Community Partnerships

UC Berkeley’s American Cultures Engaged Scholarship (ACES) program was created in recognition of the fact that both the university and the surrounding communities could benefit from mutual collaboration.

In addition to breaking down the traditional barriers between teaching, research, and service that exist in the university system, the ACES program was designed to value the different forms of knowledge and expertise that exist outside of the university setting. The program created a structure in which the university’s high-caliber research and scholarship was produced together with communities and directed towards addressing their most pressing needs, and in doing so helped to ensure that the work of university members remained relevant to society.

In the spirit of the ACES program, we engage directly with several community-based organizations as partners. Our partners will help us understand their communities’ historical experiences of engineering and environmental justice, as well as identify the ways in which future engineers might help them work toward social and environmental justice. In addition, a subset of students in this course will have the opportunity to work directly with these organizations on projects related to soil, air and/or water quality. These projects have been designed in collaboration with each organization.

Interested in becoming a partner?

We are always interested in finding new community partners to work with. For more information, please contact Khalid Kadir at

Spring 2022 Partners

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    Greenaction mobilizes community power to win victories that change government and industry policies and practices to protect health and promote environmental, social, economic, racial, and climate justice.

  • The Watershed Project homepage

    The Watershed Project

    The Watershed Project is committed to inspiring Bay Area communities to understand, appreciate and protect local watersheds. We engage students, teachers and volunteers in creek beds and on the shorelines, giving them the tools to create and care for healthy watersheds. We reach out to support grassroots watershed organizations and nurture young people to aspire to environmental careers defending precious natural resources.

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    Brightline Defense

    Brightline is an environmental justice non-profit that works to empower  communities and create sustainable environments. We work to promote sustainable policies that allow low-income residents to remain and work in developing urban communities, focusing on local hiring policies and access to environmental benefits such as solar and energy efficiency.  Our team of community-oriented lawyers connects communities most in need to critical policymaking levers at the local and state level, which can be then modeled nationwide.

  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network homepage

    Asian Pacific Environmental Network

    All people have a right to a clean and healthy environment in which their communities can live, work, learn, play and thrive. Towards this vision, the Asian Pacific Environmental Network brings together a collective voice to develop an alternative agenda for environmental, social and economic justice.

Past Partners

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    California Environmental Justice Alliance

    The mission of the California Environmental Justice Alliance is to strengthen the progressive environmental justice movement in California by building on the local organizing efforts and advocacy successes of our member organizations and use them as a means to achieve state policy change.

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    Civic Engine

    The Civic Engine engages with civil society, private enterprise, and government to design and prove innovations for health and sustainability. We bring experience and expertise in data science and communication, civic engagement, public policy, and governmental accountability.

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    Community Water Center

    The Community Water Center believes all communities should have access to clean, safe, and affordable water. That’s why we work as a catalyst for community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy in California’s San Joaquin Valley. We build strategic grassroots capacity to address water challenges in small, rural, low-income communities and communities of color.

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    Energy Solidarity Cooperative

    Energy Solidarity Cooperative designs and develops community-owned, cooperatively managed renewable energy with community groups (i.e. non-profits, schools, places of worship, collectives) in traditionally underserved and marginalized communities.

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    GRID Alternatives

    At GRID Alternatives, we believe that a rapid, equitable transition to a world powered by renewable energy needs to benefit everyone. We are working across the United States and internationally to build community-powered solutions to advance economic and environmental justice through renewable energy. GRID envisions a rapid, equitable transition to a world powered by renewable energy that benefits everyone.

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    PSE Healthy Energy

    Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers (PSE) for Healthy Energy is a multidisciplinary, nonprofit research institute that studies the way energy production and use impact public health and the environment. We share our work and translate complex existing science for all audiences.

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    Sierra Club San Francisco Chapter

    The Sierra Club is America’s oldest and largest environmental organization. The San Francisco Bay Chapter’s top priorities are protecting critical habitat and open space, promoting clean renewable energy, and working directly in elections to pass environmental ballot measures and elect environmental leaders. 

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    Urban Tilth

    Urban Tilth hires and trains local residents to cultivate agriculture in west Contra Costa County to help our community build a more sustainable, healthy, and just food system.

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    Youth Spirit Artworks

    Youth Spirit Artworks is an interfaith art jobs and job training program located in Berkeley, California which is committed to empowering homeless and low-income San Francisco Bay Area young people, ages 16-25. The mission of Youth Spirit Artworks is to use art jobs and jobs training to empower and transform the lives of youth, giving young people the skills, experience, and self-confidence needed to meet their full potential.

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    California Legal Assistance

    California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. is a nonprofit legal service program created to help California’s low-income individuals and communities. We represent all types of individuals and communities. We have offices from the Mexican border to Northern California.

  • Communities for a Better Environment homepage

    Communities for a Better Environment

    The mission of Communities for a Better Environment is to build people’s power in California’s communities of color and low income communities to achieve environmental health and justice by preventing and reducing pollution and building green, healthy, and sustainable communities and environments.

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    Cycles of Change

    Cycles of Change’s mission is to promote cycling as a primary means of safe, enjoyable, accessible, inexpensive, healthy, and sustainable transportation for as many East Bay residents as possible. Combining bike mechanic trainings with after-school bicycle adventures, our programs became wildly popular and developed a huge following. Since then, we have expanded to offer in-school bicycle safety trainings and watershed education to thousands of students in Alameda County and beyond.

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    Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

    Environmental Justice Coalition for Water is a statewide coalition of grassroots groups and intermediary organizations building a collective, community-based movement for democratic water allocation, management, and policy in California. EJCW empowers the most under-served communities, including those of low-income and communities of color throughout California to advocate for clean, safe, and affordable water.

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    Ma'at Youth Academy

    The Ma’at Youth Academy mission is to improve public and environmental health in urban areas by developing and modeling multicultural environmental education, promoting economic opportunities for youth, and increasing community involvement in environmental protection.
  • Planting Justice homepage

    Planting Justice

    Planting Justice is a grassroots organization with a mission to democratize access to affordable, nutritious food by empowering urban residents with the skills, resources, and knowledge they need to maximize food production, expand job opportunities, and ensure environmental sustainability in the bay area.

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    Spiral Gardens

    Spiral Gardens was originally founded in 1993 as a project of the Agape Foundation for Nonviolent Social Change by a handful of individuals dedicated to urban greening, innovative organic farming methods, food security, and environmental justice issues. It then melded with the Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) Urban Gardening Institute from 1997 through 2004.

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    West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project

    The West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project is a local environmental justice organization working to improve air quality and public health and to encourage neighborhood vitality and sustainable development in our community.