Participants after breakout sessions. (Denver Mackey/L.A. Sentinel)

On Friday June 9, Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove in collaboration with U.S Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Martha Guzman hosted an environmental funding roundtable to discuss issues surrounding climate change and environmental justice at the Beehive in Los Angeles.

Opening with welcoming remarks by Kamlager-Dove and Guzman, participants then separated into three breakout sessions on Environmental Justice Block Grants, the Brownfields Program, and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund with focus on Ports and Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles. Participants were able to learn about these new initiatives and ask questions to EPA representatives.

With many participants being representatives of many community groups and non-profit organizations, questions were raised to the EPA regarding these grants, and how the EPA can ensure that every organization is getting equal opportunities to get funding and support during the application process.

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Kamlager-Dove discussed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which was created to provide action towards reducing U.S. emissions by 40% by 2030 with support from the EPA six new programs to provide funding to disadvantaged communities and non-profit organizations. The EPA states that they received $41.5 billion dollars in appropriated funds from the IRA to support 24 new and existing programs.

Congresswoman Kamlager-Dove during speech. (Denver Mackey/L.A. Sentinel)

Among these new programs are the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund which is a program that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, in turn providing more clean energy resources to low-income communities from the support of their local non-profits and community leaders. The Climate Pollution Reduction Grants will also be supporting greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution reduction but will provide grants to states, territories, tribes, agencies and local governments. The last of these programs is the Environmental and Climate Justice Change Program which will provide funding under the activities involving financial and technical assistance for community-based nonprofits, tribes, and local governments.

The biggest of these breakouts was the session on the Environmental Justice Grants where many non-profit leaders asked questions for guidance and input on how to make this process even better. While many of the applications are now closed, the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program is still open and will be funding up to 11 grant makers nationwide to provide subgrants to community-based nonprofits to reduce the barriers that community-based non-profits face when going through the grant’s application processes, in turn increasing efficiency and lowering stress on applicants. Recipients of this grant will receive $50 million per award, and the grantmakers will sub-award grants to CBOs. The application deadline is June 30, 2023.

Participants during Q&A. (Denver Mackey/L.A. Sentinel)

Kamlager-Dove encourages local non-profits to apply, and shared this, “we want to hear the input from these leaders about how to make sure we can formalize the process of getting this money into the community within such a small amount of time. We are so happy to have had this event to be able to hear from the source about how we can make this work.”

With so much money being given to these communities, under the IRA, all of the money must be used by 2026 and the EPA as well as Kamlager-Dove and Guzman encourage organizations to apply, and participate in roundtables like this to make their voices be heard, and get this money out into the community as quickly and efficiently as possible.

To find out how your organization can make an even greater impact, visit the EPA’s website, and visit Congresswoman Kamlager-Dove’s website to find more information.