March 1, 2023
As part of the County of Ventura’s ongoing commitment to addressing climate change impacts and enhancing wildlife habitat, the County launched a new Environmental Grant Program last November. Schools, nonprofits, and community organizations were asked to apply for up to $15,000 in funding to implement shovel-ready projects or activities that support wildlife habitat restoration, species conservation, environmental education and stewardship, and/or address climate change impacts.
The Environmental Grant Program’s goal is to engage more people by reaching out and funding organizations that may not typically qualify or have difficulty competing for traditional grant programs. “We want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to participate including children, people with diverse backgrounds and abilities and income levels because we all have a role to play in being good environmental stewards.” said Linda Parks, former District 2 Board of Supervisor.
The County received 43 applications for project proposals located all over the Ventura Region and requesting funding from ~$300 to $15,000. Applicants ranged from grass roots community groups and high school environmental clubs to well-established local nonprofits environmental organizations. Majority of the applications focused on environmental education and habitat restoration projects that were committed to environmental diversity, equity, and inclusion, and removing barriers and providing access to underrepresented communities.
A Grant Selection Committee was formed with individuals from local non-profits and partner agencies to score and rank the applications based on ten criteria. This resulted in four applications being awarded funding from the new Grant Program. The funded applicants represent a grass roots collective advocating for open space and three nonprofits focused on conservation, watershed protection, and creating access watersheds and open space for underrepresented communities. Funding from the Grant Program should help some impacts felt by these organizations from the recent January storms that resulted in widespread damage across Ventura County, especially to the region’s watersheds.
Since the County received so many exciting applications, it was very difficult to rank them. Thus, County staff are looking for additional sources of funding to potentially award a couple of smaller grants. County staff is also working to connect grant applicants with funding opportunities outside of the County’s Environmental Grant Program. Lastly, through administering the Environmental Grant Program, County staff were able to learn about organizations that are doing important work to address climate change impacts and enhancing wildlife habitat. The Grant Program has helped the County connect with these organizations as well as introduce organizations that are doing similar work in hopes of creating future collaborations on project proposals.
The four Environmental Grant funded projects will have a year to complete their work. County staff looks forward to seeing their progress and learning more about each organization. For more information about the County of Ventura’s sustainability efforts, please visit sustain.ventura.org.