EPA Launches $550 Million Program for Environmental Justice Grants

The new Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking program aims to reduce pollution in disadvantaged communities.

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In August of 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, creating the largest investment in environmental and climate justice in U.S. history. As part of that, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received $3 billion in appropriations to deliver grants and technical assistance for activities investing in environmental and climate justice. 

Now, the Biden-Harris Administration has announced the availability of $550 million from the Inflation Reduction Act for the EPA's new Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking (EJ TCGM) program. The newly created program will fund up to 11 entities to serve as grantmakers to community-based projects that reduce pollution. "Selected grantmakers will develop an efficient, simplified process so that organizations that historically have faced barriers to receiving funding can more seamlessly apply for grants that address environmental harms and risks," explains the EPA Press Office, adding: "The new program advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government commitment to achieving environmental justice by building early, meaningful, and sustained partnerships with communities."

The EJ TCGM program will work to support the goals of Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of certain Federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are underserved and overburdened by pollution. The EPA has pledged to honor the goals of the Justice40 Initiative by making sure that money gets to communities that have traditionally been unable to access resources.

“Over the last two years I’ve traveled to overburdened and underserved communities and their message to me has been clear—residents have suffered far too long without access to crucial federal funding and resources,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, including the largest ever investment in environmental justice, we’re removing barriers and moving faster to deliver this unprecedented relief to the communities who need it most.”

Who is able to apply for the Request for Applications (RFA) and serve as an Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaker? They must fall into one of the following categories: 

  • A community-based nonprofit organization;
  • A partnership of community-based nonprofit organizations; 
  • A partnership between a Tribal Nation and a community-based nonprofit organization; or,  
  • A partnership between an institution of higher education and a community-based nonprofit organization. 

Each of the selected 11 entities will be granted approximately $50 million, which will be funded incrementally over a three-year period, starting no later than early 2024.

The deadline to apply is May 31, 2023. Read more about the EJ TCGM program, here; to apply, head over to Request for Applications at grants.gov.