County of Marin - News Releases - Breathe/Respira Program

For Immediate Release
July 10, 2019

Parks Grants Designed to Inspire Visitor Diversity

Board approves allocation of $190,000 from tax measure to support partnerships

San Rafael, CA – The past five years, a grant program offered by Marin County Parks has helped underserved local residents have better access to parks and open space preserves, leading to better overall health and relationships throughout the community. With the same goal this year, a new round of grants worth a combined $190,000 was approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors during its July 9 meeting.

About a dozen elementary school and middle school kids on a lawn at Stafford Lake Park in Novato.These Novato kids visited Stafford Lake Park through the assistance of Marin County Parks' Breathe/Respira grant program.
The grants from the Breathe Community Grant Program (Respira in Spanish) are set up to foster partnerships with community organizations that share County Parks’ vision of expanding access to local disadvantaged residents for the enjoyment of Marin’s stunning natural resources. This marks the sixth year of Breathe/Respira one-year grants funded by Measure A, otherwise known as the Marin Parks, Open Space, and Farmland Preservation Transactions and Use Tax Ordinance of 2012.

The Marin City Community Services District, the San Geronimo Valley Community Center, and Bay Area Community Resources/Slide Ranch each will receive $30,000 for various programs that boost social equity and diversity. Marin Community Clinics, North Marin Community Services, Tomales Bay Youth Center/West Marin Community Services, and Innovative Health Solutions/Healthy Cooking with Kids are to receive grants of more than $10,000 apiece.

There are several new and exciting planned uses of the Breathe/Respira grants this year:

  • The nonprofit Love is the Answer (LITA) of San Rafael will coordinate with local assisted living facilities to bring aging adults to parks who typically don’t have a chance to leave their facility;
  • The Marin Museum of the American Indian in Novato will expand its programming by leading educational and historical trips to parks serving schools and other groups;
  • Bay Area Community Resources, San Rafael City Schools, and Slide Ranch have teamed up to add “coming of age” trips to Slide Ranch serving middle school students in addition to their after-school outings in parks.

With equity and fairness in mind, County Parks recently reduced the costs of parking at three popular parks by 50% and waived all fees at the McNears Beach Park swimming pool. A survey showed that entry fees, a lack of public transportation, a shortage of bilingual signage, or a lack of familiarity can prevent somebody from a fresh-air adventure close to home.

“In partnership with local organizations these grants nearly double our capacity to provide programs to local residents across the county,” said Max Korten, Director of Marin County Parks. “These trips overcome barriers to reaching the park and help residents build long-term relationships, so they return over and over. It can be life-changing.”

The Breathe/Respira program seeks to support community organizations that provide programs to underserved, at-risk, or vulnerable populations in Marin and promote health, wellness or environmental education in Marin’s communities. Efforts to date have aided members of Latino, Vietnamese, senior, youth, and disabled communities.

Learn more on the Breathe/Respira Measure A Community Grant Program Overview or 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