Awards Fund Harbor Schools ‘STEAM’ Initiative and Community Benefit Grant Programs Serving Wilmington and San Pedro

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – March 19th, 2015 – The Los Angeles Harbor Commission has approved the award of 21 grants to local organizations, including $50,000 for three Community Benefit Grant projects and $300,000 for 18 projects under a new Harbor Schools Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) Initiative. All of the grants were funded from the Port of Los Angeles Community Mitigation Trust Fund, administered exclusively by the San Pedro-based Harbor Community Benefit Foundation (HCBF). The Port has now funded $3.3 million in local projects and programs through the HCBF.

“Supporting our community and schools has always been a priority for the Port of Los Angeles,” said Ambassador Vilma Martinez, who serves as president of the Los Angeles Harbor Commission. “With this latest grant, even more local students will be exposed to educational topics and career opportunities in marine, maritime and port-related areas. That exposure provides long-lasting benefits not only for our Harbor community, but for the entire region.”

“We’re thrilled to fund such a wide array of programs,” said Mary Silverstein, executive director of the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation. “The projects selected by the HCBF Board of Directors are both innovative and exciting. With over $700,000 in matched funding, more than double the amount of our grants, we know the programs are well supported by our community partners.”

The $300,000 in Harbor Schools STEAM Initiative grants will fund San Pedro and Wilmington student programs with maritime-related educational enrichment. Grants include funds for an underwater robotics program and port-career internships at Banning High School; curriculum and field trip support for Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and Catalina Island Marine institute; marine life and port-related educational initiatives at local elementary and middle schools, among other projects. Grant awards ranged from $5,000 to $25,000.

Also approved were three community benefit grant programs, including $35,000 for the Wilmington Teen Center, and $15,000 for two San Pedro community-based projects.

HCBF, an independent 501(c)(3), administers the Port Community Mitigation Trust Fund, the product of an environmental settlement between community advocates and the Port of Los Angeles. HCBF’s work includes independent research, community capacity-building and engagement, and competitive grant programs. With this approval, the Port of Los Angeles and HCBF has awarded a total of $3.3 Million for local projects, including research ($500,000), Healthy Harbor Grants ($1.4 Million), Community Benefit Grants ($1.1 Million) and the new Harbor Schools STEAM Initiative ($300,000).

The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit Southern California’s economy and quality of life. As North America’s leading seaport in terms by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $290 billion in trade during 2014. Port operations and commerce facilitate more than 148,000 jobs (about one in 12) in the City of Los Angeles and 531,000 jobs (or one in 16) in the five-county Southern California region. The San Pedro Bay Ports support more than 1 million California jobs and 3.1 million nationwide.