Advocacy Program

Green Foothills’ environmental advocacy has resulted in the permanent protection of more than 200,000 acres of open space since 1962, supporting biodiversity, climate resilience, and local farming.

Our advocacy team engages early in land use proposals that pose an opportunity or threat to our natural environment. For example, we support land-use plans that would protect nature and benefit communities, while opposing plans that would harm wetlands, adversely impact marginalized communities, or block wildlife corridors. We empower current and future decision makers to be champions for conservation, and mobilize residents to effect change in their communities.

Have a question for our Advocacy team? Email Alice Kaufman, Policy and Advocacy Director, at [email protected].

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To learn about opportunities to make a difference, subscribe here to receive Action Alerts. Here are some recent examples.

How We Choose Our Environmental Advocacy Issues 

Green Foothills considers many factors when choosing to engage in an environmental advocacy issue. They include, but are not limited to the areas and impacts listed below.  We take into account the particular facts and individual circumstances of each case before deciding whether to engage in an issue and what position to take.

Our mission is to protect open space, farmland, wildlife habitat, and natural resources, so we consider how much they may be affected. We may also consider other environmental impacts such as scenic vistas and air or water quality.

Good land-use planning determines the best way to meet our needs while safeguarding open space and natural resources. An example would be avoiding sprawl and encouraging transit-oriented infill development. We also take into account that these decisions affect quality-of-life issues, including public access to open space, preservation of historic and cultural resources, affordable housing and other social justice issues, public health and safety, food access, and transit.

Sometimes the outcome of an issue can potentially set a precedent for future environmental policy or decision making. The extent to which this may occur can be a deciding factor in our engagement in an issue.

What may be suitable for one location may not be suitable for another. For example, what may be appropriate in downtown San Jose may not be appropriate on the coast or near a natural creek corridor.

In choosing whether to allocate our limited resources to an issue, we consider the time and energy needed to make a real difference, and the degree to which the issue aligns with our mission and advances our vision.

Green Foothills may choose to prioritize issues involving partnerships with organizations that serve marginalized communities, led by people from that community. Our approach may include following the lead of local tribes or community-based groups or coalitions, and supporting their advocacy efforts.

Community members holding a sign. Environmental advocacy in action.

Photo Credit: Maricela Lechuga

Thank You to Those Who Make Our Work Possible

We appreciate every individual, agency, and foundation that makes our work possible, and proudly recognize every contributor in Our Donor Community. To support our Advocacy Program, we encourage you to contribute to the Lennie Roberts Advocacy Fund.

Andrea M. in Coyote Valley, an area protected due to environmental advocacy by Green Foothills and its partners.

Green Foothills’ Impact

“The historic votes to protect Coyote Valley by the San Jose City Council and Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors would not have happened without Green Foothills’ decades of advocacy.”

Andrea Mackenzie
Donor since 2012, General Manager of the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, Green Foothills 2021 Nature’s Inspiration Host Committee, resident of San Jose

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