Welcome Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Menlo Spark | SV2’s newest Community Partners / Lightning Grantees!

The Environment Lightning Grant Round explored Bay Area climate solutions and environmental justice. Partners learned about actionable, day to day approaches to be more climate friendly, as well as the broader system of advancing climate solutions for all. Special thanks to our Funder Allies, Laura Wisland, Heising-Simons Foundation and Ash McNeely, Sand Hill Foundation, who shared with Partners what they are learning about climate solutions and justice, as well as their insights about the organizations they nominated for SV2 to consider.

We’re delighted to announce SV2’s newest Community Partners / Grantees: Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) and Menlo Spark! Both impactful organizations participated in our Environment Lightning Grant Round as finalists, and decided to split the grant. We’re learning a lot from their leadership to advance equity practices, and have an even greater appreciation of the quality and depth of collaboration amongst nonprofits to further environmental justice.

We got to know and learn from Miya Yoshitani, Executive Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) and Diane Bailey, Executive Director, Menlo Spark. 

Founded in 1993, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) has been fighting–and winning–struggles for environmental justice and economic opportunity for over twenty-five years. APEN is nationally recognized for its commitment to developing the leadership and power of poor and working-class Asian immigrants and refugees in Richmond, Oakland, and throughout California. The mission: All people have a right to a clean and healthy environment in which their communities can live, work, learn, play and thrive. APEN is increasing the climate resilience of communities of color.  APEN’s projects are growing locally produced and governed 100% clean renewable energy resources in the neighborhoods that need it most – poor and working class communities of color that have been at the frontlines of fighting big polluters. APEN makes it possible for people to stay in their homes and for communities to stay together by organizing for strong tenant protections like rent control, healthy homes, and just cause eviction ordinances. APEN also advocates for equitable development policies to make sure that those who profit from our neighborhoods invest directly back into improving open space and parks, building deeply affordable housing for seniors and families, and providing living wage jobs to the community. Now, APEN is forming land trusts so that long time residents can own the homes they live in, and keep these homes permanently affordable for future generations. APEN’s work and impact extends nationwide as the organization runs one of the largest multilingual Asian American voter mobilization programs in the nation. APEN engages immigrant and refugee voters in seven different languages to advance our shared vision for racial justice, economic equity, and climate solutions. 

Founded in 2014, Menlo Spark began when a small group of community members with diverse interests and experience joined together to explore opportunities to promote long-term economic vitality, equity, and quality of life in Menlo Park, while addressing the urgent threat of climate change. These community members united around a common vision of Menlo Park, with its highly engaged residents and unique resources in the heart of Silicon Valley, to be a national leader in sustainability and climate action. Menlo Spark joins together businesses, residents and government partners to achieve a climate-neutral Menlo Park by 2025. Menlo Spark’s early policy and program traction has demonstrated that a small organization, with just one full-time staff person can spark a hyper-local network to address climate change at the ambition and scale needed to make a global impact. Menlo Spark is ramping up to engage youth and the broader community to join on the path to zero carbon emissions, with the Campaign for Fossil Free Buildings in Silicon Valley. Menlo Spark’s mission is to help Menlo Park become climate neutral (zero carbon) by 2025, while promoting community prosperity, protecting civic heritage, and creating a replicable model for other small cities in Silicon Valley and beyond. This can be achieved by:

  • Transitioning from high carbon fossil fuels to clean, renewable power
  • Reducing car trips, and accelerating a transition to zero emission cars and trucks
  • Requiring new buildings to be carbon free and increasing the efficiency of existing homes and businesses
  • Adopting responsible waste practices
  • Inspiring residents and particularly youth to take personal climate actions
  • Menlo Spark’s model combines the financing of economically sound solutions, piloting forward-thinking approaches
  • Incentivizing every business and resident to help themselves and the city succeed. In doing so, we will create a prosperous, healthier Menlo Park

Join us in welcoming these effective and impactful organizations to the SV2 community!

Kudos to SV2 Partner Co-Leaders Jennifer McFarlane and Zweli Mfundisi for putting together this insightful and action-packed experience!