Bezos Earth Fund Announces $12.7 Million for Urban Green Spaces in Underserved Los Angeles Communities

Hip Hop Caucus included in Los Angeles Projects Selected for New $400 Million Greening America’s Cities Initiative

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — July 17, 2023: The Bezos Earth Fund announced today $12.7 million to fund urban Los Angeles area urban greening projects as part of its new Greening America’s Cities initiative, a $400 million commitment through 2030 to create more equitable access to urban green spaces with more parks, trees, and community gardens. The foundation will launch the initiative at the site of one the Pacoima Beautiful initiative, the Pacoima Wash at Paxton Park in Los Angeles.

“We are honored to be a Bezos Earth Fund grant recipient. This grant will help Hip Hop Caucus bring attention to the climate and environmental challenges South Los Angeles communities face, amplify the community-based solutions they are advancing, and drive education around opportunities to maximize grassroots efforts,” said Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. 

The L.A.-based nonprofits receiving funding include: 

  • Pacoima Beautiful receives funding to support the first phase to reshape four miles of the Pacoima Wash into a valuable community resource. Funding will go toward construction costs, community organization and outreach, professional development to secure additional funding, the hiring of additional staff, and volunteer training.
  • TreePeople will plant and maintain at least 4,250 trees in underserved communities in LA, launch multilingual community organizing efforts to expand urban greening efforts, work to shape policy and green infrastructure support at the state and local level, and lead initiatives to inform underserved youth about career opportunities in the environmental sector. 
  • Mujeres de la Tierra will launch a park revitalization and ongoing maintenance initiative, including pollinator-friendly, climate-appropriate landscaping, community stewardship programming, and youth workforce development.
  • SE Asian Community Alliance will partner with the Los Angeles Regional Open Space and Affordable Housing (LA ROSAH) Collaborative to launch preemptive community-driven planning to prevent the displacement of long-term residents of the communities adjacent to Taylor Yard, a formerly contaminated rail maintenance yard which has recently been remediated and transformed into a 100-acre park.
  • Hip Hop Caucus will engage residents in community activation events, film screenings, and digital media production that centers on environmental justice issues and solutions. These will include dialogue and advocacy supporting the development of new community green spaces and education and narrative creation around community-owned revitalization, economic development, and climate resilience efforts that result in healthy, thriving Black and brown neighborhoods across Los Angeles.
  • East LA Community Corporation will partner with community farming organization Campos de Cultivo to complete the Lorena Terrace Community Garden and two additional green spaces. Through the project, Boyle Heights will gain access to nutritious, fresh food, as well as a venue for physical activity and meaningful, intergenerational social interaction.

Additional organizations funded to work in LA include GreenLatinos, Green Cities California, Urban Sustainability Directors Network, Trust for Public Land, ReGenesis, PolicyLink, University of Southern California – Urban Trees Initiative and the Equity Research Institute, and UCLA Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies. 

Other inaugural Greening America’s Cities include projects in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Chicago, and Wilmington, Delaware. The grantees are integral in leading these groundbreaking projects to advance nature in their communities. Their work includes community engagement, land acquisition, project design and construction, local training, and long-term maintenance.

There is clear evidence that “greening” U.S. cities with more — and better — parks, trees, and community gardens can improve physical and mental health, increase local resilience to climate impacts like extreme heat and reduce energy consumption. Health benefits come from improved air quality, more physical activity, reduced heat, the stress reduction effect of green spaces, and the opportunities green spaces create for social interaction. 

Historic systems of segregation, exclusion, and land dispossession have led to many communities living in nature-deprived areas. Consequently, these communities often do not benefit from nature’s benefits, like air and water purification, climate mitigation, or biodiversity.

The Greening America’s Cities initiative builds on the Earth Fund’s earlier $300 million in funding to climate and environmental justice groups in the U.S. Find more information on each city’s projects and a complete list of the grantees here

About Hip Hop Caucus 

Formed in 2004, the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that leverages Hip Hop culture to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. Through a collaborative leadership network, HHC addresses core issues affecting underserved communities. HHC programs and campaigns support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders.

About the Bezos Earth Fund 
The Bezos Earth Fund is Jeff Bezos’ $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and other actors who will drive climate and nature solutions. By allocating funds creatively, wisely, and boldly, the Bezos Earth Fund has the potential for transformative influence in this decisive decade. Funds will be fully allocated by 2030—the date the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved.