Opening the Outdoors

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

In 2010, The San Diego Foundation commissioned the Parks for Everyone report to better understand green access in the San Diego region. The report found that while 45 percent of San Diego County’s total land area is green space, many low-income, ethnically diverse communities have limited access to parks and open spaces. There was also a strong correlation between communities with high rates of childhood obesity and low park access.

The Opening the Outdoors program was established in response to these findings and our region’s need to connect, protect and increase access to nature across the county, especially for San Diegans in underserved and park-poor communities.

Open Grant Cycle:

2017 Grant Cycle

The San Diego Foundation is inviting proposals from nonprofit organizations working to protect and connect outdoor spaces and improve outdoor access, especially for our most park-poor and underserved communities. Specifically, partnerships of two or more nonprofits may apply for $25,000 to $50,000 for projects/programs that contribute to two or more of the goals listed below:

  • Increase access/connectivity to trails, parks, and natural amenities in neighborhoods where resources are deficient (access can include transportation and/or activities that make the outdoors more culturally relevant to typically park-poor neighborhoods).
  • Connect and protect nature through conservation/restoration/acquisition of key lands.
  • Encourage kids from park-poor communities to safely engage with the natural environment through physical or educational activities.
  • Build community support for relevant public policies or funding.

Rationale

San Diegans throughout our region take pride in protecting and restoring the region’s natural lands, water and air quality. In a Foundation-facilitated survey, Our Greater San Diego Vision, San Diegans region-wide stated that a healthy, beautiful and accessible environment was a high priority. However, our Parks for Everyone report found that while more than 45% of San Diego County’s total land area is green space, many low-income, ethnically diverse communities have limited access to parks and open spaces. It is with these findings in mind, that we launched our Opening the Outdoors program in 2013 to connect and protect nature, build trails and create outdoor spaces.

Webinar Recording & Details


Interested applicants can schedule office hours by appointment to answer questions from 10:00am to noon on February 1 and February 14. Please contact Bridget Altman at bridgeta@sdfoundation.org to sign up for office hours, or contact Mallory Morgan at mallory@sdfoundation.org for questions about the grant opportunity.

Grant Guidelines

Application Questions

Apply Now

Application Deadline: March 1, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)


See 2016 Grantees

Our Impact:

  • 13,000+ accessed the outdoors to experience nature through our program partners in 2012-2015
  • 20,000+ volunteers engaged in community outreach, advocacy and environment-based education programs
  • 40,000+ acres of critical natural habitats and green space was acquired (equivalent in size to six Balboa Parks)
  • 2,300+ residents helped revitalize green space and reduce exposure to toxic pollutants
  • $165+ million secured in private and public funding for land acquisition and stewardship
  • The beautification of two sister parks, Border Field in San Diego and Parque Sauces in Tijuana, now provide a welcoming place for families

Learn More About Our Impact

Over the next three years, we are partnering with San Diego Grantmakers, the Satterberg Foundation and other donors at The San Diego Foundation to support efforts to:

  • Increase community-driven efforts to enhance trails, signage, and natural amenities in neighborhoods where resources are deficient (provisions that increase access to resources including hiking/biking/horse trails, picnic areas, gathering places, etc.);
  • Encourage kids from park-poor communities to engage with the natural environment through physical or educational activities;
  • Connect and protect nature through conservation/restoration/acquisition of key lands or building community support for relevant public policies or funding; and
  • Engage residents in revitalizing natural areas in their communities and diverse volunteers in community outreach, advocacy, and environment-based education programs.

Support Opening the Outdoors


Contact Our Community Impact Team

  • Or call us at (619) 402-1827 to speak to a team member right away.

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