Youth Access to Nature Fund


Living in a sustainable, prosperous, and equitable society requires an understanding of how our actions individually and collectively influence not only the development of our communities, but also the use and preservation of our natural resources on which all of us depend.

Developmentally-appropriate and culturally-relevant programs can provide young people with such an understanding and vital connection to the environment and instill a sense of wonder, agency, and stewardship. Environmental education and nature-based experiences offer emotional, social, and academic benefits. Yet, far too many children in underserved neighborhoods find these experiences beyond their grasp due to costs and other barriers.

With leadership support from the Robert and Kathryn Riddell Fund, The San Francisco Foundation and its donors launched the Youth Access to Nature Fund with a simple but powerful goal: To provide disconnected and underserved young people with nature-based and outdoor experiences.

Since 2016, the Youth Access to Nature Fund has provided thousands of children in the Bay Area with the opportunity to engage in environmental education programs, explore natural areas, and become stewards of our natural heritage. Young people have been able to see the ocean for the first time, visit the awe-inspiring redwoods, get their hands dirty in the soil, and have the formative experiences in nature that all children deserve. Our hope is that these experiences both in the outdoors and in communities help young people reach their full potential and inspire them to protect our natural resources for themselves and for future generations.

PLEASE NOTE: The Youth Access to Nature Fund accepts grant proposals on an invitation-only basis.

2018 Youth Access to Nature Fund Grantees

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

To provide 150 East Oakland low-income youth of color and their families with ongoing, safe, hands-on, nature-based experiences.

$50,000 – Bay Area Wilderness Training

To create access to outdoor experiences for youth of color and low-income youth from the Bay Area.

$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

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

$40,000 – Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park

To enable Fruitvale youth to immerse themselves in outdoor nature activities through a summer camp and after-school program.

$35,000 – 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.

$40,000 – Literacy for Environmental Justice

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

$40,000 – Outdoor Afro

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

$30,000 – Planting Justice

To engage low-income youth of color in hands-on experiential, nature-based learning programs.

$40,000 – Pogo Park

To provide 5,000 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 Filipino youth in culturally-relevant experiences and leadership development opportunities in nature.

$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.

$30,000 – The Student Conservation Association

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

$50,000 – The Watershed Project

To engage K-12 children in building local climate resiliency within at-risk communities in the Bay Area through hands-on outdoor and service learning experiences.

$50,000 – Ujimaa Foundation

To increase opportunities for 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.

$25,000 – 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 students at two San Francisco high schools.

$40,000 –YES Nature to Neighborhoods

To support year-round opportunities for underserved Richmond youth to connect to the outdoors and receive leadership training, job skills, and employment opportunities.

$50,000 – Youth Outside

To support the development pipeline for creating greater cultural relevancy in the outdoor field.


For more information regarding the Youth Access to Nature Fund, or to make a donation to the Fund, please contact either Francesca Vietor, senior advisor, at, or Carlos Garcia, senior philanthropic advisor, at