The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the availability of $11 million in initial grant funding to establish Environmental Justice (EJ) Thriving Community Technical Assistance Centers across the nation. The EPA funding is available under the first year of a partnership with the Department of Energy, with future phases of up to 10 multi-year awards for a maximum potential program value of $50 million.
The Centers will provide an unprecedented level of support to help ensure that federal resources are equitably distributed and meet the on-the-ground environmental justice challenges that communities have faced for generations.
“Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, EPA is making historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure, making it all the more crucial to support the communities that need the most help accessing this funding,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This grant funding will fill a critical gap to support underserved communities disproportionately harmed by pollution and break down barriers to federal resources.”
The Centers will provide technical assistance, training, and capacity-building support to communities with environmental justice concerns and their partners. They will also assist with navigating federal systems such as Grants.gov and SAM.gov, effectively managing and leveraging grant funding, and translation and interpretation services for limited English-speaking participants. The initial $11 million in grant funding is being provided by EPA.
The support provided will focus on building community-centered collaborations through meaningful engagement, guidance on accessing other forms of support and technical assistance across the federal government, and assistance with writing grant proposals. This program will coordinate with and complement the Department of Transportation’s Thriving Communities Initiative that provides technical assistance and capacity building resources to improve and foster thriving communities through transportation improvements.
This opportunity is available to public and private universities and colleges; public and private nonprofit institutions/organizations; and collaborating tribal governments. Applications are due on October 4, 2022. Awards will be issued as cooperative agreements and EPA will be substantially involved in the operation of the centers.