Connecting Youth with Nature

"If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it." 
                                                                                                                                  -David Sobel

The Joseph & Vera Long Foundation seeks to enhance education in the communities of Northern California and Hawaii by supporting well-established organizations which help children and young adults prepare for their future.  Our Connecting Youth with Nature Program funds experiential learning about the natural world which fosters stewardship for the environment and promotes wellness, health, and community.

The Foundation values innovation, measurability, cost effectiveness, broad impact, diverse funding/revenue streams, and time-limited projects for which fundraising can be completed with our contribution. 

Raising children in today's world is very different from the past:  screens dominate  everyone's attention; busy schedules lead to more rushed meals of high-calorie, processed foods; and less time is spent outdoors than ever before. The percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s, and it is estimated that as many as 1 out of 5 children experience a mental disorder in a given year.  

Connecting with nature can improve our children's physical, mental, and emotional health. Studies show that spending time outdoors fights obesity; lowers blood pressure; increases levels of Vitamin D; improves memory, concentration, and creativity; decreases myopia; and reduces inflammation and asthma. It also reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, children who play regularly in natural environments have more advanced motor skills, such as agility, balance, and coordination, and are sick less often. They are more empathetic; less likely to engage in bullying; and develop stronger awareness, reasoning, and observation skills.

As recent times have shown, natural resources that were once considered to be protected can become at risk if future generations have different values. Children who grow up having regular contact with the natural world are more likely to develop a lifelong love for nature and want to preserve it.

The Joseph & Vera Long Foundation seeks to support organizations that provide meaningful, hands-on experiences for school age children and young adults to learn to appreciate and connect with nature.

By funding the best set of programs and projects, we hope that more youth will have positive, hands-on experiences that deepen their respect for nature, influence how they value natural resources, and improve their physical and emotional health.

Grants will be made for:

  • Program Costs

  • Capital Improvements

  • Capacity Building

  • Supplies

  • Discounted Tuition

  • Transportation/Access

Populations Targeted:

  • School Aged Children (6-17 yrs.)

  • Young Adults (18-25 yrs.)

Examples of the types of programs that we are looking to support include:

  • School Field Trips

  • School Gardens

  • Family Camps & Activities

  • Conservation Career Cultivation & Training

  • Outdoor Wilderness Programs

  • School & Summer Camps

  • Programs which bring nature to the classroom

Preference will be given to organizations with high outreach to youth and families from disadvantaged communities.

To submit a request for funding from the Connecting Youth with Nature grant program, please follow the process outlined on the Apply page.