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Funding Opportunity: Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program (EJ TCGM)

May 31

The new Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking (EJ TCGM) Program is a competition to select multiple Grantmakers around the nation to reduce barriers to the federal grants application process communities face and increase the efficiency of the awards process for environmental justice grants. Grantmakers will design competitive application and submission processes, award environmental justice subgrants, implement a tracking and reporting system, provide resources and support to communities, all in collaboration with EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights.

EPA is issuing this solicitation to request applications for the design and management of a new Environmental Justice (EJ) competitive pass-through program where EPA will competitively select multiple pass-through entities to provide grant funds via subawards to community-based nonprofit organizations and other eligible subrecipient groups representing underserved and disadvantaged communities. The definition of the term Pass-through entity in 2 CFR 200.1 provides that a pass-through entity is a non-Federal entity that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a federal program. The EPA provides extensive guidance to pass-through entities in the EPA Subaward Policy and related materials available on the EPA internet website.

EPA plans to award cooperative agreement(s) to pass-through entities (referred to as Grantmakers by the program) who will collaborate with EPA to design and build their own processes to receive and evaluate competitive community project applications from communities for EJ Thriving Communities Subgrant activities. These activities consist of assessment, planning, and/or project development activities addressing local environmental and/or public health issues. Grantmakers will provide EJ Thriving Communities Subgrants (i.e., subawards) to Eligible Subrecipients.

Read more, access webinars, and apply for this opportunity.

Additional Background:

This competition is being launched in order to meet the goals and objectives of two Executive Orders (EO 14008 and EO 13985) issued by the Biden Administration that demonstrate the EPA’s and Administration’s commitment to achieving environmental justice and embedding environmental justice into Agency programs. Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, issued on January 27, 2021, affirmed the Administration’s commitment to advancing environmental justice (EJ) by -3- creating the Justice40 Initiative. The Justice40 Initiative1 establishes a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments—including those in climate change; clean energy and energy efficiency; clean transit; affordable and sustainable housing; training and workforce development; the remediation and reduction of legacy pollution; and the development of critical clean water infrastructure—flow to disadvantaged communities2 . In addition, Section 219 of the Executive Order stressed that environmental and economic justice are key considerations to factor into governmental decision-making and that transforming disadvantaged communities— historically marginalized, underserved, and overburdened—into healthy, thriving communities, and undertaking robust actions to mitigate climate change while preparing for the impacts of climate change across rural, urban, and Tribal areas are governmental priorities. The Executive Order also called for making environmental justice part of Agency missions by developing programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionately high and adverse human health, environmental, climate-related and other cumulative impacts on disadvantaged communities, as well as the accompanying economic challenges of such impacts.

Complementing Executive Order 14008, is Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity And Support For Underserved Communities Through The Federal Government, issued on January 20, 2021, which stated that the federal government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality “Environmental justice”, which is the common theme of these two Executive Orders, is defined by the EPA as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment means that no one group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal environmental programs and policies.

Meaningful involvement means that:

• People have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health;

• The public’s contribution can influence the regulatory agency’s decision;

• Community concerns will be considered in the decision-making process; and

• Decision makers will seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.

The underserved and disadvantaged communities for which these projects are focused on include, as defined by Executive Order 13985, “populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life…”. This includes communities such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; children, the elderly, members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality. For purposes of this RFA, “underserved communities” also includes “environmentally overburdened communities” (that is, communities adversely and disproportionately affected by environmental, climate and human health harms and risks including remote, rural, and urban communities), and disadvantaged communities.



May 31