Youth Access to Nature Fund

Youth Access to Nature Fund

As of January 1, 2022, Justice Outside will begin operating the Youth Access to Nature program, including all fundraising activities and grantmaking decisions. Read more in our full announcement.

  • Grantees and grantseekers can review our FAQs below, or contact Laura Rodriguez at Justice Outside (
  • Donors are strongly encouraged to continue supporting Youth Access to Nature’s meaningful work by making donations directly to Justice Outside. San Francisco Foundation donors can speak to their philanthropic advisor about making future gifts to Youth Access to Nature or contact Francesca Vietor fvietor[at] with questions.
Frequently Asked Questions

I have a current grant from YAN that will conclude in 2022. Will I be eligible to apply for a new grant in 2022?

Yes, Youth Access to Nature’s new operating organization, Justice Outside, will invite your organization to review its grantmaking guidelines.  If your organization is eligible, you can submit an application for a new grant in spring 2022.

I have a YAN multi-year grant that was initiated by San Francisco Foundation (SFF). Who do I submit my progress reports to for subsequent payments?

If you have a multi-year grant with SFF, going forward, please submit your reports to Justice Outside. Your grant payments will continue to be issued by SFF.

I do not currently have a YAN grant. How do I know if I am eligible to receive one?

Please review Justice Outside’s grantmaking guidelines.

I am a current YAN grantee. Will I still receive capacity-building trainings?

Yes, Justice Outside will continue to coordinate capacity-building trainings for the YAN grantee cohort.

Aside from the Youth Access to Nature Fund (which is now managed by Justice Outside), does SFF offer any other grants related to the environment and nature?

SFF does not have any other grantmaking programs specifically dedicated to the environment and nature. Learn more about our SFF’s equity grantmaking and other funding opportunities.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Beginning January 1, 2022, please contact Laura Rodriguez at Justice Outside (laura@justiceoutside.orgshould you have any questions about the Youth Access to Nature program.

About Youth Access to Nature Fund

In 2016, the late Kathryn Riddell approached the San Francisco Foundation to help create a giving plan that would combine her key interests: children, the environment, and education. Her vision, in partnership with the foundation’s commitment to racial and economic equity, helped launch the Youth Access to Nature Fund. Since then, the fund’s growing pool of donors has helped provide hands-on outdoor experiences to more than 100,000 Bay Area children who now can blossom into lifelong nature enthusiasts. 

The fund expands access to nature by creating outdoor experiences for many children of color who deserve access to safe, green spaces, and who otherwise would not easily get outdoors due to the cost of transportation, gear and other expenses. The vision is to provide as many opportunities as possible for children to interact with and develop a lifelong appreciation of nature.

The Youth Access to Nature Fund has helped Bay Area children experience the ocean for the first time, visit the awe-inspiring redwoods, plant food and flowers, and have the formative experiences in nature that benefit all children. Our hope is that these meaningful experiences will help kids, no matter where they live nor what their background, reach their full potential and develop a deep love for nature. We also hope they will be inspired to protect our planet — for themselves and for future generations. 

Youth Access to Nature Fund Cohort: these grants help ensure that all children experience nature, helping them become strong leaders and students, and improving their mental and physical health. Since 2016, thirty-five organizations (view our 2021 grantees) have received more than $5 million in grants. In addition to funding, grantees receive capacity building trainings in order to build organizational stability and grow the diversity of the outdoor education fieldGrants for this cohort have focused on the following outcomes:

    • Inclusiveness: Ensure that all children benefit from nature, and that organizations facilitating outdoor experiences for children also reflect the diversity of our communities
    • Organizational Sustainability: Strengthen the nonprofits that provide youth experiences in nature by investing in their governance, financial stability, strategic planning and program evaluation
    • Growing the Movement: Through storytelling, shift public perception on the importance of nature for youth 
    • Systems Change: Create wide-scale opportunities for children to access the outdoors by partnering with institutions such as school districts and health centers to dismantle racism in the outdoors 

Read Grantee Story: The Healing Power of Brown Girl Surf

Oakland Goes Outdoors: a collaboration with the Oakland Unified School District, Oakland Public Education Fund, and Bay Area Wilderness Training, this program provides Oakland students with greater access to nature and the outdoors. Launched in 2019, the program aims to provide all 7,200 Oakland public middle school students with regular outdoor experiences. With increased donor support, we hope to serve all 37,000 K-12 public school students in Oakland.

Read Grantee Story: Breathe Again

Health Equity in Nature: On average, American children spend just four to seven minutes per day outdoors. What’s more, a growing body of research tells us that limited access to the outdoors contributes to widening health inequities. To counter this, the medical community is increasingly turning to nature as a critical public health intervention that leads to happier, healthier children. This funding priority supports organizations that help children overcome trauma and develop a sense of caring and belonging.

In 2020, in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fund began supporting health equity in nature via a grant to the Center for Nature and Health at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in OaklandThe first of its kind, the center prescribes nature experiences to Bay Area children who have experienced adversity, such as homelessness, who have chronic diseasesand who struggle with social isolation. Says the center’s founder and director, Dr. Nooshin Razani“When you play in nature, you can create anything you want. You can connect with other people, with animals and other life, and feeling connected is important for your health.”

Read Grantee Story: The Clinical Case for Nature 

As of January 1, 2022, Justice Outside will begin operating the Youth Access to Nature program, including all fundraising activities and grantmaking decisions.