Highlighting Fresno Park Improvements, State and Local Leaders Announce Nearly $15 Million to Support Outdoors Access Statewide

Published Date:

FRESNO -- Not far from downtown Fresno at Radio Park, the Newsom Administration’s Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot joined Fresno City Mayor Jerry Dyer to announce $14.9 million in first-ever grant awards to expand access to cultural and natural resources for youth in underserved communities throughout the state.

Nearly $1 million in grants from the Youth Community Access Program will go toward programs in the Fresno region to support youth access to outdoor activities.

All the grant funding – 100 percent – will support, educational, job training and outreach programs, and small capital asset projects located in and providing benefit to underserved and low-income communities across California.

Radio Park is a recent recipient of the state’s largest-ever one time investment in parks and open space for underserved communities. The park will receive more than $6 million for improvements.

“Helping kids from all our communities get outdoors and into nature supports their physical, emotional and mental health,” said Secretary Crowfoot. “Governor Newsom has been clear on our goal: Enable all Californians to get outdoors and explore our natural places, historical sites, and diverse cultures. Launching this grant program today is a big step toward this vision.”

Mayor Dyer explained Radio Park will get a renovated soccer field, two playgrounds, a water spray park, art murals and a performing arts stage. The Youth Community Access Program grants announced today will support wellness activities -- including trips to national parks and beaches, access to the San Joaquin River Park, outdoor adventures in the Central Valley for teens, and hands-on agriculture training for kids to learn about farming.

“Before taking office, I established my vision for Fresno, which prioritizes youth investment – especially in underserved parts of the City,” said Dyer. “These youth and park grant awards are exactly the kind of investment in our youth that I envisioned, especially in light of the physical, emotional and mental impact of the COVID pandemic. These grants are an investment that will give our youths and their families even more opportunities. When we all pitch in, our youth win – and we truly become One Fresno.”

The Youth Community Access Program first-ever grants will fund projects from San Diego to Siskiyou counties, with 65 projects that bring youth in underserved communities into parks, nature and places of cultural and historic landmarks.

One program in Fresno to receive funding is California Health Collaborative. Adrian Sanchez, a high school senior and youth advocate for the program, told those gathered at Radio Park today he understands the benefits of getting outdoors. “I remember swimming in a real lake for the first time when I went to camp and, in that moment, not have to worry about anything else but just enjoy being a kid,’ said Sanchez. “Enjoying the outdoors is exactly what all youth need with the challenges of COVID-19 still present. I’m excited to see youth from my community enjoy more opportunities to get outside.”

Daisy Lopez, California Health Collaborative’s senior director of program services, added, “The benefits of being outdoors, such as increasing physical activity, reducing stress, and building confidence, are crucial to the overall health and wellbeing of our young people. This funding will support us in partnering with local youth to increase access to the positive effects of being outside while connecting to their peers and building awareness of local and statewide natural resources.”

The Youth Community Access projects include a vast variety of efforts to develop youth leadership while sailing the ocean, constructing trailheads, exploring the Gold County, restoring a fish hatchery and other activities that encourage getting outdoors.

Youth Community Access is a grant program funded by the Proposition 64 marijuana tax to support public, educational, job training and outreach programs, as well as small capital projects and clean vehicle purchases that expand youth access to cultural and natural resources. Awards are prioritized for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies, as well as other underserved communities.

In 2016, Californian voters passed the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64), which allocates marijuana tax dollars to the Youth Education, Prevention, Early Intervention and Treatment Account (YEPEITA) to promote youth wellness. Each year, 5 percent of the YEPEITA fund is specified to support the California Natural Resources Agency’s Youth Community Access Program.

Fresno projects are highlighted below, with the statewide list of projects following.

California Health Collaborative will receive $300,000 to provide approximately 300 youth with outdoor wellness activities, including trips to national parks and beaches for Latinx youth from the communities of Parlier, Reedley, and Orange Cove.

San Joaquin River Parkway & Conservation Trust, Inc. will receive $63,481 to provide access to multiple open space areas along the San Joaquin Parkway for 40 youth from Fresno and Madera counties.

Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs will receive $260,125 to support the Get Outside Adventure Leadership program to introduce approximately 75 youth ages 12 to 18 from the Central Valley to the Sierra Nevada. 

Building Youth Tomorrow Today will receive $200,000 to provide 44 youth in West Fresno with hands-on, experiential agriculture training on a farm operated by African American Farmers of California.

Full List of Awards

  • Adventure Risk Challenge, $50,000, Youth Outdoor & Literacy Programming in Rural Merced County
  • Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory, $295,533, Nikan Tochan
  • Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos, $300,000, Van Purchases, Cultural Field Trips and Programs
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, $300,000, Youth Access to Mendocino Redwoods and Native American Culture
  • Building Youth Tomorrow Today, $200,000, Youth in Agriculture for Health
  • California Health Collaborative, $300,000, Growing Resilience Through Outdoor Wellness (GROW)
  • Camp Fire Angeles, $106,925, Camp Fire’s DeForest Nature Ambassadors
  • Camp Phoenix, $153,200, Camp Phoenix Year-Round Community Access Program
  • CCC Foundation, $261,085, Wilderness Access Program
  • Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI), $300,000, The CERI Youth Environmental Justice/Green Careers Project
  • City of El Monte, $300,000, Junior Recreation Leader Volunteer Program Teen Nature and Cultural Adventures
  • City of Redding, $56,970, Shasta Youth Outdoor Leadership Initiative
  • Coastal Watershed Council, $80,048, Watershed Rangers
  • Community Coalition, $251,364, 30 Years of Youth Power in South LA: Resistance, Resilience and Reclamation
  • Delhi Center, $254,731, Adventures in Nature with Teens
  • Earth Team, $237,000, Sustainable Youth Internship Program
  • East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, $300,000, Lion’s Pride Youth Program
  • East Bay Asian Youth Center, $293,817, Camp Thrive
  • Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps, $300,000, ESCC Range Program
  • Heart and Soul Design Communications Center, $57,250, We Are One
  • HOMEY, $299,490, Kalpulli Outdoors
  • Horn of Africa Community, $300,000, The PARC (Park Adventures for Refugee Children) Project
  • ICF Center for Cross Border Philanthropy, $135,100, Building Sustainable Communities: Youth Leadership Program
  • Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, $300,000, Camp Bob Waldorf
  • Lao Family Community Development, Inc., $299,900, Oakland Youth Access Program
  • Life Learning Academy, $50,000, Life Learning Academy’s Ecology Program
  • LifeSail, Inc., $69,278, Sail Away: A Foster Youth Ocean Adventure
  • Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, $299,916, Garden Apprenticeship Program
  • MeWater Foundation, $31,600, MeWater Youth ENGAGE Program
  • New Economics for Women, $280,000, NEW’s Explorers: Seasons of Learning and Leading
  • North East Trees, Inc., $299,964, Youth Environmental Leadership Program
  • Outdoor Outreach, $300,000, Outdoor Outreach Youth Leadership Program
  • Outward Bound Adventures, $181,800, Outward Bound Adventures’ Cultural Journey Through Gold Country
  • Paradise Recreation and Park District, $299,592, ELEMENTS
  • Project Avary, $275,000, Outdoor Leadership Program for Children with Incarcerated Parents
  • Regents of the University of California ANR, $297,471, Increasing Access to Natural and Cultural Resources Through California Naturalist Immersion Programming
  • Roberts Family Development Center, $300,000, Del Paso-North Sac Youth Nature Collaborative
  • Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians, $218,164, Robinson “Tsumai Bathen” Youth Project
  • Sacramento Native American Health Center, $300,000, Respecting Natural Native Relationships
  • Safe Passages/Advance Peace, $156,730, Transformational Excursions – Stockton
  • San Diego Canyonlands, $256,229, Canyon Connections Internship Program
  • San Joaquin County Office of Education, $300,000, Durham Ferry OEC Let’s Play Outside! Summer Camp Project
  • San Joaquin River Parkway & Conservation Trust, Inc., $63,481, Youth Parkway Ambassadors
  • Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, $63,826, Youth Leadership, Education and Exploration of Nature by Bicycle
  • Save Our Shores, $253,165, Junior Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Stewards Program
  • Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT), $299,933, SRT Youth Access Initiative
  • Sierra Club Foundation, $29,000, Sierra Club Angeles ICO Leaders of the Future
  • Sierra Nevada Journeys, $299,799, Tomorrow’s Youth Leaders of Color: Outdoor Mentorship Camp in the Sierra
  • Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs, $260,125, GOAL (Get Outside Adventure Leadership) Program
  • Southern California Mountains Foundation, $300,000, SCMF-UCC Naturalist/Naturalista Program
  • Summer Search, $300,000, Access to Environmental Education, Leadership-Building and Outdoor Experiences for Bay Area Youth from Low-Income Backgrounds
  • The Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program, $299,824, Youth & Young Adult Forestry and Fire Pre-apprenticeship
  • The Living Desert, $291,810, Connecting Tribal Youth to Nature Via the Torres Martinez Youth Environmental Ambassadors Program
  • The Trust for Public Land, $300,000, Youth Leading Change of Buchanan Mall
  • The Village Project, Inc., $295,043, Camp Asili
  • The Watershed Project, $290,363, Building Watershed Connections – A Youth-Led Environmental Education Program
  • TreePeople, $300,000, Natural Connections
  • US Forest Service, $300,000, Understanding the Social-Economic Benefits of Educational Outdoor Recreation Programs for Underserved Youth of Color
  • Ventana Wilderness Alliance, $50,000, Youth in Wilderness Program
  • Ventana Wildlife Society, $182,424, Providing Youth with Outdoor Experiences and Empowering Them to Address Access Inequities for Their Communities
  • Ventura County Resource Conservation District, $40,426, Fillmore Fish Hatchery Garden Restoration Project
  • Watsonville Wetlands Watch, $300,000, Increasing Youth Outdoor Access Through Climate Change Leadership
  • Wiyot Tribe, $262,628, The Wiyot Tribe’s Cultural Center Youth Community Access Program
  • YES Nature to Neighborhoods, $204,215, Pathways to the Outdoors: Cultivating & Training Environmental Stewards, Leaders & Educators
  • Youth Empowerment Siskiyou, $300,000, Camp YES



Media Contact:
Tony Andersen, California Natural Resources Agency