Environmental Justice Small Grant Program


The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program provides funding directly to community-based organizations for projects that help residents of underserved communities understand and address local environmental and public health issues. The term underserved community refers to a community with environmental justice concerns and/or vulnerable populations, including people of color, low income, rural, tribal, indigenous, and homeless populations that may be disproportionately impacted by environmental harms and risks. In general, the EJSG program awards grants that support community-driven projects designed to engage, educate, and empower communities to better understand and address local environmental and public health issues. Community-driven projects are projects that include activities where community residents and/or representatives are integrally involved in the thinking behind and execution of those activities. Therefore, applying organizations should have a direct connection to the underserved community impacted by environmental harms and risks.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Environmental Protection Agency
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 This program was not funded in FY 2016. The limited availability of funds resulted in the inability to offer multiple assistance programs This program was not funded in FY 2016. The limited availability of funds resulted in the inability to offer multiple assistance programs
Fiscal Year 2017 In FY 2017, 188 applications were received and 35 awards were made.
Fiscal Year 2018 NA
Fiscal Year 2020 Successful projects funded through the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, along with associated accomplishments, can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-small-grants-program#PastGrantees
Fiscal Year 2021 In 2021, 99 organizations nationwide were selected to receive awards of approximately $75,000 each for one-year projects. These grants will benefit communities in 37 different states, as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico. In 2021, for the first time ever, EPA created a designation for small nonprofit organizations and set-aside funding exclusively for those qualifying organizations. Per the 2021 Request for Applications (RFA), a small nonprofit is defined as a non-profit organization with 10 or fewer full-time employees on staff. This set-aside is intended to promote environmental justice funding to those communities and grassroots organizations that need it the most. 83 of the 99 projects (84%) are going to qualifying small nonprofits. The remaining 16 projects are going to larger nonprofit organizations and tribal governments. Additional program accomplishments for 2021 can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-small-grants-program.
Fiscal Year 2023 For a list of accomplishments under this assistance listing, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-small-grants-program.
Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, Section 203
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20(a), as amended by P.L. 106-74
Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10(a), as amended by P.L. 106-74
Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442(c)(3)
Clean Air Act, Section 103(b)(3)
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, Section 311(c)
Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001(a)
Clean Water Act, Section 104(b)(3)
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
An eligible applicant must be one of the following: o incorporated non-profit organizations --including, but not limited to, community-based organizations, grassroots organizations, environmental justice networks, faith based organizations and those affiliated with religious institutions;* U.S. Territories o Tribal governments, must be either federally-recognized or state-recognized - including Alaska Native Villages o tribal organizations * o Freely Associated States (FAS) - including local governmental entities and local non-profit organizations in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Palau. Applicant organizations claiming non-profit status must include documentation that shows the organization is either a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization as designated by the Internal Revenue Service; OR a non-profit organization recognized by the state, territory, commonwealth or tribe in which it is located. For the latter, documentation must be on official state government letterhead. Applicants must be located within the same state, territory, commonwealth, or tribe in which the proposed project is located. This means that an applicant's registered address of record (i.e., the address designated on their IRS or State-sanctioned documentation) must be in the same state, territory, commonwealth or tribe as the location of the proposed project. The following entities are INELIGIBLE to receive an award, but we encourage applicants to partner with these organizations, as appropriate: o colleges and universities; o hospitals; o for-profit businesses; o state and local governments and their entities; o quasi-governmental entities (e.g., water districts, utilities)*; o national organizations and chapters of the aforementioned organizations**; oInternational organizations and chapters of the aforementioned organizations o Individuals o non-profit organizations supporting lobbying activities as defined in Section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995; and*** * Generally, a quasi-governmental entity is one that: (1) has a close association with the government agency, but is not considered a part of the government agency; (2) was created by the government agency, but is exempt from certain legal and administrative requirements imposed on government agencies; or (3) was not created by the government agency but performs a public purpose and is significantly supported financially by the government agency. ** National organizations are defined as comprising of one centralized headquarters or principal place of business that creates and controls the mission, structure and work carried out by its chapters or affiliates. *** Funds awarded under this program may not be used to support lobbying activities or any activities related to lobbying or the appearance thereof. Subawards made to nonprofit organizations that lobby are not allowed. For certain competitive funding opportunities under this assistance listing, the Agency may limit eligibility to compete to a number or subset of eligible applicants consistent with the Agency's Assistance Agreement Competition Policy.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Eligible beneficiaries are the Non-Profit Community Groups as described under "Applicant Eligibility" above, and the residents of the communities they serve. List selected may not be all inclusive.
Applicants may be requested to demonstrate they have appropriate background, academic training, experience in the field, and necessary equipment to carry out projects. EPA may ask applicants or principal investigators to provide curriculum vitae and relevant publications.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs," when proposed Federal financial assistance involves land use planning or construction associated with demonstration projects. EPA financial assistance programs and activities subject to intergovernmental review that have been selected for review under State single point of contact procedures are identified at https://www.epa.gov/grants/epa-financial-assistance-programs-subject-executive-order-12372-and-section-204. Applicants for programs or activities subject to Intergovernmental Review that have not been selected for State single point of contact review must provide directly affected State, areawide, regional, and local entities at least 60 days to review their application following notification by EPA that the application has been selected for funding as provided by 40 CFR 29.8(a) and (c). Regarding pre-application assistance with respect to competitive funding opportunities under this assistance listing, EPA will generally specify the nature of the pre-application assistance, if any, that will be available to applicants in the competitive announcement. For additional information, contact the individual(s) listed as "Agency Contacts" in the competitive announcement.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applicants, except in limited circumstances approved by the Agency, must submit all initial applications for funding through Grants.gov.
Award Procedure
For competitive awards, EPA will review and evaluate applications in accordance with the terms, conditions, and criteria stated in the competitive announcement. Competitions will be conducted in accordance with EPA policies/regulations for competing assistance agreements.
For competitive awards, deadlines will be specified in the Request for Applications.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 120 to 180 days. Approximately 150 days after the application submission due date.
Assistance agreement competition-related disputes will be resolved in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures published in 70 FR (Federal Register) 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005). Copies of these procedures may also be found at: https://www.epa.gov/grants/grant-competition-dispute-resolution-procedures. Disputes relating to matters other than the competitive selection of recipients will be resolved under 2 CFR 1500 Subpart E, as applicable.
Awardees may request a no-cost extension 'as needed' which then must be approved by Agency personnel.
How are proposals selected?
The evaluation and selection criteria for competitive awards under this assistance listing will be described in the competitive announcement.
How may assistance be used?
Grants and cooperative agreements are available to support recipients' allowable direct costs incident to approved surveys, studies, and investigations plus allowable direct costs in accordance with established EPA policies and procedures. Assistance agreement awards under this program may involve or relate to geospatial information. Geospatial information is information that identifies the geographic location and characteristics of natural or constructed features or boundaries on the earth, or applications, tools, and hardware associated with the generation, maintenance, or distribution of such information. This information may be derived from, among other things, GPS, remote sensing, mapping, charting, and surveying technologies, or statistical data. Further information regarding geospatial information may be obtained by viewing the following website: Geospatial Resources at EPA (https://www.epa.gov/geospatial).
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: Semi-annual progress reports include questions about awardee progress in accomplishing proposed project activities, outputs, and outcomes.
Grants and cooperative agreements are subject to inspections and audits by the Comptroller General of the United States, the EPA Office of Inspector General, other EPA staff, or any authorized representative of the Federal government. Reviews by the EPA Project Officer and the Grants Specialist may occur each year.
Recipients must keep financial records, including all documents supporting entries on accounting records and to substantiate changes in grants available to personnel authorized to examine EPA recipients grants and cooperative agreements records. Recipients must maintain all records until 3 years from the date of submission of final expenditure reports as required by 2 CFR 200.334. If questions, such as those raised because of audits remain following the 3-year period, recipients must retain records until the matter is completely resolved.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
The project grant will be awarded for a 1-year project period. Activities must be completed within the time frame of the project's budget period and all grants will be fully funded at the time of award. Grants are fully funded at award and recipients request funds on an as needed basis.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
A list of Regional EJ Contacts can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-your-community.
Headquarters Office
Jacob Burney, Division Director, Grants Management Division
Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460 US
Phone: 202-564-2907
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 22$7,261,403.00; FY 23 est $1,600,000.00; FY 24 est $0.00; FY 21$7,300,000.00; FY 20$360,000.00; FY 19$1,500,000.00; FY 18$0.00; FY 17$1,080,000.00; FY 16$0.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
$50,000 to $100,000/fiscal year; average $75,000.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
2 CFR 200 and 1500 (EPA Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards); 40 CFR Part 33 (Participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises in United States Environmental Protection Agency Programs); 40 CFR Part 45 (EPA Training Assistance).
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2016 The limited availability of funds resulted in the inability to offer multiple assistance programs, so this program was not funded in FY 2016. The limited availability of funds resulted in the inability to offer multiple assistance programs, so this program was not funded in FY 2016.
Fiscal Year 2017 The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) program provided funding to support projects that addressed local environmental and public health issues within communities facing environmental justice concerns. Communities with environmental justice concerns include low-income, minority, tribal, and indigenous populations that potentially experience disproportionate environmental harms and risks as a result of greater vulnerability to environmental hazards. This increased vulnerability may be attributable to an accumulation of both negative and lack of positive environmental, health, economic, or social conditions within these populations or communities. The projects funded addressed the following environmental issues: Lead Exposure; Other Toxic Substances exposure (e.g. Radon and pesticide exposure); access to Clean Water and Clean Air; Land Remediation; Green Infrastructure; Solid Waste Disposal and enhancing Environmental Education.
Fiscal Year 2020 Examples of the types of projects funded under this assistance listing include (but are not limited to): 1) Lead restoration through removing trash and invasive species in four targeted treatment areas within the park, establish native vegetation, and construct an Osprey nesting platform to restore sustainable habitat for wildlife; 2) increase family understanding of how to live safely with lead, maximize the effectiveness of lead containment efforts, develop a replicable demonstration project, and provide metrics to support the design of effective lead remediation efforts; 3) develop and implement a year-long program of community engagement and education opportunities that will foster discussions on environmental justice concerns, build community capacity to address issues related to clean air and water through greening, and lay the groundwork for future endeavors, including addressing other environmental concerns; 4) educate residents about the relationship between automobile usage and local air pollution so that better choices can be made about how to travel – particularly for short trips of less than 1 mile. Information about how more sustainable choices can be made will be transferred through a series of six educational workshops, a Community Transportation Fair, and a community visioning session to identify resident-chosen locations in need of improved connections for bicycle and pedestrian access so that unnecessary car travel can be avoided.
Fiscal Year 2021 This grant program was not funded in FY 2022. Examples of the types of projects funded in previous years include (but are not limited to): 1) developing a Green Jobs Corps plans to inspire residents to grow food locally and build local capacity to improve air quality and public health through via intensive learning experiences for summer farm interns; 2) increasing the number of urban farms and farmers in local underserved communities through a regenerative urban agriculture certificate program focusing on soil carbon sequestration techniques; 3) deploying multiple digital air sensors in a local underserved community to analyze the levels of particulate matter that are emitted from several industrial sources in the area, while also addressing blight and urban heat island effect by planting native trees and developing community gardens and pop-up markets. For additional information on the types of projects funded under this program, please visit the following website: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-small-grants-program.
Fiscal Year 2023 The EJSG Program has funded a wide range of projects and project types over the years that address local environmental and public health concerns through collaborative partnerships. All proposed projects should include activities designed to engage, educate, and empower communities to understand the local environmental and public health issues and to identify ways to address these issues at the local level. Types of projects the EJSG program has funded in the past include, but are not limited to, the following: Air Quality & Asthma; Water Quality & Sampling; Stormwater Issues; Green Infrastructure; Lead contamination; Pesticides and other Toxic Substances; Healthy Homes; Illegal Dumping; Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Resiliency; Environmental Job Training; and Youth Development. Projects can include strategies for: 1) establishing or modifying public participation programs, 2) addressing local environmental and public health issues, 3) educating and empowering the community about environmental issues, and 4) approaches to building consensus and setting community priorities through public participation programs.


Federal Grants Resources