UNITE-EJ - Climate Justice Alliance


United Network for Impact, Transformation, & Equity in Environmental Justice Communities

Unite for Environmental Justice

An influx of public monies flowing through federal policies passed over the last two years is shaping the future of our economy, as well as influencing the health of our communities. Over the next few years, more than $3 trillion will move through federal agencies via policies such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Now is the time for grassroots organizations to influence the direction of, and step into governance of, these monies to operationalize grassroots-led climate solutions that are grounded in equity, justice, and sustainability. These are the monies we need to jump-start the regenerative economy and ensure a pathway toward deep democracy — and as taxpayer dollars, this is our money!

During 2023, the Climate Justice Alliance developed strategies with our members to both influence the flow of these public monies, as well as access the federal funds directly. In December 2023, the EPA announced that UNITE-EJ (United Network for Impact, Transformation, and Equity in Environmental Justice Communities), a consortium of partners led by CJA, will be the recipient of a $50 million grant and serve as the National Grantmaker – West partner in the Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program, supporting EPA regions 8, 9, and 10.

In this role, UNITE-EJ will provide technical support to regional grantmakers and grassroots organizations, as well as serve as a regrantor of tens of millions of dollars in public funds to environmental justice communities over the next three years. As firm believers that those closest to the problems hold innovative and visionary solutions, we trust in the wisdom and leadership of EJ communities to effectively deploy these resources to the projects that need them most. Now is the time for a new era of EPA and EJ communities’ deepened collaboration toward a unified strategy— co-governance of the Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program.

Media Hits

This is a key milestone for Chisholm Legacy Project and Climate Justice Alliance in our respective journeys to ensure the arc bends toward justice and systems change, particularly around the vast resources at the disposal of the government. We look forward to ensuring that thousands of $150,000 to $350,000 EPA grants move to marginalized, environmental justice communities to address historic harms.

Jacqueline Patterson

Founder and Executive Director, The Chisholm Legacy Project

The climate and environmental investments through the Inflation Reduction Act implemented over the next few years will set the groundwork for generations to come. We are excited to partner with UNITE-EJ to ensure that Native communities can access EPA grants, including through Thriving Communities, lead with vision and experience, and move policymakers, tribal governments, and grassroots communities to not only dream but also lean into sovereignty.

Nick Tilsen

President and CEO, NDN Collective

Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) and Communities First Fund were central in pulling environmental justice organizations and their trusted allies together from across the country to help us understand this historic opportunity. Through their leadership, resources, and hours of technical assistance and support, we at Alternatives for Community and Environment (a CJA member) were able to submit our own application for EPA Region 1 with lead applicant Health Resources in Action and other trusted partners. We also were awarded a $50 million grant – a transformative milestone and just the beginning of investment in environmental justice communities and our visions for local, regenerative economies.

Dwaign Tyndal

Executive Director, Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE)

The UNITE-EJ’s successful application and approach offers a unique opportunity for the EPA to not only meet their Justice40 commitment, but also create room for community-led and accountable institutions to use their infrastructure and trust in communities to support BIPOC leaders on the frontlines of the climate crisis to lead with vision and ample resources.

Marion Gee

former Co-Executive Director, Climate Justice Alliance

JustFund is proud to partner with CJA and UNITE-EJ to ensure the application process for thousands of frontline environmental justice organizations is values-aligned and streamlined through our common application platform saving applicants dozens of hours and democratizing access to hundreds of additional funding opportunities.

Iara Peng

Founder and CEO, JustFund

The Tishman Center at The New School is honored to be in deep collaboration with the UNITE-EJ partners to implement this historic co-governance model and ensure that frontline environmental justice organizations get the support and investments they need to implement transformative environmental solutions on the ground and throughout the western United States.

Dr. Ana Baptista

Associate Professor & Co-Director, Tishman Environment & Design Center at The New School

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