Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he has included $3 million in Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants in his soon-to-be-released 2017-2018 executive budget, meant to mitigate environmental and public health threats in low-income and minority communities.
“These grants empower residents to address the environmental concerns that directly affect where they live, and during the last 10 years, remarkable progress has been made one neighborhood at a time,” said the governor. “With this major increase in funding, we will expand the reach of the program to combat this inequality and address environmental justice concerns in even more communities across New York.”
Environmental Justice Community Grants have been offered through the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Office of Environmental Justice since 2006 and, in that time, just over $4 million has been awarded to 121 projects around the state, such as: research, community gardens, tree plantings, education and curriculum development, urban farming training, habitat restoration, or water or air quality monitoring. The anticipated funding would be included in budget allocations for the state Environmental Protection Fund, and represents the most ever offered in a single grant round in the decade-long existence of the initiative.
Not-for-profit community-based organizations are eligible to apply for Community Impact Grants, up to $50,000, to work on projects that address environmental and public health concerns of the residents in the impacted neighborhood. Projects must address a community’s exposure to multiple harms and risks and include a research component that will be used to expand the knowledge of the affected community. Previous projects awarded by the Department of Environmental Conservation have included citizen science, alternative energy projects, curriculum development, green infrastructure installation and more. (A complete list of previous projects and winners is available here.)
Additionally, applicant organizations are required to have their primary office located in the affected community, serve residents in one city, town or borough and have a total annual revenue less than $3 million. All applicants are required to register and prequalify in the Grants Gateway, the state’s web-based grants management system, before applying for a Community Impact Grant. Once registered and prequalified, organizations can then apply for the grant in the Grants Gateway. (Instructions and application are available here.)
“Supporting community based efforts to improve environmental quality and protect public health is essential, and I’m proud of the accomplishments we’ve achieved over the past decade of this program,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “The increased EPF funding provided this year will further enhance, and jumpstart new, projects in many EJ communities across the state, and I look forward to continuing to grow this important program in the years ahead.”
The deadline to submit an application for the Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant is January 31 at 3 p.m.
On Nov. 30, at 1:30 p.m., DEC’s Office of Environmental Justice will host a webinar to educate interested organizations on the grants process and answer any questions they may have. Register for the webinar here.