CalEPA awards record 84 grants across the state for local environmental justice projects

SACRAMENTO, Calif –The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) announced today that $4 million in grants have been awarded to nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribal governments for 84 environmental justice projects across the state.

The number of projects funded and the amount of funding awarded during the 2021 cycle are both records for CalEPA’s Environmental Justice (EJ) Small Grants Program. The program more than doubled the number of projects over the last awards cycle, which was made possible by last year’s Climate Resilience PackagePDF download in the state budget. The package committed $25 million to CalEPA’s Environmental Justice Program over two years. 

“California is committed to partnering with communities on the front lines of climate change. This year’s 84 environmental justice grants are truly inspiring,” said Jared Blumenfeld, California Secretary for Environmental Protection. “These community-driven projects will have a significant impact in every region of our state. Environmental justice can only be realized by investing in communities that for too long have been left behind.”

The funded projects will address a variety of issues: improving climate resiliency; enhancing water quality; building community capacity to participate in planning and land-use decision-making; and increasing collaboration and environmental education, with a particular focus on engaging youths. Many projects focus on providing information to residents of disproportionately burdened communities and enabling more robust and meaningful participation in environmental decision-making at local, state, and federal levels.

“These organizations empower people in disadvantaged communities with knowledge, training and hands-on projects that are truly making a difference,” said Bidtah N. Becker, Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal Affairs and Border Relations. “We are excited for the work they are doing and are happy to be able to help fund their efforts.”

The grant program was established by Assembly Bill 2312 (2002) to provide grants to eligible nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribal governments. Since its inception, CalEPA has awarded over $10.8 million to 290 projects focused on environmental justice issues statewide.

San Francisco Bay Area

Earth Team: $49,903 (Contra Costa and Alameda counties)
Earth Team provides service-learning projects by partnering with educational, environmental and governnment organizations. The nonprofit organization will utilize the grant to provide a youth-led education program on reducing and diverting solid waste. They will hire youth interns to conduct outreach to 5,000 students on four campuses in Richmond, San Pablo, Oakland and San Lorenzo. They will to provide information and information to 200 families in vulnerable communities on the negative health effects solid waste landfill impacts. As part of this effort, four leadership teams will install three bin kits in their homes and monitor their use with waste audits. Previous grantee.
Media Contact: Joelle Alley, (844) 704-4030, ext. 3

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