Youth program that has been greening Richmond wins grant


A Richmond nonprofit that enlists underserved youth to help green the community while learning environmental education and other skills has won a grant from the Outdoor Foundation, it was announced Thursday.

Groundwork Richmond was one of eight nonprofits — and one of two from Richmond — sharing a $200,000 contribution from the Outdoor Foundation as part of a partnership with Kaiser Permanente to provide urban youth greater access to close-to-home parks.

The funds will go to the Groundwork Richmond “Green Team,” which is already thriving and creating gorgeous green spaces in the city, including along the Richmond Greenway.

The students don’t just learn about trees and nature, but also receive pre-employment trainings, STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and career exposure.

Groundwork Richmond wasn’t the only Richmond nonprofit to win a share of the grant.

Pogo Park, which employs Iron Triangle residents to build parks in their own neighborhood, and is also behind the Yellow Brick Road traffic calming project, won a grant to bring inner-city youth to Yosemite National Park and Muir Woods National Monument to deepen their understanding of nature.


The grant was part of the Outdoor Foundation and Outdoor Industry Association’s Parks4Kids initiative linked First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign.

“America is facing an inactivity crisis, which is contributing to a range of health issues for young people,” said Chris Fanning, the executive director of the Outdoor Foundation.

Added Dr. Yener Balan of Kaiser: “Instinctively we know that being outdoors has a way of making us feel better, and research has established that having access to natural areas is vital to our overall wellbeing.”

Non-profits that received funding include:

City of Dreams: San Francisco, CA – Exposes youth living in or near public housing projects to new experiences in national, state and municipal parks.
Earth Team: Berkeley, CA – Trains more than 100 students from Title I minority-enrollment schools to address environmental issues in their communities.
Groundwork Richmond: Richmond, CA – Creates a youth Green Team to revitalize the community while providing environmental education for participants.
Latino Outdoors: San Francisco, CA – Supports ongoing efforts to introduce youth and their families to national parks and other public lands.
Nature Bridge: San Francisco, CA – Provides underserved youth with a year of wilderness explorations, service projects, career workshops and more.
Pogo Park: Richmond, CA – Brings inner-city youth to Yosemite National Park and Muir Woods National Monument to deepen their understanding of nature.
San Leandro Boys & Girls Club: San Leandro, CA – Introduces urban youth to the outdoors through educational experiences and campouts.
Waterside Workshops: Berkeley, CA – Provides low-income teens and young adults with daily opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Photos: Groundwork Richmond, Pogo Park