Grants Aim to Support Youth Access to Natural and Cultural Resources

The State of California Natural Resource Agency has announced more than $18 million is available in competitive grant funding to support youth access to natural or cultural resources with a focus on low-income and disadvantaged communities through the Youth Community Access grant program. Applications for grant amounts ranging from $25,000 to $300,000 are due July 29, 2022. 

What is the purpose of the Youth Community Access Grant Program?

Funded by the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64) passed by California voters in 2016, the Youth Community Access Grant Program seeks projects that support youth access to natural or cultural resources with a focus on low-income and disadvantaged communities. This includes, but is not limited to, community education and recreational amenities to support youth substance use prevention and early intervention.

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.

What projects are eligible for funding?

Eligible projects must serve youth and directly support access to either natural or cultural resources AND meet the criteria for both low-income AND disadvantaged (not one or the other) communities. To determine eligibility, the following definitions will apply:

Natural Resources include, but are not limited to, land, water, forests, fisheries, and animals.

Cultural Resources include any property or location that was created, modified, or used by people at least 50 years ago. Cultural resource means archeological sites, objects, grounds, gardens, landscapes, structures, and buildings.

Low-Income Community means a community and/or household with an annual median household income less than 80 percent of the statewide average. Two tools using this criterion are the California State Parks Community Fact Finder and the Department of Water Resources Mapping tool.

Disadvantaged Community means underserved communities of color and/or vulnerable populations (hereafter referred to as underserved). Communities of color are defined as American Indian/Alaskan Native, African American, Asian-Pacific Islander, and Latinx. Vulnerable populations are defined as 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.

At least 80 percent of the youth participants must meet the criteria for low income and disadvantaged (underserved) communities. If the project is a development (e.g., construction project), 80 percent or more of the project’s footprint must be located in the low-income community.

What are the program requirements and funding priorities?

To be eligible for funding, projects must meet ALL the following 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 years old.
  2. Project must directly support youth access to either natural or cultural resources.
  3. Project must include design features and program elements to promote youth health, safety, well-being, and comfort.

Projects containing one or more of the following elements will be given priority consideration in funding decisions:

  1. Projects in which youth participate in project planning, decision making, facilitation, and evaluation
  2. Projects in which youth participate in outreach and awareness campaigns
  3. Projects that empower youth to make healthy choices

What are some examples of projects that may qualify?

The list below provides examples of eligible projects. The list is not exhaustive.

  • Youth-led outdoor skills workshops and classes for younger youth
  • Camp excursions that combine outdoor fun with support groups for at-risk youth
  • Field trips to local, state, or national parks and outdoor areas and provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, environmental education, etc.
  • Acquire a clean vehicle to take youth hiking, camping, to archeological sites, etc.
  • Acquire a clean vehicle to take youth on eligible outdoor excursions along with educational programming to support/enhance the excursions
  • Youth interns, with adult guidance, design, and construct trailheads for the youth in the low-income community
  • Farming program to educate and provide job training in an outdoor environment with programming that addresses healthy choices
  • Educational programs that combine classroom instruction with excursions to access natural and/or cultural resources
  • Programs that teach youth about their history, culture, and language with trips to various cultural lands to enhance the teachings
  • Workforce development programs that integrate new environments, healthy choices, and skills to advance careers relating to natural or cultural resources
  • ADA improvements to increase youth accessibility to natural and/or cultural resources

What sorts of projects would NOT qualify for Youth Community Access Grant Funding?

The list below provides examples of projects and/or project components that are not eligible under the Youth Community Access Grant Program. This is not an exhaustive list.

  • Projects that do not directly support access to natural or cultural resources (e.g., indoor-only projects)
  • Acquisitions of non-eco-friendly or clean vehicles
  • Acquisitions of eco-friendly or clean vehicles that are not primarily dedicated to transporting youth on excursions to natural or cultural resources
  • Educational or workforce development programs that do not include access to natural or cultural resources
  • Project Proposals that include more than one project (however, more than one Project Proposal can be submitted by an applicant)
  • Development projects contingent on future land acquisition for project implementation
  • Cash reserves, endowments, or fundraising activities
  • Payment of a debt or mortgage
  • Projects that do not serve youth
  • Projects where applicant intends to sub or regrant to another entity to implement the project

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 $18.3 million.

When are applications due? Proposals must be received no later than July 29, 2022 by 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Read the full Youth Community Access Grant Program Guidelines 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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