Eleven organizations to distribute $600 million in EPA grants

January 4, 2024

Houston’s Texas Southern University (TSU) is among 11 organizations nationwide that will serve as grantmaking entities for an Environmental Protection Agency program designed to simplify the grant-funding process for underserved and marginalized communities.

TSU’s Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice will receive $50 million, which it will then redistribute as subgrants to community-based organizations (CBOs). As a historically black university, TSU is a model candidate for the EPA’s Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program (EJTCGM).

Each of the 11 grantmakers will serve as pass-through entities and will develop their own systems for who gains access to funding and how the money will be distributed.

For TSU, that means forming an advisory committee composed of subject-matter experts, academics and leaders of successful environmental-justice CBOs. The committee will review applications and approve funds for a variety of activities, including small local clean ups, local emergency preparedness and disaster resiliency programs, air quality and asthma related projects, healthy homes programs and projects addressing illegal dumping.

The Bullard Center intends to partner with one other organization in Houston, Achieving Community Tasks Successfully, as well as three entities in New Orleans, including the National Black Environmental Justice Network.

“I am happy to say Texas Southern University is the HBCU that served as the ‘launching pad’ for my environmental justice career way back in 1979 — before EJ had a name or initials,” Center Director and professor Dr. Robert D. Bullard said in a press release. “And today, 44 years later, TSU was selected to serve as a Regional Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaker.”

The EJTCGM, created as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, will distribute a total of $600 million to the 11 grantmakers. Nine grantmakers will serve as regional selectees who will issue a total of $50 million in subgrants each to communities in specific EPA regions across the nation. Three national grantmakers will issue subgrants to communities in the eastern, western and central United States.

The subgrants will be issued in three tiers:

  • Tier One ($150,000) to assess potential projects.
  • Tier Two ($250,000) for project planning.
  •  Tier Three ($350,000) will support project development.

An additional $75,000 will be available for capacity-constrained community-based organizations through a noncompetitive process under Tier One.

Working in concert with the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights, grantmakers are expected to open competitions this summer. Eligible organizations include non-profits, grassroots and community-based organizations, institutions of higher education, and local governments, including tribal and intertribal consortia.

North Carolina’s Research Triangle Institute (RTI) is the only national and regional grantmaker. It will receive $50 million to serve regions 4-7 in the central part of the country and another $50 million to serve in region 4.

In its national role, RTI will seek to fund projects that support the goals of the EPA’s 2022–2026 Strategic Plan, which outlines the agency’s goal to protect human health and the environment. The projects also will support the broader ambitions of the federal government’s Justice40 Initiative, with a special focus on programs ensuring clean air and water for disadvantaged communities.

As a regional grantmaker, RTI and partners North Carolina Central University (NCCU), the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), the University of Kentucky (UKY) and the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), will work to achieve a shared goal of racial equity in the pursuit of environmental justice. The diverse consortium brings together experts in the fields of grant management, environmental science and equity‐centered research and evaluation.

“We are thrilled to lend RTI’s wealth of expertise to this important program that will help ensure that local organizations across the U.S., regardless of circumstance, can be active participants in defining how to best advance environmental justice in their communities,” Daniela Pineda, director of the Thriving Communities Project at RTI, said in a press release.

National Grantmaker Selectees

SelecteeRegions ServedPartners
Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC)1-3Emerald Cities Collaborative (Washington, DC)
Groundwork USA (Yonkers, NY)
Urban Sustainability Directors Network (Washington, DC)
Trust for Public Lands (San Francisco, CA)
River Network (Boulder, CO)
Research Triangle Institute4-7International City/County Management Association (ICMA) (Washington, DC)
National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) (Columbia, MD)
Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) (Charlottesville, VA)
Climate Justice Alliance8-10The Chisholm Legacy Project (Baltimore, MD)
NDN Collective (Rapid City, SD)
Fund for Frontline Power Governing Body (13 locations)
JustFund (Oakland, CA)
Amalgamated Foundation (Washington, DC)
Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School (New York, NY)
Center for the Urban Environment at Kean University (MSI) (Union, NJ)

Regional Grantmaker Selectees

Health Resources in Action (HRiA)1Alternatives for Community and Environment, Inc. (ACE) (Roxbury, MA)
New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Inc. (Grassroots Fund) (Newmarket, NH)
Fordham University2New York Immigration Coalition (New York, NY)
New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (Newark, NJ)
ConPRmetidos (San Juan, PR)
Community Foundation Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, USVI)
Business Initiative Corporation of New York (Bronx, NY)
Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Inc.3Latin American Community Center (Wilmington, DE)
Childrens National Research Institute (Washington, DC)
Black Millennials 4 Flint (Washington, DC)
Block Power (Brooklyn, NY)
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (Annapolis, MD)
Children’s National Hospital Washington, DC)
Chisolm Legacy Project (Baltimore, MD)
Coalition for Green Capital (Washington, DC)
Delaware State University (Dover, DE)
Howard University (Washington, DC)
Invest Appalachia (Ashville, NC)
JustFund (Oakland, CA)
NAACP Maryland (Columbia, MD)
New Ecology (Boston, MA)
Savanah Barber (Tribal lands, VA)
United Parents Against Lead (Richmond, VA)
Women for a Healthy Environment (Pittsburgh, PA)

Research Triangle Institute
4North Carolina Central University NCCU (R4)
Resource for Assistance and Community Training-RTI Center for Applied Research in Environmental Science – CARES (NC)
Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC)
University of Kentucky (UKY)
National Center for Healthy Housing NCHH (MD) 

The Minneapolis Foundation
5Midwest Environmental Justice Network (R5 Tribal lands (Minneapolis, MN)
The RE-AMP Network (R5) (Madison, WI)
NDN Collective (Rapid City, SD) (R5)
Texas Southern University6Achieving Community Tasks Successfully (Houston, TX)
HBCU-CBO Gulf Coast Equity Consortium (New Orleans, LA)
HBCU Climate Change Consortium (New Orleans, LA)
National Black Environmental Justice Network (New Orleans, LA)

Research Triangle Institute (National Grantmaker)
7Research Triangle Institute will be responsible for providing subgrants to communities in EPA Region 7 as part of their National Grantmaker role serving EPA Regions 4 – 7
JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc8Montana Watershed Coordination Council (Helena, MT)
Oglala Lakota Cultural & Economic Revitalization Initiative (Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD)
Dakota Resource Council (Bismarck, ND)
Wyoming Outdoor Council (Lander, WY)
Community Health Association of Mountains/Plains States (CHAMPS) (Denver, CO
Equitable funding Advisory/Training Partner: Community-Centric Fundraising (Seattle, WA)
Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE), Inc9Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) (Tuscon, AZ)
International Community Foundation (ICF) (National City, CA)
Liberty Hill Foundation (Liberty Hill) (Los Angeles, CA)
Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) (Washington, DC)
Resources Legacy Fund (RLF) (Sacramento, CA)
Climate Justice Alliance (Berkeley, CA)
Philanthropy Northwest10Alaska Conservation Foundation (Anchorage, AK)
Denali Commission (Anchorage, AK)
Rasmuson Foundation (Anchorage, AK)
Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health (Boise ID)
Nonprofit Association of Oregon (Portland, OR)
JustFund Us (Oakland, CA)
Northwest Health Foundation (Portland, OR)
Inatai Foundation (Seattle, WA)
Russell Family Foundation Gig Harbor, WA)
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (Portland, OR)
Native Americans in Philanthropy (Washington, DC)

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Photo courtesy of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice

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