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Newport Beach

Volume 6, Issue 75  | September 17, 2021

Orange County Community Foundation announces grants to advance environmental conservation, education

The Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF), based in Newport Beach, has announced grants totaling nearly $600,000 to advance environmental conservation and education. This total includes $100,000 granted from OCCF’s Environmental Grant Program that will support the work of 15 nonprofit organizations dedicated to environmental education and the conservation of natural resources, in addition to $495,000 granted from the Henry W. and Ellen R. Warne Family Endowment Fund for Endangered Species. These combined grant programs allow OCCF to become one of the largest and most impactful funders of conservation in Orange County – an area home to more than 30 endangered species and ecosystems critical to the survival of these species.

Orange County Community Foundation hiking

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Submitted photo

Hiking Laguna Canyon, one of Orange County’s picturesque trails

“We are honored to provide leadership in protecting the rich natural environment of Orange County, and educating the next generation about the responsibilities of stewarding Orange County’s unique environmental resources,” said Shelley Hoss, president and CEO, OCCF. “OCCF is proud to connect our donors and partners to the causes they are most passionate about, including conservation efforts and environmental education.”

The OCCF Environment Grant Program supports nonprofit projects and programs that enhance environmental literacy and public understanding of Orange County’s environmental issues. Funding is directed to hands-on education programs that increase awareness and understanding about energy, water and the conservation of natural resources, as well as the creation or support of urban parks, gardens, greenways, trail systems and rivers.

The Henry W. & Ellen R. Warne Family Endowment Fund was founded at OCCF as a permanent legacy endowment that directs one-third of its grantmaking to the protection of endangered species. The Warne Fund is dedicated to conserving endangered species and lands and restoring native habitats while providing for endangered species.

One grant recipient – the Laguna Canyon Foundation – is receiving grants from both funding sources. These grants will support the South Coast Wilderness Education Program (SCWEP) to bring thousands of second through fifth grade students from Title 1 schools in Santa Ana to Orange County Parks’ Laguna Coast Wilderness and Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park for a day on the trails. The funding will also support the Aliso Creek restoration and enhancement project to improve population numbers and habitat conditions for Least Bell’s Vireos and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers by helping the Laguna Canyon Foundation to restore approximately 80 acres of upland habitat in a severely degraded portion of the Aliso Creek watershed.

“We are so grateful to OCCF for their support in protecting the sensitive native plants and animals that call Orange County home,” said Hallie Jones, Executive Director, Laguna Canyon Foundation. “By enabling its generous donors and partners to contribute to these vital conservation efforts, OCCF is safeguarding the future of our unique and beautiful region for future generations.”

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