In January, Central Valley Community Foundation awarded environmental grants in the areas of smart growth and river restoration. The smart growth grants were directed toward projects that advance public health, social equity, support environmental sustainability and economic growth.

The river restoration grants were awarded to projects that support the restoration of the San Joaquin River. Eight organizations received grants totaling $250,000.

Smart Growth Grantees:

Fresno County Bicycle Coalition

Leadership for Jobs and a New Economy

Self-Help Enterprises

Community Water Center

Fresno Food Commons Trust

Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability

River Restoration Grantees:

San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust

San Joaquin River Stewardship Program, Inc.

Community Water Center, with offices in Visalia, has received smart growth grant awards for the past two years. The grants are helping CWC engage local stakeholders to advocate for improved local planning to address and mitigate the effects of the drought. Over 1,900 Central Valley homes currently have dry wells, and more homes will run out of water as the drought continues. Community Water Center is working collaboratively to ensure drought-impacted residents receive not only the emergency assistance they need in the short-term, but also lasting solutions that will leave them more resilient to future droughts.

We were delighted to receive word that Susana De Anda, co-Founder and co-Executive Director of Community Water Center, was recognized as one of ten “White House Champions for Change for Climate Equity.” Susana has dedicated the past decade to ensuring that every Californian has access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. During California’s drought, she has been working alongside the rural, low-income communities that have been hit hardest by dry wells and increasingly contaminated drinking water supplies. Much of her work has been focused in small communities located in Tulare and Fresno Counties.

Through four years of persistent drought, communities across the state have learned that our environment is more fragile than we may have once believed.  At the Community Foundation we know that there are many highly knowledgeable and talented leaders working to make a difference in the Valley. Susana De Anda and Community Water Center are finding solutions by ensuring that the most vulnerable among us have access to clean and safe drinking water. We are proud to be part of these efforts.

For more information please go to White House Champions of Change for Climate Equity and  www.communitywatercenter.org