Today San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) kicked off its annual Environmental Champions grant program to support local nonprofit organizations whose programs engage local communities in advancing clean air, clean water, waste reduction, and climate science in San Diego and south Orange counties.
More than 100 leaders from the environmental nonprofit community representing past, current and hopeful grant recipients gathered at the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center for the kickoff. SDG&E Chairman and CEO Kevin Sagara welcomed attendees and expressed both his personal commitment and SDG&E’s commitment to help combat climate change through renewable energy, transportation electrification and other initiatives.
“Climate change poses a fundamental threat to all living things and the future of our shared planet,” said Sagara. “When we work together to reduce the effects of climate change, we’re investing in our collective future.
“I feel optimistic for the future because of the many organizations and leading scientists who are working right here in our community to tackle the threats posed by climate change.”
Partnering Up to Improve the Environment
For almost a decade, SDG&E has partnered with a wide variety of nonprofits to improve the environment in southern California. Nonprofit environmental organizations are invited to apply online for grants now through April 26. SDG&E will accept grant requests ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.
This is the third year where Environmental Champions grant program will have a special emphasis to increase climate science education in our region. Applicants must address how their program(s) works to inform and inspire the public to act to protect the environment from future climate impacts.
Sharing Success Stories
At today’s kickoff, two Environmental Champions grantees, San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and Ocean Connectors shared the stage to tell their success stories.
With SDG&E’s support, Ocean Connectors has established five years of consecutive programming for students in the National School District to learn about the ocean ecosystem. The founder and executive director of Ocean Connectors, Frances Kinney, and Jonathan Isaacs, a teacher in National School District, highlighted the lasting impressions that the Ocean Connectors programs have made on students.
San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy Education Manager Ana Lutz gave a presentation on the nonprofit’s Microclimates on a Macroscale initiative, which was developed last year in partnership with another nonprofit, the Climate Science Alliance.
Through the program, SDRVC took students from High Tech Middle North County on a series of hikes through the San Dieguito Watershed to learn how habitat is being affected by climate change. Students took photos and videos to create a digital storytelling project to advocate for the long-term health of the watershed. (The image above is one of the photos taken by a student during the program).
While preference will be given to programs serving low-income and/or disadvantaged communities, all nonprofits working in the areas of clean air, clean water, and waste reduction, and climate science invited to apply for the grant. SDG&E is committed to investing up to $1.5 million in shareholder funds to support environmental programs in our service territory.
Learn more about SDG&E’s ongoing community engagement efforts at sdge.com/community.