors grants have resulted in:

local nonprofit organizations supported
youth and families accessing the outdoors
acres of green space protected or improved
  • 48,000+ volunteers and residents engaged in community outreach, education and nonprofit programs
  • $179 million invested for land acquisition and stewardship
  • 1,100+ parks mapped in a new online park-finder tool, Get Outside San Diego
  • 60 miles of trails created or restored
  • 21,000 native plants installed

With support from donors and national funders, The San Diego Foundation, through the Opening the Outdoors Program and Thrive Outside Initiative, continues to bridge the environmental gap and address disparities so that youth and families can grow, connect and thrive through positive interactions with the outdoors.

Learn About 2020 Grantees

Parks for Everyone

According to the Parks for Everyone 2020 report, an update to the original namesake report released in 2010, many communities across San Diego still lack equitable access to parks and green space. The report found that the communities that historically suffer from the greatest inequities in usable green space are those with higher concentrations of lower income households, as well as communities with greater racial and ethnic diversity.

View the 2020 Report

Benefits of Green Space

Nature is not an amenity but a necessity for the well-being of San Diegans. Equitable access to parks and green space is more important than ever before to ensure every San Diegan has a strong quality of life. Parks not only improve quality of life and physical health, but provide venues to bring people together across social, economic and racial divides to build more resilient, socially-connected communities.

Thrive Outside Community

The San Diego Foundation continues to identify new ways to increase access to the outdoors 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.

As part of these efforts, The San Diego Foundation and local partners, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, County of San Diego Parks & Recreation Department, Outdoor Outreach, YMCA of San Diego County and The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego, are working together to strengthen collaboration and regional efforts to create repeat and reinforcing outdoor experiences for kids and families.

In its first year of action, the Thrive Outside Initiative has engaged more than 100 nonprofits and established a strategic plan to drive system and individual change that will remove equity barriers and further improves access to the outdoors for all communities.

Support Opening the Outdoors