Open Space Authority Awards Nearly $800K to Local Organizations in 30th Anniversary Year

San José, CA (July 21, 2023) – The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority’s Board of Directors voted to award nearly $800k in Measure Q and Measure T grant funding to six local organizations for the second installment of the 2022 - 2023 cycle of the Urban Grant Program.  

This competitive grant program, funded by Measure Q and Measure T, was created in 2016 to address the open space needs of urban communities, including areas that currently have limited access to parks and natural areas. The grant program aims to fund projects that will improve health and quality of life by increasing access to nature for urban residents including parks, trails, urban community gardens, environmental education programs, and much more.

This round of grant funding was awarded to the City of San José, Our City Forest, San Jose Children's Discovery Museum, Santa Clara Unified School District, School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza, and Veggielution for a variety of environmental projects. 

This brings the total number of grants awarded by the Open Space Authority to over $1.7M for 19 projects just this year. Through both of its grant programs to date, the agency has awarded 94 local projects for a total of over $14.7M in grant funding as an investment in the lives of our residents and their families, so they can experience natural wonders in their lives every day, close to home. In this round of the Urban Grant Program, demand exceeded available funding by over a factor of two to one, demonstrating the public interest in this program. 

The 2023 cycle of the grant program was partially reimagined, categorizing the awards into Program projects and Capital projects, each with its own set of guidelines and application timelines. This was one of many updates implemented this year to increase ease and equity for the applicants. Capital Projects include the planning and/or implementation of long-lasting improvements including natural or built construction, restoration, or enhancement that bring nature to urban areas. The Program Projects were awarded to 13 local organizations in May 2023. For more information on program grantees, read the press release here

"Our Urban Grant Program implements a key part of the Open Space Authority’s mission – to connect people to nature through parks, open space, public access, and environmental programming. As we celebrate the Open Space Authority’s 30th anniversary, we are proud to continue our partnerships with local nonprofit organizations, schools, cities and the County to create more nature in neighborhoods and enhance livable communities for all,” said Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager of the Open Space Authority. 

Past grant funding has supported a variety of organizations and projects working to provide access to nature, promote access to healthy foods, offer educational opportunities for youth, and much more.

“Many folks associate the Open Space Authority with protection of natural and working lands in rural areas, but our agency understands the importance of protecting green spaces close to where people live. Equitable access to nature is a priority for us, which is why I’m so excited to see these wonderful projects get approved”, said Helen Chapman, District 3 Director and Board of Directors Chairperson.   

The Capital grant recipients have three years to use the grant funding to complete their project, and the Open Space Authority looks forward to the work these organizations will do in the months to come. For more information about the Urban Grant Program click here.



Funding Awarded 

City of San José


Lake Cunningham: Wetland & Shoreline Restoration Prototype Project 




Our City Forest

Growing the Urban Forestry Education Center 




San Jose Children's Discovery Museum 

Exploration Portal at Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose


Santa Clara Unified School District 

Equitable Access Through Implementing Native Gardens (EATING)


School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza

La Placita Beautification Project



Field to Farm Stand: Building Community and Climate Resilience



July 21, 2023
For media inquiries contact:

Charlotte Graham

Public Information Officer