Youth Access to Nature Fund — Meet the Current 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 the current cohort of Youth Access to Nature Fund grantees.

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.
  • Brothers on the Rise: To provide opportunities for low-income, urban male youth of color to explore nature through year-round excursions and rites of passage.
  • Brown Girls Surf: To engage low income girls of color in the sport of surfing via culturally relevant programs with role models from their own community.
  • 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
  • Common Vision: To engage Alameda, Richmond, and Oakland youth in hands-on tree planting and outdoor learning projects that cultivate useful skill and character development, and environmental literacy.
  • Earth Team: To provide year-round environmental leadership and stewardship opportunities to low-income students from East Bay high schools
  • 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.
  • Girlventures: To empower diverse Bay Area girls through immersive outdoor expeditions and experiential education
  • 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.
  • Literacy for Environmental Justice: To engage youth in activities that promote human health, community connections to urban green space, and climate resilience in Southeast San Francisco
  • Marine Science Institute: To provide more than 1,000 students from low-income Bay Area schools direct contact with marine animals so that they learn about the interdependence of all living things, the direct connection we have to our physical environment, and the special responsibilities of humans to the environment
  • 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.
  • SF Rec & Park Dept: To support the Greenagers program, whose participants develop a deeper understanding and connection to the natural world around them and acquire the tools and leadership skills needed to affect real change in their own communities
  • 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.
  • The Watershed Project: To engage K-12 children in building local climate resiliency within at-risk communities in the Bay Area through hands-on outdoor and service learning experiences.
  • 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.
  • Ujimaa Foundation: To increase opportunities for over 500 youth in Oakland to develop their sense of self-awareness and gain life skills through outdoor activities.
  • 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.
  • YES – Nature to Neighborhoods: To support year-round opportunities for underserved Richmond youth to connect to the outdoors and receive leadership training, job skills, and employment opportunities
  • YMCA of San Francisco: To provide youth from traditionally marginalized and underserved communities in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties with access to nature and nature-based experiences.

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

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

Thank you for your partnership in our work toward liberation.