Funding Available - CA Youth Community Access Grant Program

The California Natural Resources Agency is accepting applications for the Youth Community Access Grant Program with funding levels ranging from $25,000 to $300,000. The total estimated funding availability is $5.7 million. No matching contribution is required.

What is the purpose of the Youth Community Access Grant Program? The purpose of this grant program is to support youth access to natural and cultural resources with a focus on low-income and disadvantaged communities including, but not limited to, community education and recreational amenities to support youth substance use prevention and early intervention.

This program is a competitive grant program to support public programs, educational programs, job training programs, outreach programs, and small capital asset projects to support youth access to natural and cultural resources.

Who is eligible to apply? Eligible applicants include local, state and federal agencies; nonprofit organizations; federally-recognized Native American tribes; or, non-federally-recognized California Native American tribes listed on the California Tribal Consultation List maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission.

This program is designated for projects exclusively in the state of California.

What are the general program requirements?

  1. Project must serve youth. For the purposes of this program, youth is defined as a person between the ages of birth and 26.
  2. Project must increase youth accessibility to natural and/or cultural resources and associated services.
  3. Project must include design features and program elements to promote youth health, safety, well-being, and comfort.

What are the funding priorities for this program? Projects containing the following elements will be given priority consideration in funding decisions:

  1. Projects that feature youth-led opportunities. Youth-led means projects in which youth are participants in the planning, decision making, facilitation, and evaluation;
  2. Projects that propose resource awareness campaigns featuring youth and using youth vernacular; and
  3. Projects that empower youth to make healthy choices.

Will there be priority funding consideration for specific applicants? This program intends to award a minimum of 90 percent of all grant funding to projects located within and providing benefits to underserved and low-income communities. Projects that meet the underserved and low-income community approach as defined below will be the most competitive.

Underserved communities means communities of color and vulnerable populations. Communities of color are American Indian/Alaskan Native, African American, Asian-Pacific Islander, and Latinx. Vulnerable populations are foster and transition age youth, LGBTQIA youth, youth with disabilities, youth involved in the juvenile or criminal justice system, and other youth populations disproportionately affected by past state and federal drug policies.

The statutory focus on low-income communities will prioritize communities with an annual median household income less than 80 percent of the statewide average. In order to qualify as an underserved and low-income community, a project must be “Located Within” and “Provide Benefits To” the selected community. To be considered “Located Within,” 80 percent or more of the physical project for capital projects or 80 percent or more of the program participants for programming projects must be within the selected community.

What kind of projects are eligible for this program? Applicants are required to propose a program project or a capital project or a combination of a program and capital project. For combination projects the program and capital aspects must directly tie to and support each other.

For the purposes of this program, “capital project” means a project involving tangible physical property with an expected useful life of 10 years or more. A capital project is the acquisition of tangible, physical personal property or the development of tangible, physical real property, including costs of construction. In this grant program, capital projects are broken into two categories: capital development projects and capital vehicle acquisition projects. All projects, both capital and programming, must serve youth as defined by this program (a person between the ages of birth to 26).  

What are some examples of eligible project activities? In the list of eligible project activities provided below, activities are divided between programming, capital, and combination projects.

Programming activities may include:

  • Cultural festivals and outreach events for youth;
  • Youth-led outdoor skills workshops and classes;
  • Youth-led outdoor experiences;
  • Outreach campaigns targeted at underserved communities to build community awareness of a natural or cultural resource;
  • Youth-led volunteer stewardship programs;
  • Free or reduced admission to a natural or cultural resource;
  • Free bus passes to youth for access to resources;
  • Language translation and interpretation services for youth;
  • Outdoor cultural healing practices for youth;
  • Workforce development and job training programs;
  • Hands-on program to educate and involve youth in agriculture, cultivation, and farming;
  • Training to increase cultural competency of program staff; and
  • Youth-led outdoor education programs.

Capital project activities (development and vehicle acquisition) may include:

  • Acquisition of clean vehicles to transport youth to natural and/or cultural resources;
  • Redesign cultural exhibitions to increase youth accessibility;
  • Construct ADA improvements to increase youth accessibility to natural and/or cultural; resources; and
  • Create cultural installations and exhibitions for youth.

Combination programming and capital project activities may include:

  • Purchase a clean vehicle and create a program which uses that vehicle to transport youth to a nearby cultural resource;
  • Build a garden space and create a hands-on program that teaches youth how to grow and prepare healthy foods; and
  • Youth-led design and construction of an outdoor classroom accompanied with regular outdoor education classes.

What are the funding levels for this program? The maximum award for an individual project is $300,000. The minimum award amount is $25,000. The total estimated available funding for this grant program is $5,700,000.

Is there a cost-sharing/match requirement? This program does not have a cost-sharing/matching requirement.

When are applications due? Proposals must be received no later than September 16, 2020 by 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

The Final Youth Community Access Guidelines available here.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at or call us at 530-893-4764.


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