Climate and Environment

 In 2020, IECF identified five policy priority areas based on conversations with nonprofit partners. These critical categories of need are: Education Equity, Inclusive Economic Development, Housing, Health, and Climate and the Environment.

A Call to Action for a Sustainable Future

The Inland Empire, a sprawling region encompassing diverse landscapes from suburbs to mountains to deserts, faces a critical challenge: safeguarding its natural environment and growing population amidst rising temperatures, air pollution, wildfire threats, water scarcity, and inadequate infrastructure. Over a million vulnerable residents in the IE already bear the brunt of these environmental factors. This region, ranked #1 for worst air quality and plagued by health issues like asthma and cardiovascular disease, must act now to prepare for a climate-impacted, carbon-neutral future.

Collaboration and best practices are key to environmental sustainability in energy, water, fire, and air. While the state sets ambitious renewable energy goals, the IE needs to localize these efforts by encouraging jurisdictions to adopt sustainability ordinances and implement renewable solutions. Cross-jurisdictional collaboration is crucial for water resilience, potentially requiring a regional and statewide long-term water plan. Protecting communities from devastating wildfires is paramount, especially in high-risk areas like Riverside County.

In this critical juncture for our planet, the IE must invest in organizations and strategies that bolster climate and disaster resilience. This includes supporting innovative solutions, providing resources for natural environments, and prioritizing key areas such as those identified by partners at IECF’s 2022 Policy Forum:

  • Expanding investments in nonprofit organizations to become integral parts of the region’s climate and disaster resilience solutions;
  • Expanding best practices for localized renewable energy goals;
  • Advocating for financial and workforce resources to build long-term water resilience infrastructure;
  • Supporting statewide water resilience planning efforts;
  • Investing in net-zero carbon initiatives that create good jobs, transition existing workers, and ensure green technology access for low-income communities;
  • Advocating for land-use planning and investments that build a resilient food system in the IE.

IECF envisions a thriving Inland Empire, where clean air fills our lungs, vibrant communities flourish, and our environment is protected for generations to come. This sustainable future is within reach, but it requires commitment and action. By understanding environmental issues and the challenges posed by climate change, we can build solutions that benefit everyone.

Learn more about our Regional Forest and Fire Capacity (RFFC) Program grant to increase forest and fire resilience in the face of a changing climate; about our work with the Forest Service to improve forest health and resiliency across management jurisdictions through Shared Stewardship; and about our disaster philanthropy to provide relief funds during critical times.

Shared Stewardship

IECF serves as one of four Shared Stewardship Advisors in the California Shared Stewardship program. This program aims to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risks across different land ownership boundaries. 


Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program (RFFC)

The RFFC program develops and implements plans for improving forest health and protecting communities from wildfires. IECF was awarded a two-year block grant of $1.6 million to help Riverside and parts of San Bernardino increase forest and fire resilience in the face of a changing climate.


Disaster Relief

IECF manages disaster relief funds for Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Contributions enable our organization to mobilize rapid response efforts, provide essential supplies, and aid in the recovery and reconstruction process following calamities.

Celia Cudiamat

Celia Cudiamat

Senior Vice President, Grants and Community Impact

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