December 11, 2018

SoCalGas Names Its 2018 Environmental Champions Initiative Grant Recipients


Utility awards nearly $400,000 in funding to 32 nonprofits for projects related to clean air, energy, or water


LOS ANGELES, Dec. 11, 2018—Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced the winners of its 2018 Environmental Champions Initiative, which awards grants of up to $25,000 for projects related to clean air, energy, or water. Thirty-two nonprofits were selected to receive nearly $400,000 in funding.

“SoCalGas is excited to partner with this year’s group of Environmental Champions,” said George Minter, regional vice president of external affairs and environmental strategy at SoCalGas. “They are each making important contributions in the energy field or in improving the quality of our air and water. We look forward to them reaching their project goals.”

One of the grant recipients is Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR), which will use the funds to bring its Lower Los Angeles River Education and Next Generation Science Standards Integration Initiative, which includes hands-on lessons and activities focused on science and the urban environment, to at least 500 students from under-served, park-poor communities.

“Our curriculum, River Rover school visits, and LA River field trips to the section where concrete removal and wetland habitat restoration are underway engages students from lower River communities,” said Shelly Backlar, vice president of programs at FoLAR. “These students will write letters, share work created during the program, and even participate in an outreach meeting held in their community. The goal is to make the connections between place-based learning and civic engagement.”

Global Green, another recipient, will use the grant to expand a biogas generation and food waste recycling program. The expansion will increase awareness of food waste prevention and recovery and further the adoption of food scrap collection programs to increase the production and use of renewable natural gas.

“We are excited to continue our Expanding Biogas Generation and Food Waste Recovery project with SoCalGas so that we can reach more cities and individuals, as well as increase the diversion of food waste and overall impacts of this program,” said Madisen Gittlin, program assistant at Global Green.

The 2018 SoCalGas Environmental Champions include:

  • Amigos De Los Rios: The Emerald Necklace Multi-Campus Urban Greening project will demonstrate urban greening at three San Gabriel Valley schools through the creation of a habitat and green infrastructure that is designed to provide mental health, academic performance, and physical education benefits.
  • Climate Resolve: The #keepLAcool project will hold a public event in northeast San Fernando Valley to showcase cooling strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts and provide ongoing tours and education on cool surfaces.
  • Energy Independence Now: The Hydrogen Solutions for California’s Clean Economy project will engage stakeholders on the health, economic, and environmental benefits of hydrogen-electric vehicles and renewable/carbon-free hydrogen.
  • The San Bernardino Valley College Foundation: The Compressed Natural Gas, Electric, and Hybrid Training Expansion project will expand the heavy-duty engine repair training program at San Bernardino Valley College by adding a second equipment lab.
  • Special Service for Groups/Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement: The Particulate Matters project will install the largest air pollution sensor array in the San Gabriel Valley and collect data for research on air pollution and health outcomes in the region.

Since its inception in 2015, the Environmental Champions Initiative, which is funded by Sempra Energy shareholders, has awarded more than 150 grants totaling nearly $2 million. A complete list of this year’s 32 grantees can be found here.

About SoCalGas

Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, clean and increasingly renewable natural gas service to 21.8 million customers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California, where more than 90 percent of residents use natural gas for heating, hot water, cooking, drying clothes or other uses. Natural gas delivered through the company's pipelines also plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians—about 60 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.  

SoCalGas is committed to investing in its natural gas system infrastructure, while keeping bills affordable for our customers. From 2013 through 2017, the company spent nearly $6 billion to upgrade and modernize its natural gas system to enhance safety and reliability. The company is also committed to being a leader in the region's clean energy future, and is working to accelerate the use of renewable natural gas from dairy farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants and the development of renewable energy storage technologies. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), an energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.  

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Contact Info

Irene Nguyen, 213-244-2442, [email protected]