This week, we kicked off our 11th annual Environmental Champions grant program – an initiative funded by shareholder dollars to support the work of local nonprofit organizations engaged in wide-ranging environmental protection and education efforts. For the first time, the program has set aside additional funds specifically for a new tree planting initiative.
Our company invites qualified organizations to apply for program funding that supports climate action in one or more of the following areas: urban greening, climate literacy and clean transportation. Priority will be given to programs that serve low-income, diverse and underserved communities. Grant applications will be accepted online through April 30.
We have designated an additional $500,000 this year to fund urban greening projects, with an emphasis on tree planting. Trees provide many benefits to the region, including shade and aesthetic benefits, as well as less visible benefits of carbon sequestration, energy savings and even stormwater filtration. As part of our first sustainability strategy released in October, we committed to helping to plant more trees.
Making an Impact Amid the Pandemic
Over the past decade, the Environmental Champions grant program has supported hundreds of grassroots environmental groups, and the impacts they have made are far and wide.
"The support from the Environmental Champions Initiative has been a critical backbone of support for organizations to expand climate science messaging and activities to thousands across San Diego County," said Amber Pairis, Founder of Climate ScienceAlliance. "We are incredibly grateful for SDG&E's long-term support and funding in our communities which has allowed us to pivot in times of crisis and continue to support the unique needs of our community partners."
With the grant funding they received, organizations have developed robust and regionally relevant climate science curriculum. Hundreds of thousands of local youths have had the opportunity to explore environmental programs that build climate literacy, provide outdoor experiences and build lifelong stewardship practices. During the past 12 months amid the pandemic, our Environmental Champions grants have also allowed nonprofits to stay afloat and adapt their programming to be delivered in a virtual setting.