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Twelve Non-Profit Organizations Awarded New Grants To Help Fourth Graders And Their Families Experience California’s State Parks

February 28, 2023 — First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, California State Parks, and Parks California are thrilled to announce the 12 non-profit organizations to become the first-ever recipients of the Adventure Pass Grants Program, enabling them to provide meaningful and relevant outdoor experiences for fourth graders. Too often, transportation and other challenges prevent young people from taking advantage of the California State Park Adventure Pass, which gives free entry for fourth graders and their families at 19 participating state parks. Designed and facilitated by Parks California in partnership with California State Parks, the Adventure Pass Grants Program was created to help non-profits and local community organizations facilitate visits for fourth graders and their families.

“State programs like the California Adventure Pass encourage fourth graders and their families to explore our state’s extraordinary park system and reap the benefits of spending time outdoors by reducing the financial burden on parents and caregivers,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “I’m so grateful to the incredible organizations partnering with us to further minimize potential hindrances and expand access to California State Parks for more fourth graders and their families through transportation vouchers, free activities and programming, and multilingual resources.”

Studies indicate that spending time in parks and greenspace can lead to a range of benefits for young people – from improvements in physical well-being, social and emotional learning, and even academic outcomes – with children experiencing reduced stress and demonstrating more enthusiasm for school.

“These 12 incredible non-profit partners are helping bridge the gap so that more fourth graders can begin a lifelong adventure in parks and experience the diversity state parks offer, creating new memories with their families,” said Armando Quintero, California State Parks Director. “Thanks to the Adventure Pass program and our partners, today’s fourth grader can be tomorrow’s park leaders.”

Non-profit organizations will use these awarded grants to address a range of challenges that hinder some fourth graders and their families from using the Adventure Pass, such as lack of transportation, logistics, or culturally-relevant programs at parks. Activities will take place within the grant cycle year, which runs from February – December 2023.

The 12 grantees include:

  • Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project, serving East Oakland in the Bay Area and facilitating visits to Jack London State Historic Park and Samuel P. Taylor State Park
  • California Outdoor Recreation Foundation, serving the Diablo Range area and facilitating visits to Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area
  • Central Coast State Parks Association, serving the Central Coast and facilitating visits to Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History
  • Chino Hills State Park Interpretive Association, serving the Inland Empire and facilitating visits to Chino Hills State Park
  • Lowell Community Development Corporation, serving the Central Coast, Santa Cruz, Central Valley, and Capital areas and facilitating visits to Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History, Seacliff State Beach, Millerton Lake State Recreation Area, and California State Railroad Museum
  • MeWater Foundation, serving the Bay Area and facilitating visits to Samuel P. Taylor State Park
  • Nature for All, serving the Inland Empire and facilitating visits to Chino Hills State Park
  • Oakland Unified School District / Oakland Goes Outdoors, serving the Bay Area and facilitating visits to Samuel P. Taylor State Park
  • San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust, serving the Central Valley and facilitating visits to Millerton Lake State Recreation Area
  • San Mateo County Libraries, serving the Capital, Bay Area, and Diablo Range areas and facilitating visits to California State Railroad Museum, Jack London State Historic Park, Samuel P. Taylor State Park, and Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area
  • Save California Salmon (in collaboration with Blue Lake Rancheria), serving the North Coast Redwoods area and facilitating visits to Sue-meg State Park
  • Sierra Club Foundation (fiscal sponsor of Angeles Inspiring Connections Outdoors), serving the San Diego coast area and facilitating visits to Silver Strand State Beach

Additional information about each grantee can be found here.

“The Adventure Pass Grants Program is providing previously out-of-reach resources to 12 incredible organizations so they can collaborate with their local State Park staff and ensure parks are enjoyed more equitably by fourth graders and their families,” said Kindley Walsh Lawlor, President and CEO of Parks California. “We are proud to partner with the First Partner’s Office and California State Parks to support these inspiring community leaders and their efforts.”

Awarded grants averaged between $11,000 – $33,000, and were awarded to organizations that met eligibility criteria and submitted an application. Activities are expected to help nearly 1,200 fourth graders and 2,700 family members to access participating state parks this year.

As one non-profit organization said in response to news about their grant, “Connecting local children and their families to the San Joaquin River through outdoor experiential education programs is core to our mission. And being a Parks California grantee means we can introduce fourth grade students to the educational and recreational opportunities available at Millerton Lake and provide resources to help these students and their families experience all the benefits of spending time together outside,” said Julia O’Kane, Board President of San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust. “Support from Parks California will contribute to developing future stewards of the San Joaquin River.”


The California Department of Parks and Recreation, popularly known as California State Parks, and the programs supported by its Office of Historic Preservation and divisions of Boating and Waterways and Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Learn more at


California is home to the highest quality park system in the world. There are 280 State Parks, ranging from urban parks in the heart of our cities, to beaches along our iconic coast, to historic parks celebrating the ingenuity of humanity, to redwood groves and desert expanses. Parks California is based on a new model for public, private, and nonprofit partnership, with our strength realized through statewide collaboration working together to solve complex problems more efficiently and effectively to create long term solutions. As California State Parks’ statutory partner, we have a simple mission — to help strengthen parks and inspire all to experience these extraordinary places.