SAN DIEGO – June 29, 2020 – Young adults in the San Diego region, who have limited job experience and now face even greater challenges due to the pandemic recession, will get an opportunity to earn a paycheck by creating defensible space for vulnerable homeowners.
The Urban Corps of San Diego County received a $150,000 grant for this initiative from The San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund – created in part with donations from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).
The COVID fund awards grants to local nonprofits that are supporting low-income workers, families, and vulnerable communities most affected by the coronavirus crisis. To date, the fund has raised $16.8 million and distributed $13.7 million in grants. SDG&E has donated $2 million to the fund, with plans to donate another $1 million in 2021.
“Getting San Diegans back to work is a critical piece of our region’s economic recovery from the pandemic,” said SDG&E President Scott Drury. “Young adults with little to no job experience are especially challenged in finding employment. Programs like Urban Corps give young job seekers a leg up by providing them with real-world job experience and the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, making them more employable”.
Urban Corps will use the grant to employ young adults to improve wildfire safety in the wildland-urban interface, such as canyon rims, where homes border natural terrain covered in vegetation. Corpsmembers will create up to 100 feet of defensible space around high-risk homes through thinning, pruning, clearing and chipping vegetation. The focus will be on serving low-income and elderly homeowners whose homes are surrounded by dangerous build-ups of brush. Work is expected to begin within weeks.
“SDG&E and The San Diego Foundation’s grant to the Urban Corps will create a triple benefit,” said Tracey Williams, president of the Urban Corps Board of Directors. “It will generate jobs at a time when they are desperately needed. It will improve wildfire safety, and it will give young adults paid work experience while providing critical services to our communities in need.”
Urban Corps operates a unique work-learn program that allows young adults ages 18-26 to finish high school while earning a paycheck, learning job skills, and giving back to the community through professional services. Corpsmembers attend an onsite charter school one day per week and work in the field four days per week on a variety of job training projects, such as fire fuel reduction, tree planting, habitat restoration, graffiti removal and recycling.
“During times of crises, it’s more important than ever for us to maximize the impact of philanthropy in San Diego. Supporting the Urban Corps through the COVID-19 Community Response Fund allows us to do precisely that and help our community at multiple levels,” said Mark Stuart, President and CEO of The San Diego Foundation.
About The San Diego Foundation
The San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve quality of life in our region. For more than 45 years, The Foundation and our donors have granted more than $1.2 billion to support nonprofit organizations and strengthen our San Diego community.
About the Urban Corps of San Diego County
Urban Corps of San Diego County is a certified local conservation corps and charter school whose mission is to provide young adults with the tools to expand their career opportunities. We do this through education, life skills training, and paid work experience on projects that benefit our communities.
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