Liberty Hill, a Santa Monica-based public foundation, announced that it will give $231,450 to 13 community groups doing grassroots environmental health and justice work in Los Angeles County.

The 13 organizations are receiving grants because they address current environmental issues such as mitigation of toxic threats near schools and residential neighborhoods, creating ecologically friendly mass transit and eliminating lead paint in low-income housing throughout the county.

“Many communities in Los Angeles face a life-or-death struggle,” said Lina Paredes, senior program officer for Liberty Hill. “The grants are helping community advocates break the link between disproportionate exposure to high levels of pollution and Black and Latino communities, especially low-income neighborhoods.

“We’re happy to be making this announcement as Earth Day approaches. There is no more urgent environmental issue facing the Los Angeles region today.”

People of color in Los Angeles are two to three times more likely to live near a hazardous waste facility than Anglos, Paredes said.

From 1970 to 1990, the risk of living next to a toxic waste facility increased three-fold for people of color in Los Angeles.

Liberty Hill’s Environmental Justice Fund wants to improve public health in low-income communities that suffer disproportionately from environmental pollution.

Three percent of all charitable dollars go to environmental organizations, and only 0.10 percent of the three percent goes to environmental justice work, Paredes said.

Liberty Hill has given away more than $2.6 million to environmental justice community organizations in Los Angeles County since 1996.

Environmental Justice Fund 2007 grantees include:

– California Environmental Rights Alliance, $20,000;

– Communities for a Better Environment, $30,000;

– Del Amo Action Committee, $7,500;

– Greater Long Beach ICO, $14,000;

– Heal the Bay $18,000;

– Healthy Homes Collaborative, $18,000;

– Labor Community Strategy Center, $20,000;

– Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, $15,450;

– Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, $20,000;

– Pacoima Beautiful, $18,000;

– People’s CORE, $17,500;

– Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, $18,000; and

– Union de Vecinos, $15,000.