Youth Access to Nature Fund


The San Francisco Foundation believes that we must engage our youth and expose them to nature if we are to create the next generation of environmental stewards and preserve our natural resources.

Through the Robert and Kathryn Riddell Fund at The San Francisco Foundation, the Riddell family has provided hundreds of children in the Bay Area with the opportunity to engage in environmental education programs, explore natural areas across the region and become future stewards of our natural heritage. The family has enabled low-income children from underserved areas to see the ocean for the first time, visit the awe-inspiring redwoods, and get their hands dirty in the soil, thereby giving countless youth the life-changing experiences in nature that all children deserve.

The San Francisco Foundation also believes in the transformative power of nature on children, and that every child has a right to a nature-based experience. In 2016, the Foundation launched the Youth Access to Nature Fund in partnership with the Riddell family, for children from low-income communities and communities of color who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience nature. Grants from the fund go to organizations working to provide disconnected and underserved youth in the Bay Area access to nature and nature-based experiences. Our hope is that these adventures in nature will provide the experiences that children need to care about the environment and protect it for themselves and future generations.


PLEASE NOTE:  In 2018, the Youth Access to Nature Fund will accept grant proposals on an invitation-only basis.

2017 Youth Access to Nature Fund Grantees

$50,000 – Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project

To provide low-income youth of color in East Oakland with ongoing, hands-on, nature-based experiences.

$20,000 – Aim High

To provide 500 low-income youth of color with a free, weeklong summer outdoor education experience that teaches them to be champions for change, to advocate for the environment, and to protect it for themselves and future generations.

$40,000 – Bay Area Wilderness Training

To support outdoor leadership training courses and outdoor equipment loans to enable participation in outdoor activities by young people of color.

$50,000 – 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.

$40,000 – EarthTeam Environmental Network for Educators and Teens

To provide yearlong environmental leadership and stewardship opportunities to low-income students from East Bay high schools.

$32,500 – Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park

To enable Fruitvale youth to immerse themselves in the study of wildlife and ecology, and enjoy physical exercise in a neighborhood park.

$30,000 – GirlVentures

To empower diverse Bay Area girls through immersive outdoor expeditions and experiential education.

$30,000 – Golden Gate Audubon Society

To improve the lives and learning of students and their family members in underserved communities through hands-on exploration and protection of local natural spaces.

$40,000 – Kids for the Bay

To engage elementary school students in Alameda and Contra Costa counties in hands-on environmental science education.

$25,000 – Latino Outdoors

To engage Bay Area Latino parents and children in experiential education outings in regional, state, and national parks.

$35,000 – Literacy for Environmental Justice

To engage youth in activities that promote human health, community connections to urban greenspace, and climate-resilience in Southeast San Francisco.


$25,000 – Outdoor Afro

To facilitate whole-community nature engagement for African-American youth and their families.

$30,000 – Planting Justice

To empower low-income youth to become better environmental stewards through growing organic food and expanding local food- and sustainability-oriented economic opportunities.

$40,000 – Pogo Park

To provide 5,000 at-risk children in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood with opportunities to connect with the natural world.

$15,000 – Sama Sama Summer Camp Cooperative

To engage low-income Pilipino youth in the outdoors and their natural environment.

$25,000 – Seeds of Awareness

To offer nature-based social and emotional learning to neuroatypical children from low-income communities.

$20,000 – Seven Tepees Youth Program

To connect low-income youth with the natural environment to increase environmental literacy and justice.

$25,000 – The Student Conservation Association

To empower Bay Area youth of diverse backgrounds to connect with and become stewards of Bay Area parks and open spaces.

$50,000 – The Watershed Project

To engage more K-12 children in building local climate resiliency within at-risk communities in the Bay Area.

$25,000 – Ujimaa Foundation

To increase opportunities for at-risk youth in Oakland to develop their sense of self-awareness and gain life skills through outdoor activities.

$40,000 – Urban Tilth

To provide youth of color in Richmond with daily opportunities to engage deeply with the natural world.

$30,000 – Vida Verde Nature Education

To provide low-income, urban Bay Area students with free, multi-day environmental education that positively and powerfully impacts their connection to the outdoors, academic performance, and character development.

$25,000 – Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative

To provide an alternative, relevant, experiential, and academically rigorous education to diverse, at-risk students at two San Francisco high schools.

$15,000 – Wildlife Associates

To help foster, at-risk, and homeless youth develop social and emotional skills through orchestrated interactions with animals and nature.

$40,000 – Youth Enrichment Strategies

To provide underserved Richmond youth with multiple, meaningful, and sustained outdoor experiences.

$30,000 – Youth Outside

To support the development of diverse, culturally competent outdoor education leaders.


For more information regarding the Youth Access to Nature Fund, please contact Francesca Vietor, Senior Director, Expanding Access to Opportunity at