News Releases

Fresno Regional Foundation Offers Air Quality Grants in the Central Valley

Fresno, CA - September 15, 2008 – The Fresno Regional Foundation is offering approximately $80,000 in grants aimed at improving air quality in the Central Valley. Organizations dedicated to cleaning the Valley’s air, particularly in low-income and marginalized communities, are encouraged to apply for grants that will be awarded for a one-year period and range from $1,000 to $20,000.

The air quality grants are part of the Foundation’s 2008 Human Services grant cycle. An additional $70,000 in Human Services grants are available this year for organizations with programs and services in social, education, economic and health arenas. Those grant amounts may range from $1,000 to $10,000.

The deadline to apply for the Human Services grant is October 9, 2008 at 5 p.m. The Foundation, which serves the central San Joaquin Valley, will consider applications from Fresno, Madera, Kings, Tulare, Merced, Mariposa, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Kern counties.

The San Joaquin Valley’s air basin is among the dirtiest in the country and the affects are far reaching. California’s highest childhood asthma rates are in the San Joaquin Valley. Children who live and play in bad air are three times more likely to get asthma than those who breath clean air, according to medial experts. No wonder Fresno has been dubbed the asthma capital of the state.

Studies also estimate the Valley’s bad air has staggering financial implications. The cost of the Valley’s pollution has been estimated at billions of dollars annually, primarily due to hospital visits, lost workdays and absences from schools.

Many organizations and individuals are working tirelessly to clean the Valley’s air but there are still many more opportunities to improve the health and quality of life for people who live, work and play in the San Joaquin Valley’s air basin.

Through its air quality grants, the Fresno Regional Foundation hopes to bolster academic and community-based educational efforts, improve public health in low-income communities that suffer disproportionately from environmental pollution and support measurable, outcome-based initiatives. Selection criteria for competitive grants include community engagement, cultural sensitivity, inclusion of grassroots organizations and work in disenfranchised areas.

In 2007, the Fresno Regional Foundation received a $1.4 million grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation that is being used to tackle two pressing issues in the central San Joaquin Valley: teen pregnancy and air quality. Over the next three years, the Fresno Regional Foundation will disburse the bulk of this $1.4 million grant to local non-profit organizations in the central San Joaquin Valley.

During the past two years, the Fresno Regional Foundation has experienced substantial asset growth, a tremendous elevation in the number and size of grants made and the establishment of solid relationships with other prominent philanthropic organizations, such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This relationship, and the Fresno Regional Foundation’s continued growth, will result in a much-needed boost of support for non-profits working to improve the region’s air quality.

Advisory Committees are guiding the development of re-granting programs. Recent grants made by the Fresno Regional Foundation have supported local non-profits working on a range of Central Valley priorities including human services, youth development, literacy, culture and the arts.

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