Biden-Harris Administration Selects Green & Healthy Homes Initiative to Receive $50,000,000 to Fund Environmental Justice Projects Across the Mid-Atlantic as Part of Investing in America Agenda

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As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration announced McAllister & Quinn client Green & Healthy Homes Initiative has been selected to serve as Regional Grantmaker that will receive $50,000,000 under EPA’s Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking program that was created by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the largest investment in climate action in history. This new grant program, which will make it easier for small community-based organizations to access federal environmental justice funding, responds to community feedback about the need to reduce barriers to federal funds and improve the efficiency of the awards process to ensure communities that have long faced underinvestment can access the benefits of the largest climate investment in history.

Communities will be able to apply to a Green & Healthy Homes Initiative for a subgrant to fund a range of different environmental project activities, including (but not limited to) small local clean ups, local emergency preparedness and disaster resiliency programs, environmental workforce development programs for local jobs reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fenceline air quality and asthma related projects, healthy homes programs, and projects addressing illegal dumping.

“For years, community advocates have been calling for federal support and resources to help address our country’s most pressing environmental justice concerns,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Thanks to President Biden and Vice President Harris’ leadership, we’re responding to these calls by removing barriers that have traditionally held communities and applicants back from accessing these historic investments in America. Together, in partnership with these Grantmakers, we are taking a giant step toward a future where every person in America has equal opportunity to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live a healthy, productive life.”

“This program will invest tens of millions of dollars into underserved communities in the Mid-Atlantic Region, helping people that have typically been on the outside looking in. The projects that come out of this program will clean up communities, revitalize neighborhoods, and create a strong and vibrant workforce,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz.

The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) plans to use a strong participatory governance framework to build capacity in underserved areas. GHHI recognizes the need to reach diverse audiences using wide-ranging delivery methods and partners to leverage best practices in outreach and implementation. Moreover, GHHI will engage the community through a stakeholder advisory board, partnerships, and mechanisms for providing direct feedback to adapt frequently to the needs of communities, particularly those from disadvantaged or underserved areas.

“We are honored to be selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lead Region 3’s Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program. GHHI brings to this Program our deeply rooted commitment to and understanding of the value of building community-based capacity to address and reverse the effects of historic disinvestment in environmental justice communities,” said Ruth Ann Norton, President and CEO of GHHI. “We applaud the EPA for its thoughtful commitment to understanding the need for deep capacity building support. The work to address environmental justice issues reflects our own understanding as a nation that every American deserves the opportunity to live in healthy and climate resilient communities. The diverse partners joining with GHHI on this effort in EPA Region 3 include HBCUs, tribal nations, Latin American community groups, climate and racial equity organizations, children’s hospitals, and legal services networks, among many others. The EJ TCGM program provides an unprecedented opportunity to leverage the investments made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act to make tangible and transformative differences in communities throughout the country.”

“In Maryland, we are working at every level of government to take decisive action to address climate change and protect Black, Brown, Indigenous and other vulnerable communities that are disproportionately burdened by the impacts of climate change. These federal funds will provide targeted resources to communities that are most impacted by climate change but less equipped to adapt to it,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “The new program acknowledges that smaller, resource-strained community-based organizations have historically faced barriers in accessing federal environmental justice funding. This is a historic investment in community-based projects working towards environmental justice and supports a healthier, more equitable Maryland.”

“Through the Inflation Reduction Act, we took historic action to ensure that all communities can participate in the clean energy revolution, lower energy costs, and improve health outcomes. Green & Healthy Homes has already been a vital partner in advancing that work in Baltimore, and with this major investment, we know GHHI will make an even greater impact on our path to progress for environmental justice, energy savings, and economic opportunity,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen.

EPA Grantmakers will work in collaboration with EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights to issue subgrants to community-based nonprofit organizations and other eligible organizations representing disadvantaged communities. As a Grantmaker, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative will design comprehensive application and submission processes, award environmental justice subgrants, implement tracking and reporting systems, and provide resources and support to communities. The subgrants are expected to become available by summer of 2024.

Grantmakers are expected to begin opening competitions and awarding subgrants by summer 2024. Community-based nonprofit organizations and other eligible organizations seeking subgrant funding will be able to apply for subgrants through three concurrent tiers offered by the Grantmakers. Tier One will consist of grants for $150,000 for assessment, Tier Two will consist of grants for $250,000 for planning, and Tier Three will consist of grants for $350,000 for project development. In addition, $75,000 will be available for capacity-constrained community-based organizations through a noncompetitive process during Tier One. Each Grantmaker will design and implement a distribution program best suited for their region and communities.

The Grantmakers program is part of the Federal Interagency Thriving Communities Network and delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative which set the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. Grantmakers will work in collaboration with the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (EJ TCTACs) to create a robust support network to assist eligible entities when applying.

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