County of Marin - News Releases - Parks Breathe/Respira Program

For Immediate Release
January 04, 2017

Parks Promotes Equal Opportunity Recreation

Tax measure supports partnerships that encourage diversity among park visitors

San Rafael, CA – Marin County Parks knows there are local people experiencing barriers to making use of its network of relaxing parks and open spaces. An entry fee, a lack of public transportation, a shortage of bilingual signage, or a lack of familiarity all could deter somebody from a fresh-air adventure close to home.

About a dozen boys with bikes pose for a photo at the Stafford Lake Bike Park near NovatoA group from the Trips for Kids nonprofit enjoy a visit to the Stafford Lake Bike Park near Novato.
“We’re doing our best to get rid of those barriers and make sure everyone has equal opportunities to enjoy our lands,” said Max Korten, Director of Marin County Parks. “Our community grant program is one of many steps we’re taking to ensure all Marin residents enjoy and benefit from the public lands that surround them.”

The fourth year of a grant program designed to connect more Marin residents – especially the underserved – to County park facilities is now underway. The grants from the Breathe Community Grant Program (Respira in Spanish) are set up to foster partnerships with local community organizations that share County Parks’ vision of barrier removal. Local organizations are invited to apply for the grants totaling $100,000 through February 17.

Breathe/Respira is funded by Measure A, otherwise known as the Marin Parks, Open Space, and Farmland Preservation Transactions and Use Tax Ordinance of 2012. The grant program seeks to support community organizations that provide programs to underserved, high-risk, or vulnerable populations in Marin and promote health, wellness or environmental education in Marin’s communities. Among those were efforts that aided members of Latino, Vietnamese, senior, youth, and disabled communities.

“Collaborations like this help us fulfill our mission to provide recreational opportunities for all of Marin,” said Kevin Wright, Parks’ Government and External Affairs Coordinator. “In the first few years of this program, we’ve partnered with nine organizations that have offered programs for a variety of underserved audiences, from mountain bike rides for kids to walks for seniors. Through this program, almost 1,000 people have enjoyed a particular park or preserve for the very first time. We’re thankful that Measure A has a lasting effect on building relationships and improving the well-being of our residents.”

Breathe/Respira primarily supports existing programs and projects. Grant proposals must support visits to parks, public outreach about parks, or creating bridges for more people to enjoy the outdoors. Eligible applicants include a town, city, county, 501(c)3 nonprofit, special district, joint powers authority, community group, community-based organization, or emerging or existing coalition.

All qualifying criteria and funding restrictions, along with detailed information about the program and grant decision-making process, are available in the Breathe/Respira Measure A Community Grant Program Overview on the Measure A webpage.

Contact:

Kevin Wright
Government and External Affairs Coordinator
Marin County Parks

Marin Civic Center
Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-2129
Email: Kevin Wright
Marin County Parks website