A Message from Amanda Brown-Stevens, Executive Director
As I reflect on my new role as Executive Director of Greenbelt Alliance and the path that brought me here, I am struck by how lucky I am that I can make a living by protecting, preserving, and enhancing the features that make our region unique. But I also see the challenges our communities are facing and the urgent need for us to come together more effectively as a region and build a more resilient future.
In 2019 Greenbelt Alliance staff were hard at work for a better Bay Area. Some of our work has deep roots in the legacy of change our organization has spearheaded over the last 60 years. And all of our work is adding up to a more resilient Bay Area. Read more below and download our 2019 Annual Report here.
We started the year defending a previous win protecting 1,200 acres of rolling hills and riparian corridors outside of Antioch from lawsuits. And we ended the year with a big win at the ballot that protected hundreds of acres outside of Brentwood from sprawl development. Those lands will continue to provide habitat, protect our water supply, and increase resilience to wildfires by maintaining buffers around cities.
We also crisscrossed the region, supporting policies that will make it easier to build more desperately needed homes within our cities and towns, close to transit and jobs, to alleviate the affordability crisis while reducing the climate impacts of building further and further out. We supported a density bonus for affordable projects in Santa Rosa and an inclusionary housing ordinance in Sunnyvale. We endorsed climate-smart developments from San Mateo to Castro Valley, and we advocated in favor of a homeless navigation center in Fremont.
And we connected with people. We organized educational events to help residents learn more about how to get involved in shaping their communities. We spoke at public hearings to hold our leaders accountable for bad decisions and to commend them for good ones. We shared lessons learned and best practices at meetings and conferences around the region and beyond. We listened to community members, leaders, partners, allies, and even our opponents to better understand what challenges our region is facing and how we can best make a difference.
We heard that people love where they live, that they value the open space and natural and working lands that surround our communities, and that they love the vibrant, diverse region we call home. We also heard anxiety and fear. Many people are struggling to be able to continue to live in an area where the cost of living is skyrocketing. They are worried about the increasing hazards and threats and how floods and fires might affect them, their neighbors, and the wildlife and landscapes that they love. They are stretched thin with jobs and long commutes and don’t feel heard in a civic dialogue that often prioritizes the voices of the privileged.
In 2020 we look forward to building on the incredible legacy of this organization to tackle the biggest challenges our region is facing today. We need to ensure that we are preserving a resilient Bay Area, with a natural infrastructure of forests, farms, fields, and wetlands that are home to vibrant ecosystems and protect us from the impacts of a changing climate. We need to ensure that we are building a vibrant Bay Area where people can live and work in safe, affordable homes, close to jobs, parks, and a great transportation system. We’re committed to building a Bay Area we’ll be proud to leave for future generations. We hope you’ll join us and donate to support our work today and in years to come.
“We are in a climate crisis, and bold local action is a critical part of the solution. Greenbelt Alliance’s work is key to preserving and enhancing our region for future generations.”Kate Gordon, Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research
Senior Advisor to the Governor on Climate