San Diego Foundation offices
The San Diego Foundation offices in Liberty Station.

The San Diego Foundation and the International Community Foundation Thursday formed the Binational Resilience Initiative, intended to preserve the California-Baja coast for current residents and future generations.

The initiative launched with $294,805 in grants to four environmental nonprofits located in the U.S.-Mexico border region.

“The capacity of the Cali-Baja region’s ability to adapt and persist through changing circumstances does not stop at the border,” said Mark Stuart, president and CEO of the San Diego Foundation. “We are committed to partnering with our colleagues at International Community Foundation to address our cross- border region’s climate vulnerabilities by empowering binational collaborations between civil organizations, scientists, community leaders and other stakeholders.”

Funders for the initiative include The Builders Initiative and Alumbra Innovations Foundation, which together provided $1,975,000.

“The U.S.-Mexico border region is home to incredible innovation, leadership, resourcefulness and creativity,” said Marisa Quiroz, president and CEO of International Community Foundation. “Together our communities face multiple environmental, economic and social challenges that are further exacerbated by the impacts of a changing climate.

“Jobs, housing, transportation, a healthy coastline and access to nature are all climate issues,” she continued. “We are excited to work with San Diego Foundation to continue to support cross-border relationships that uplift and strengthen the shared resilience of our region.”

The initial grants are:

— Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association, $94,805 to improve coastal resilience through nature-based solutions and a pilot infrastructure project in Tijuana;

— UCSD – Scripps California Sea Grant Program, $100,000 to build coastal science and data collection capacity;

— Via International, $50,000 to promote sustainable development in under-resourced communities that are inequitably affected by climate change; and

— WILDCOAST, $50,000 to reduce plastics pollution in the binational lower Tijuana River watershed.

The initiative focuses on the coastline from Oceanside to Ensenada, Mexico. According to the foundations, this is the largest economic zone along the U.S.-Mexico border and generates a regional GDP of $250 billion, an estimated $70 billion in cross-border trade flows, and sees more than 90 million people crossing the border each year.

Other project partners include Resilient Cities Catalyst and the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative housed at the Nonprofit Institute of the University of San Diego.

–City News Service



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Ellen Bullock