Sempra Energy Foundation awards $1 million in grants for California environmental initiatives

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        SAN DIEGO, Oct. 21, 2009 – Sempra Energy Foundation today announced the winners of its inaugural Environmental Champions Awards, totaling $1 million in grants to 30 California non-profit groups focused on natural resource protection and conservation, environmental education, and environmental health and safety.
        “These organizations are on the leading edge of developing programs to improve and protect our environment,” said Jessie J. Knight Jr., chairman of the Sempra Energy Foundation and executive vice president of external affairs for Sempra Energy.  “We’re proud to honor and support these groups in carrying out their mission, particularly during these difficult economic times.”

        Each of the 30 winners was awarded $25,000 to $50,000 in individual grants. 

        Additionally, in San Diego, the Sempra Energy Foundation, I Love a Clean San Diego and San Diego’s KFMB-TV, through Earth 8, have partnered to launch the “San Diego’s Choice” contest.  Under the contest, people can vote online over the next two weeks at for their favorite environmental program among four of the Environmental Champion winners in San Diego.  The organization that garners the most votes will earn an additional $50,000 bonus grant.

        The finalists for the Foundation’s “San Diego’s Choice” are OpenOceans Global, San Diego Audubon Society, Urban Corps of San Diego and the Wyland Foundation.
        Each of the finalists is involved in innovative programs that the Sempra Energy Foundation believes are making a great impact on the environmental front in the San Diego community.  OpenOceans Global and the Wyland Foundation are pursuing coastal cleanup, revitalization and clean water education, while San Diego Audubon Society is working to help connect children and families with nature through field trips and learning workshops.  Urban Corps’ program will provide environmental job training and a high school education for youths who have dropped out of high school. 
        More information on each of the San Diego finalists is available at
        Other Environmental Champion winners for the San Diego region are:
        American Lung Association in California (San Diego)
        Back Country Land Trust (Alpine)
        Friends of Famosa Slough (San Diego)
        Grid Alternatives (San Diego)
        Groundwork San Diego at Chollas Creek
        I Love a Clean San Diego
        International Community Foundation (National City)
        Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation (San Diego)
        Ocean Discovery Institute (San Diego)
        San Diego Coastkeeper
        San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy (Cardiff-by-the-Sea)
        US Green Building Council (San Diego Chapter)
        Voice of San Diego
        Environmental Champion winners outside the San Diego region are:

        American Lung Association in California (Fresno)
        Amigos De Los Rios (Altadena)
        Channel Islands Restoration (Santa Barbara)
        Earth Island Institute (Berkeley)
        Friends of Ballona Wetlands (Los Angeles)
        Inside the Outdoors Foundation (Costa Mesa)
        Morro Coast Audubon Society (Morro Bay)
        National Audubon Society
        Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends (Newport Beach)
        San Gabriel Valley Conservation and Service Corps
        Santa Ana Watershed Association of RCDS
        Sequoia Riverlands Trust (Visalia)
        Treepeople (Escondido)

        The Sempra Energy Foundation is the 501(c)(3) private foundation of Sempra Energy, a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2008 revenues of nearly $11 billion.  The Sempra Energy companies’ 13,600 employees serve more than 29 million consumers worldwide.  For more information on the Sempra Energy Foundation, visit