Topic: Healthy communities

Parks Forward Implementation Initiative

In 2015, California’s Parks Forward Commission, with support from leading California philanthropies, set forth an ambitious ten-year vision for California parks. The Commission’s recommendations call for modernizing the California Department of Parks and Recreation to improve and diversify partnerships, provide access to all Californians, and ensure stable, diverse funding for parks. RLF collaborates with the Department, California Natural Resources Agency, and park partners to implement high priority Commission recommendations that deliver tangible outcomes in parks for all Californians.

Montana Parks Program

RLF launched the Montana Parks Program (MPP) in 2018 to support Montana’s Parks in Focus Initiative, an effort modeled after California’s Parks Forward Initiative, aimed at addressing the ailing Montana state parks system. Through MPP, RLF has conducted extensive public outreach and education, and is helping to shape and advance a set of recommendations that create more diverse and stable funding sources for state parks; broaden and strengthen the constituency for parks; and connect state parks to larger recreation and economic initiatives and community needs. 

Equitable Infrastructure for Los Angeles

With the passing of Measures A, M, and W in Los Angeles  and California Proposition 68—all developed and passed with the help of our partners—Los Angeles is poised to transform communities with billions of dollars of public funding for parks, transportation, drinking water, and coastal protection. Working with local groups, RLF is advancing a vision that will drive these new public funds toward priority parks and multiple-benefit infrastructure projects in disadvantaged communities. This Los Angeles-focused program, launched in 2019, builds on RLF’s successful track record of policy and funding work and community engagement to leverage and mobilize recently created public funding sources to ensure the funds deliver on their promise to reach the county’s neediest communities.

California Conservation Innovations

The California Conservation Innovations program seeks to strengthen land and water conservation policies in California, increase long-term public funding for land and water conservation, and engage younger and more ethnically diverse conservation constituencies to help shape program conservation initiatives and increase conservation benefits for their communities. It works toward these goals by supporting efforts to advance policy goals related to parks access and stewardship, water resources, and climate change adaptation and resiliency; increase public funding and expand finance mechanisms for conservation; and increase participation and influence of under-engaged communities in conservation.

Western Rural Communities

The Western Rural Communities (WRC) program is one of several RLF efforts to build long-term support and momentum for conservation in the rural, intermountain region of the western United States. WRC collaborates with local business, community, and government leaders to address intractable environmental and socioeconomic problems with multi-benefit solutions. The work is rooted in an interdisciplinary understanding of the unique economics, culture, geography, and environmental values of the region to advance tailored solutions that maximize conservation and community outcomes.

San Francisco Bay Area Conservation

RLF has been working in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2001, when it commenced efforts to secure the acquisition of commercial salt ponds surrounding the San Francisco Bay. Current efforts support wetlands restoration around the Bay, with a focus on building a diverse constituency to support equitable, long-term funding and government policies for Bay restoration and flood improvements, including the effective implementation of Measure AA.  

RLF also supports a regional land conservation approach in the Bay Area that boosts ecosystem resilience for conservation and communities. RLF focuses on multi-benefit conservation efforts that protect and restore high-value habitat and wildlife linkages, provide recreation opportunities, and address natural threats such as climate change, flood, drought, and fire.  

Pandemic Spotlights Importance of Local Farms to Food Security

COVID-19 has hit our economy like a wrecking ball. While news headlines have been filled with stories about bars re-closing and shuttered hair salons, even the most fundamentally essential of industries, farming, has been hard hit. Now, as wildfires rage across more than a million acres of California, dense smoke fills the air, further compromising the health and well-being of those working to put fresh food on our tables. Just as the first spring crops of asparagus and strawberries were beginning to show up at California farmers markets in March, schools and restaurants throughout the nation abruptly closed and entire…

Recovery with Resilience: Public Investments for a Sustainable, Equitable Future

Image: Montana Conservation Corps crews, made up of high school and college students from the Wind River Indian Reservation, helping Chicago Botanic Garden interns collect seeds for the Seeds of Success program in the BLM Lander Field Office area. As America’s COVID catastrophe worsens, inflicting a depth of social and economic distress unprecedented in modern times, policymakers have a moral duty to implement a socially and environmentally just recovery, one that rectifies past systemic harms and steers our nation toward a brighter, greener, and more resilient future. Seven months since the first case of COVID-19 was detected here, our country…

Economic Transitions in Energy-Focused Communities

The economies of the Intermountain West, especially energy-focused economies, have experienced tumultuous change in recent decades as a result of globalization, new technologies, regulatory changes, shifting consumer preferences, and competition from renewable energy. This report, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, defines the primary challenges facing these communities and explores promising ideas on industry diversification and how to drive a healthy economic transition.