The San Joaquin Valley faces a wide range of challenges across its large expanse, from the water crisis and air pollution to severe poverty and the challenges faced by undocumented farm workers. Yet many opportunities are at hand that could set the Valley on a better path for the people who live and work there, including new state funding and policies as well as efforts to build community power and voice.
Both these challenges and opportunities are why grantmakers are working together to share knowledge, act strategically, and better support the nonprofit partners that are working on-the-ground on a range of interconnected issues in the San Joaquin Valley.
Smart Growth California has been working with funders in the San Joaquin Valley since 2012 by organizing convenings, briefings, and learning tours, as well as by providing technical assistance. In May 2016, Smart Growth California organized a meeting for 31 funders in Fresno. At the meeting, funders agreed to launch a working group to support learning, alignment, and collaboration in order to promote healthy, equitable communities and sustainable natural systems throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Smart Growth California staffs this new effort.
The San Joaquin Valley funder working group brings together several existing groups working in the area along with funders already involved in Smart Growth California. The steering committee includes representatives from: the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, The California Endowment, the Marguerite Casey Foundation, The California Wellness Foundation, the Central Valley Community Foundation, Ceres Trust, the Energy Foundation, the Latino Community Foundation, the Sierra Health Foundation, the Water Foundation, the 11th Hour Project, and an anonymous funder.
If you are a funder working to create healthy, equitable communities and sustainable natural systems in the San Joaquin Valley and are interested in participating in this funder working group, please contact Ron Milam, Interim Director of Smart Growth California.