BlogFunding Opportunities

Exciting Federal Funding Opportunities For Environmental and Climate Justice

By March 30, 2023September 18th, 2023No Comments

By Rike Rothenstein

Fantastic news from one of our partner agencies!

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is awarding an unprecedented $3 billion of Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding to underserved communities burdened by pollution through the new Environmental Climate and Justice (ECJ) program. 

Here, we want to introduce two programs under the ECJ that offer Appalachian communities a chance to better their environment and public health, and that have application deadlines fast approaching and are due April 14th!

First, the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJ-CPS) Program ($30 million) gives financial assistance to organizations that aim to collaboratively address environmental and public health issues in their communities. The goal is to engage various stakeholders such as local government, industry, and institutions of higher education, and to develop solutions for pollution and public health issues at the community-level.  

Examples of previously funded projects include:

– Water sampling and monitoring of the Deckers Creek Watershed, WV with the goal to develop an implementation plan to better manage stormwater runoff. 

– In Pittsburgh, residents were educated in workshops regarding health risks based on lead exposure. The residents then implemented soil remediation strategies on a lead contaminated vacant lot in their neighborhood. 

– Another project sought to educate and empower residents of Martin County, KY, a population that suffered immensely from the massive coal slurry spill in 2000. With safe drinking water being a major problem for the County, residents were trained as citizen scientists’ in data collection, from testing water samples to conducting surveys.    

Who can apply? 

Eligible applicants are community-based nonprofit organizations (CBO), either alone or in partnership. When two or more CBOs apply for the program, their partnership must be documented with a Letter of Commitment, outlining the parameters of the partnership, as well as the role and responsibilities of each participating organization. The EPA expects to fund about 50 awards for up to $500,000 and an additional 33 awards for up to $150,000 for small CBOs (five full-time employees or less). Applicants must use the EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Model when writing their application and when implementing the funding.

The deadline for applications is April 14, 2023.  

Second, the Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJ-G2G) Program ($70 million) has a similar goal as the EJ-CPS, the difference is that the applicant needs to be a government entity

Both programs work towards measurable and meaningful environmental and public health results in communities that are disproportionately affected by pollution. Also, both programs strive to develop models that can be used as a blueprint in other communities. Applicants must address one of five broad categories based on the Clean Air Act in order to have an opportunity to receive funding.

The most relevant categories that apply to Appalachia’s mostly rural communities are the following: 

– Community-led monitoring, prevention, and remediation of air- and other pollution; investments in low- and zero-emission technologies and infrastructure, as well as workforce development that help cut greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants;

– Help marginalized communities to more easily participate in Local, State and Federal public processes, such as advisory groups, workshops, and rulemakings. 

The other three categories that can be addressed include 

– “Mitigating climate and health risks from urban heat islands, extreme heat, wood heater emissions, and wildfires;

-Climate resiliency and adaptation; [or]

-Reducing indoor toxics and indoor air pollution.” 

Who can apply? 

Again, only a government entity, such as state, local, or tribal government can apply for this grant; community-based organizations (CBO) are not eligible to apply. But, even though a CBO cannot apply directly, a partnership between a government entity and a CBO is strongly encouraged and sometimes required. Each partnership would get an award of up to $1million; the EPA expects to fund about 20 awards to State-CBO partnerships and another 20 awards to local government-CBO partnerships.

The application deadline is April 14, 2023.

Between the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Program and the Environmental Justice Government-to-Government Program, the EPA is awarding well over 100 awards, some specifically tailored to small community-based organizations. If you have a plan to address a pollution issue in your community but lack funding, don’t hesitate and apply! The EPA has extended the application deadline till Friday, April 14, 2023; and all IRA funding for those two grant programs needs to be awarded and spent by September 30, 2026!