The Board of Directors of The Community Foundation Serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties determined in May of 2007 that the regional environment was a critical topic, especially with regards to quality of life issues for current and future generations. TCF Staff was tasked with moving the concept forward and identifying the key components as well as the value and role the organization could play in an Environmental Initiative. “Clean Air, Clean Water, Open Space and Good Jobs in a Thriving Economy” became the theme for the initiative in identifying a better, more balanced future. A grant was received that allowed TCF to hire an environmental strategist and a facilitator to conduct a series of Listening Sessions throughout the region and receive input and feedback to the preliminary thoughts and ideas. Over 200 business leaders, developers and government and non-profit agencies attended eight (8) sessions. Sessions were held in Palm Desert, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, Temecula, Twentynine Palms, San Bernardino/Redlands, Victorville, and Whitewater Preserve. In summary, an extensive list of opportunities was developed, but the key findings included the creation of an environmental leadership program.
Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) was contacted by TCF in 2009 at about the same time CSUSM was opening its new satellite campus in Temecula. A series of planning meetings took place over the next year and the Environmental Leadership Academy certificate program was created. TCF secured $50,000 in funding from Bank of America to support the initiative and to allow the program to be launched in September 2011 at a considerably subsidized tuition rate. Due to the success of the program we continue to receive support from Bank of America in addition to Southern California Gas Company, Southern California Edison, Wells Fargo Bank and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
We are deeply grateful to our partnering sponsors for their generous monetary support and creating a priority for environmental education.