About HCBF

The Harbor Community Benefit Foundation (HCBF) was created as a result of the settlement known as the “TraPac MOU,” an historic and precedent-setting agreement whereby the Port of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles agreed to address the negative cumulative environmental and public health impacts of its business operations on its neighbors – local port communities and their residents.

As part of the San Pedro Bay port complex, the Port of Los Angeles is the largest industrial port in the United States and among the largest cargo ports in the world. The harbor is a gate of entry for import cargo destined for local and regional markets (served by trucks via roads and freeways) and national destinations (served by rail). At the same time, the scale and wide variety of Port operations generates impacts both on and off port lands, including increased air emissions, traffic, noise and constraints on alternative, community-serving land uses.

Our Mission:

Harbor Community Benefit Foundation invests in the quality of life for communities impacted by port-serving industries.

Our Vision:

A healthy, beautiful environment for port-impacted communities.

In partnership with the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, the foundation administers the Port Community Mitigation Trust Fund (PCMTF). The PCMTF was established to mitigate the off-port impacts of Port operations. It will help disadvantaged communities who often live in close proximity to industrial activity.

Annual Community Benefit Reports


Our Founding Documents

TraPac Memorandum of Understanding (“TraPac MOU”)
HCBF Bylaws
Port Community Mitigation Trust Fund Operating Agreement

Our Strategic Plan

In January 2013, HCBF’s Board of Directors adopted a 2013-2016 Strategic Plan. Our first four-year plan reinforces our firm commitment to enhance the vibrant communities of Wilmington and San Pedro, to be transparent, to work collaboratively with our stakeholders, and to assure the viability of the Foundation.

Read HCBF’s 2013-2016 Strategic Plan

Our History

The Port and goods movement industries that use the Port of Los Angeles operated for decades without considering the environmental and public health impacts on the community. The Harbor Community Benefit Foundation (HCBF) traces its roots to over a decade of organized struggle, by environmental and community groups in opposition to observed health risks and environmental impacts caused by Port-related sources, which began with the China Shipping litigation.

Identified negative cumulative impacts of the Port’s business operations include: (a) air pollution, (b) water pollution, (c) public health problems, (d) loss of recreational space, (e) damage to aquatic and riparian wildlife due to Port expansion both on and off Port lands, and (f) aesthetic impacts.

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Creation of the Community Aesthetic Mitigation Program

In May 2001, the Port entered into an agreement with China Shipping Holding Company (“China Shipping”) whereby the Port would construct and China Shipping would lease a new container terminal facility at the Port of Los Angeles.The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Coalition for Clean Air, and certain community groups (collectively, “NRDC et al.”) subsequently filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging that the Port had failed to comply with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) with respect to the China Shipping terminal.

On October 30, 2002, the Second District Court of Appeals found that the Port had not complied with CEQA’s requirements before entering into the agreement with China Shipping, and completely halted construction at the port terminal.

The Port and NRDC et al. reached a settlement in March 2003, which enabled the Port to proceed with the China Shipping expansion project subject to a number of mitigation measures. For example, the Port was required to establish a special fund for mitigation of air quality and aesthetic impacts in the community. Thus, in 2003, the Port created a $25 million Community Aesthetic Mitigation Program (CAMP), dividing the funds between the communities of San Pedro and Wilmington.

Under the direction of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to “Green the Port”, the Port of Los Angeles also committed to extensive equipment modifications in the terminal as well as requiring ships to turn off ship engines and switch to shore-side electrical power when docked, a process called “cold ironing.” As a result of the China Shipping settlement, the Port invested more than $80 million to promote green growth.

Creation of PCAC

The Port of Los Angeles Community Advisory Committee (PCAC) was established as a standing committee of the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners in 2001.The City of Los Angeles and a coalition of groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Coalition for Clean Air, San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowners Coalition, and San Pedro Peninsula Homeowners United established requirements and a process for funding from the CAMP.

Initially, two aesthetic projects were recommended by PCAC for funding in the Wilmington Community. The Board of Harbor Commissioners (BOHC) approved one.

In January 2007, a total of 17 proposals were submitted to PCAC for review. Project recommended for funding by PCAC were then reviewed by staff at the State Lands Commission. Disappointingly, after receipt of State Lands comments, only five projects were deemed to have sufficient nexus to past Port impacts. In December of 2007, PCAC recommended to Port staff funding of the five aesthetic mitigation projects. Out of the millions of dollars set aside for aesthetic mitigation programs, very few proposals were deemed qualified to receive these funds. Port staff recommended approval from the BOHC to fund only two of the projects, Banning Museum Transportation Exhibit ($900,000) and the Wilmington YMCA Aquatics Center and Programs ($2.7 million).

Challenging the TraPac Terminal Expansion

Subsequent to the China Shipping settlement, the Port of LA continued to face pressure from surrounding community and environmental groups in connection with proposed development projects.On December 6, 2007, the Board of Harbor Commissioners approved plans to expand the TraPac terminal at the Port to 243 acres from 176, to add on-dock rail facilities, and to reconfigure area roadways to better accommodate traffic.

On December 14, 2007 a coalition of environmental, environmental justice, labor, economic development and community groups filed an appeal with the Los Angeles City Council seeking to reverse the Board of Harbor Commissioners’ decision and indicated it was willing to initiate a lawsuit, similar to China Shipping, in protest of the TraPac terminal expansion. This appeal was based on a number of alleged inadequacies of the EIR.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn, as Chair of the Trade, Commerce & Tourism Committee, intervened to successfully broker a settlement agreement between the parties. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa supported the effort and worked with Councilwoman Hahn toward a resolution, shortly thereafter announcing a resolution had been reached in the ongoing dispute. In exchange for withdrawing their appeal and allowing the TraPac terminal expansion project to proceed, the TraPac Appellants and the Port entered into an MOU.

The TraPac MOU

In April 2008, in an unprecedented collaboration, the Port and the coalition averted litigation and permitted the TraPac expansion project to proceed by signing the TraPac Memorandum of Understanding (TraPac MOU). As part of the agreement, the Port agreed to fund a study of off-Port impacts on health and land use in the communities of San Pedro and Wilmington and also agreed to establish a community mitigation fund to offset the environmental impact of the TraPac terminal expansion.The TraPac MOU resulted from the TraPac Appellant’s timely appeal to the Los Angeles City Council of the approval of the TraPac Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) by the Board of Harbor Commissioners (BOHC).

The TraPac accord was spearheaded and negotiated by 17 environmental justice, community, and labor advocates. This group includes the American Lung Association, Change to Win, Chuck Hart, Coalition for a Safe Environment, Coalition for Clean Air, Communities for a Better Environment, Communities for Clean Ports, Earth Day LA, Environmental Priorities Network, Harbor-Watts EDC, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Kathleen Woodfield, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Natural Resources Defense Council, San Pedro Peninsula Homeowners Coalition, and Sierra Club Harbor Vision Task Force. The TraPac accord led to the creation of a Port Community Mitigation Trust Fund (The PCMTF), the first of its kind. The Fund, which the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation will manage, is a giant step toward solving the environmental and health related impacts of the Port and the goods movement industry.