Meet the Current Youth Access to Nature Fund Cohort

In 2022, we are so excited to be able to expand on our grantmaking capacity as we welcome the Youth Access to Nature Fund, formerly held at San Francisco Foundation, into our Liberated Paths Grantmaking Program. We want to take this moment to lift up and welcome the strong and vibrant community that the Youth Access to Nature Fund has created, in particular a warm welcome to our latest cohort of Youth Access to Nature Fund grantees.

Alliance for Felix Cove


The Alliance for Felix Cove recognizes that there is currently no program in place dedicated to providing access and teaching kayaking skills, Indigenous science/traditional ecological knowledge and Tamal-ko/Coast Miwok history around Tomales Bay. We are committed to inspire Indigenous youth to join our efforts to Indigenize Tamal-liwa by learning about their cultural traditions and practices of life on the water as their ancestors since time immemorial. The ancestors are waiting for their children to return and this project is an answer to their call.

CA Field School


The California Field School’s mission is to take youth on adventure learning bike tours exploring social and environmental justice. Our approach of combining active travel with educational opportunities for high school students creates life-changing experiences for our participants.

A group of young Black people standing outside. They are smiling at the camera. The blue sky behind them.

Color the Outdoors


Color the Outdoors is led by Black educators working within the San Francisco County School District. We work to bring students of color, specifically girls and LGBTQ+ youth outdoors. We’d like students to fill these spaces and explore the healing powers of the outdoors. We believe through meaningful experiential learning and early access to spaces, students of color can feel stronger, valued and seen in all aspects of the outdoors. In order to do this we need to provide educators with the skills and resources to create meaningful positive experiences. Overall our vision is to provide access and long lasting relationships with mother nature.

Hummingbirds of Oakland


The Hummingbirds Urban Farming Collective is dedicated to creating deep connections to land and community for Black children and the communities that help to raise them up. Our goal is to create  multi generational Black centered spaces that focus on deepening connection to land. The name is inspired by a folk tale told by Wangari Maathai about the mighty power of even the smallest among us.

Inner City Bliss


Discovering Nature’s Bliss integrates mindfulness meditation and nature immersion activities to foster the mental, physical, and spiritual wellness of underserved BIPOC youth in Oakland. The workshop’s components include – a lecture on the benefits of spending time in nature and how it can help with day-to-day stressors, a walk/hike in nature to help participants connect with the natural world, and a mindfulness meditation session to help promote relaxation and peace of mind.

Radical Monarchs


Radical Monarchs experience and deepen their knowledge and appreciation of nature and the environment through: (1) safely and joyfully hiking through local trails; (2) learning and drawing intersectional connections to the culturally specific origins of Pachamama, the “Earth Mother” goddess revered by the indigenous peoples of the Andes; (3) thinking critically about relationships between people and nature in ways that promote sustainability and environmental justice; (4) engaging with local environmental justice movements and organizations that strive to protect the earth.

Sama Sama Collective


Sama Sama Summer Camp is an outdoor day camp for children ages 5-14 years-old. Located in the East Bay, the camp is designed to provide children a fun, engaging and critical way of exploring the intersections of culture, arts, and ecology. With Filipino language immersion, indigenous music, dance, and exploration of our ecological heritage, Sama Sama is a summer camp experience unlike any other.

Sogorea Te’ Land Trust


Sogorea Te’ Land Trust is an urban Indigenous women-led land trust based in the San Francisco Bay Area that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people. Mitiini Numma: To Grow The Truth- is our youth-led program focused on reconnecting youth with the land and water. Youth will have access to Rematriated sites, learn about the history of organizing in the Bay Area, Chochenyo language learning, and learn about Indigenous history from Indigenous people. They will also participate in youth led research and advocacy, including seeing the return and rematriation of land back to Ohlone peoples.

Vallejo Project logo

Vallejo Project


The Vallejo Project’s Urban Agriculture pathway, is a workforce development for marginalized youth using an experiential education model. Our program fosters a deep connection between young people and nature, providing the foundation for a lifelong pathway working with and caring for nature, food, and ecological systems.

Young Legacies, Inc


Our mission is to provide a summer camp experience where Black youth expand their comfort zones, develop dynamic friendships, and embrace the outdoors. We focus on land stewardship and empower youth to act with care and agency in regards to land. Our model leads to intergenerational and community engagement; advocacy, care for outdoor spaces and building personal connection to nature. Located in Oakland and serving the surrounding Bay Area, we focus on using outdoor spaces for increased mental health benefits, space for expression and expanded knowledge of recreation activities and careers.

Brothers on the Rise



Brothers on the Rise equips agents of change with tools & resources to transform communities through responsible manhood development & strategic initiatives. Our program, Trail Brothers, is an environmental education initiative that connects male youth served by BOTR to nature through hiking, camping and other forms of outdoor exploration.

Climate Resilient Communities


Climate Resilient Communities cultivates environmental awareness while giving local youth a voice in proactive resilience planning and adaptation. Through hands-on field-trips to local parks and other outdoor spaces, our programs build stronger alliances between youth, residents, schools, local government programs and community-based organizations, creating resilience against climate-related stresses such as sea-level rise and economic instability.

GirlVentures


GirlVentures inspires girls to lead through outdoor adventure, inner discovery, and collective action.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty (Tamien Nation)


We continue to pass down thousands of years of intergenerational teachings to ensure the sustainability of our Indigenous food sources. payta (hunting): We continue to hunt to feed our families, to provide traditional meals for our ceremonial table, and use the feathers for our regalia. Hunting also strengthens our Indigenous economy by trading. huyni (fishing): Fishing in oceans, lakes, rivers and creeks is an important aspect of our culture that continues to this day. ruta (harvesting): We gather and process much of the same foods we have for thousands of years and teach our children traditional protocol at a young age.

Kutichiy Collective


We are a land trust led by the elements around us. This year, we are focusing on the flow of waters with an emphasis on ocean, marine life, and watersheds of Awaswas and Huichin Ohlone territories (also known as parts of Santa Clara and Alameda Counties), and the Pacific Ocean. The positive impact of our work is to support young people in co-collaborating with the environment around them through the repopulation of at-risk native fish species of California.

PUENTES


PUENTES is dismantling the idea that enjoying the outdoors is a luxury. PUENTES literally means bridges, and we are working to bridge the gap between BIPOC/LatinX/Spanish-speaking communities, and outdoor exploration and connection. Our mission is to strengthen personal connections to the natural world, community, and oneself.

Raizes Collective


The Cuatro Vientos program offers the youth of Sonoma County an opportunity to explore Coast Miwok, Southern Pomo and Kashia Pomo lands through a camping retreat. This retreat offers cultural and art focused workshops led Raizes Collective Teaching Artists, with an emphasis on – Education, Exposure, Empowerment and Equity in the outdoors. Cuatro Vientos aims to empower youth to explore environmental interest, education, advocacy, and their personal connection to the land.

Sankofa Roots


Sankofa Roots is a land-based learning and healing organization that offers decolonial outdoor preparedness training to Black, Indigenous and Queer-identifying youth, who are vulnerable to housing displacement and climate crisis. We teach skills like tent set-up, fire making, outdoor cooking, natural shelter building, navigation, rope-making, locating water, fishing, and wild food and medicine foraging. We also teach cultural remembrance, rooted in the reclamation and preservation of African, Indigenous and Queer foods, cultures, ceremonies and practices.

Trips for Kids Marin


At Trips for Kids Marin, our mission is to provide educational biking programs for youth from under-resourced communities in the Bay Area that encourage healthy lifestyles, self-discovery, and connection with nature.

Wicahpi Koyaka Tiospaye


Wicahpi Koyaka Tiospaye’s mission strives to re-establish and foster the understanding of Indigenous cultural traditions. The Tiospaye motto is “WE ARE THE ANCESTORS OF TOMORROW” to remind us that our actions today transcend into the future.

Please take a moment to meet the current grantee cohort:

  • Abundant Beginnings: To nurture 300 young children through an eco-justice curriculum that deepens their relationship with nature in a culturally relevant learning context.
  • Adventure Risk Challenge: To empower underserved youth through integrated leadership, literacy, and wilderness experiences.
  • Acta non Verba: To annually provide at least 150 East Oakland low-income youth of color and their families with ongoing, safe, hands-on, nature-based experiences
  • Amah Mutsun Land Trust: To engage Native youth in the preservation of open spaces, animal, plant, and wildlife in the coastal territories of the Mutsun and Awaswas peoples.
  • Brown Girl Surf: To build a more diverse, environmentally reverent, and joyful women’s, girl’s, and gender expansive surf culture by increasing access to surfing, cultivating community, amplifying the voices of surfers of color, and taking care of the earth.
  • CA Indian Museum: To reflect the rich heritage of California Indians with a fine collection of cultural items, including basketry and clothing.
  • Camp Phoenix: To provide Bay Area youth from low-income communities with deep environmental education experiences through a three-week, culturally-relevant summer camp and year-round excursions
  • Elevated Legacy: To provide a save environment where youth members can express their love, fears and aspirations; learn to manage adversity, stress and peer-pressure; develop a global consciousness; and hone the skills needed for successful and fulfilling lives.
  • Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park: To immerse diverse, low-income Fruitvale youth in wildlife and ecology in the neighborhood and local nature areas, learn about conditions local flora and fauna live in, and develop lifelong commitment to stewardship of the planet, wildlife, and community relationships.
  • Kids for the Bay: To engage elementary school students, families, and teachers at 30 to 40 under-resourced schools in low-income communities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties in hands-on environmental education at local creek, bay, and ocean watershed habitats.
  • Latino Outdoors: To inspire, connect, and engage Latino communities in the outdoors and embrace cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative.
  • Movimiento: To support adolescents, young adults, and families in navigating complex times with agility, skill, and heart.
  • Oakland Leaf: To plant seeds to grow as a youth development leader in afterschool and summer programming.
  • Our Wilderness Now.
  • Outdoor Afro: To facilitate whole-community nature engagement for African-American youth and their families.
  • Peacemakers: To provide a system of care to deliver services that recognize the importance of family, school and community; and seek to promote the full potential of children, families and communities with the greatest needs by addressing their physical, emotional, intellectual and social challenges.
  • Planting Justice: To support paid apprenticeships for sixty 16-24 year old Oakland residents over three years, to support them in nature-based education, culturally relevant mentorship, and personal empowerment, working in high-impact land-based projects to preserve nature in their own community
  • Pogo Park: To provide 5,000 children in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood with opportunities to connect with the natural world.
  • Project Avary: To enable 375 children and teens with incarcerated parents to participate in outdoor leadership activities.
  • Seven Tepees: To work with urban youth entrusted to our care to foster the skills they need to make lifelong positive choices and to create their own opportunities for success.
  • Sunrise Middle School: To provide a school environment where youth want to come each day, are excited to learn about life and themselves, where they’re allowed to question and challenge the world around them, and where they feel empowered and respected for who they are.
  • UCSF Foundation: To enable at least 120 low-income families to access natural spaces and to document the health benefits of their experiences in nature.
  • Urban Sprouts: To plant the seeds of social equity to build healthy and thriving neighborhoods in San Francisco.
  • Urban Tilth: To provide youth of color in Richmond with daily opportunities to engage deeply with the natural world.
  • Warrior Institute: To awaken a new generation of young leaders with strong bodies, minds, and spirits empowered to create health, economic equality, environmental justice, and world renewal.
  • Waterside Workshops: To engage youth and the community through hands-on learning in bicycle mechanics, wooden boatbuilding, and outdoor education.
  • Weekend-Adventures: To help kids who live in the Tenderloin see themselves beyond their neighborhood by leading trips into the arts, sciences and the outdoors.

You can also download the list of 2021 Youth Access to Nature grantees.

In 2016, the San Francisco Foundation launched the Youth Access to Nature Fund to ensure youth of color have access to meaningful experiences in nature, to support their growth as leaders and students, and to improve their mental and physical health. During its six-year incubation period at the foundation, 35 organizations received more than $7 million in grants from a pooled-donor fund at the foundation, and 125,000 youth received hands-on, transformative experiences in the outdoors.

As of January 1, 2022, the Youth Access to Nature Fund has transitioned from being managed by the San Francisco Foundation to being managed by Justice Outside. We are excited and so honored to continue to collaborate with our friends at the San Francisco Foundation during this transition. As the Youth Access the Nature Fund keeps its identity and commitments to the young people of the Bay Area, we are also holding the space to deepen the fund’s commitment to trust-based philanthropy and racial justice by implementing practices that have been modeled by our own Liberated Paths Grantmaking Program, including:

  • Prioritization of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led youth-serving organizations, in order to overcome the racial bias in philanthropic funding
  • Grant application and reporting processes that are co-designed and informed by grantees
  • Grantee organizations have the option to participate in quarterly capacity-building trainings to support sustainability and growth

You can learn more about next steps with the Youth Access to Nature Fund, including how and when to apply for grants, by joining our email community. For time-sensitive questions about applying, we warmly invite you to directly contact Rena Payan, Director of Grantmaking, at rena@justiceoutside.org.

If you would like to learn more about joining this pooled fund, please contact Robert Sindelar, Chief Advancement Officer, at robert@justiceoutside.org.

Thank you for your partnership in our work toward liberation.