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Five California community groups receive EPA environmental justice grants

Contact Information: 
Denise Adamic (

SAN FRANCISCO – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced five $30,000 grants to organizations working to address environmental justice issues in California. The recipients are among other groups in 27 states and Puerto Rico receiving competitive Environmental Justice Small Grants.

“Rural and disadvantaged communities are often disproportionately affected by environmental health risks, and at EPA we are working to reverse this trend,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These grants support the President’s initiatives to invest in and revitalize distressed communities. By supporting often overlooked, local organizations that understand the unique challenges that their communities face, we’re better able to put in place long-term solutions to improve the environment and health of underserved areas of the country.” 

“We are pleased to support projects that educate residents about environmental health, collect data about local environmental conditions, and collaboratively address environmental justice challenges in local communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker.

2019 Environmental Justice Small Grants recipients in California include:

Community Services Employment Training (Allensworth) will collaborate with the Allensworth Progressive Association to engage rural youth in testing treatment technology for arsenic in drinking water. The groups will work with UC Berkeley’s Gadgil Lab, the Tulare Basin Watershed Partnership, and the Allensworth Corporation to bring together approximately 20 high school students to learn about safe drinking water, conduct hands-on testing of arsenic treatment, and present findings to the community and decision makers.

"Our youth become successful community leaders when we invest in them, and this EPA Environmental Justice grant creates such an opportunity to train future environmental stewards,” said Allensworth Progressive Association President Denise Kadara.

Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek (San Diego) will partner with the Millennial Tech Middle School to integrate air quality into the school’s science curriculum and then enlist 20 students as Healthy Home Ambassadors. The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, Coalition for Clean Air, and American Lung Association have agreed to support development of curriculum and outreach materials. The students will work with Airboxlab to do in-home air monitoring for 20 families and will work with the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative and City of San Diego on in-home assessments. The project will educate and empower the local community to improve indoor air quality for themselves and others.

Pico Union Economic Development Enterprise (PUEDE) Center / Pico Union Housing Corp (PUHC) (Los Angeles) will repurpose garbage-filled alleys into outdoor community spaces filled with green infrastructure and community gardens. In partnership with the LA Bureau of Sanitation, UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Program, and PUHC’s Graff Lab, the PUEDE Center will train 15 people to serve as Community Coordinators and engage the community in rebuilding three alleys. The gardens will help mitigate air pollution, decrease urban run-off, recharge ground water and help improve water quality in the LA river watershed.

Santa Monica Bay Foundation (Los Angeles) will partner with Environmental Charter Schools to provide experiential learning to south LA students and communities about food production, air pollution, gardening and carbon sequestration. Students will repurpose discarded furniture to create raised gardens that will utilize compost generated on-campus and explore food equity while providing the community local healthy foods.  At the end of the project, students will present their efforts to the city council to show that health equity, air quality, and climate change are a priority to community members and bring awareness to social and environmental issues and solutions.

Sequoia Foundation (San Leandro) will partner with San Leandro High School to develop and integrate a science and social justice curriculum for its 400 students to explore how environmental health impacts human health and engage city residents and leaders in developing solutions to protect community health. The project will leverage a previous air quality project in San Leandro; assess local surface water quality and develop pollution prevention strategies; and assess chemical exposure and air quality at home and develop exposure reduction strategies.

“We are excited to work with the San Leandro School District to develop lessons and strategies that allow students to become leaders in environmental justice,” said Sequoia Foundation Program Manager Deanna Rossi.

For details about these or the other 2019 Environmental Justice Small Grant awardees, visit

Information on the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, including descriptions of previously funded grants:

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