Advocacy & Impact
Interested in impact focused work? This is a great rundown on some of the opportunities and conversations in the climate space around impact and advocacy.
One of the major existential challenges facing the federal funding ecosystem is rooted in the fact that many local governments and community-based organizations (CBOs) are unable to access or benefit from federal investments made available specifically for them. The American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and Inflation Reduction Act seek to deliver billions of dollars of benefits to communities that in many cases lack the training, bandwidth, and capacity to engage with these opportunities.
The Justice 40 initiative is designed to help ameliorate this challenge and address some of the core challenges faced by communities. For the first time in our nation’s history, the Federal Government has made it a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.
Here are some important links to consider when exploring the funding landscape for the advocacy and impact lens.
Some examples of this effort in action include the following;
The DOE Communities LEAP (Local Energy Action Program) Pilot aims to facilitate sustained community-wide economic and environmental benefits primarily through DOE’s clean energy deployment work. This opportunity is specifically open to low-income, energy-burdened communities that are also experiencing either direct environmental justice impacts, or direct economic impacts from a shift away from historical reliance on fossil fuels. Under the Communities LEAP Pilot, DOE will provide supportive services valued at up to $16M for community-driven clean energy transitions.
The Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) program provides funding at the state, local, territorial, and tribal level to support government activities that lead to measurable environmental or public health impacts in communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms.
Model EJG2G programs should leverage existing resources to develop processes or tools that integrate environmental justice considerations into governmental decision-making at all levels. Formerly known as EPA's State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement Program (SEJCA), this program has been renamed to better reflect the spectrum of entities eligible for this funding.
The EJG2G program goals are to:
- 1.Achieve measurable and meaningful environmental and/or public health results in communities;
- 2.build broad and robust, results-oriented partnerships, particularly with community-based nonprofit organizations (CBO) within disproportionately impacted areas;
- 3.pilot activities in specific communities that create transferable models, which can be expanded or replicated in other geographic areas and;
- 4.strengthen the development and implementation of meaningful approaches to achieve environmental justice.
Funded with $25 million through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new Thriving Communities Program (TCP) aims to ensure that disadvantaged communities adversely or disproportionately affected by environmental, climate, and human health policy outcomes have the technical tools and organizational capacity to compete for federal aid and deliver quality infrastructure projects that enable their communities and neighborhoods to thrive.
TCP facilitates the planning and development of transportation and community revitalization activities and provides tools to ensure that under-resourced communities can access the historic funding provided in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)
The Thriving Communities Program will be administered by the Build America Bureau as part of its broader efforts to provide technical assistance to communities.
The Thriving Communities Program is part of the larger Federal Thriving Communities Initiative. Through this Initiative, DOT is coordinating with other federal agency partners to form the Thriving Communities Network and is partnering with philanthropy to ensure that all communities can access federal resources and implement programs that help them thrive.
One of the questions we get often is, "Should I start a non-profit to work in the impact space?". Here to answer that is the amazing Justin Brezhnev from Hacker Fund. If you are looking to unlock more access to impact focused funding from foundations or philanthropy at large, and you need that 501(c)3 status, don't start a non-profit, there is a better way.