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Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant Program

Grants to New York Community-Based Organizations
to Mitigate Environmental Harms and Risks

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ)

Deadline Date:

07/09/18 3:00 PM ET


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Grants starting at $2,500 to New York community-based organizations for projects that address public health and environmental concerns for minority and low-income communities. Applicants must pre-register at least five days before the deadline. Collaborative projects are encouraged.

The program has a particular focus on low-income and minority communities that have historically been burdened by environmental problems. Those environmental problems include a large number of regulated facilities; contaminated sites; noise, air and water pollution; health problems and lack of green space and waterfront access. The Community Impact Grants empower stakeholders to be actively engaged in finding solutions to the disproportionate burdens that EJ communities may experience.

The Community Impact Grants have been an important source of support for communities disproportionately impacted by pollution and toxins. The grants have helped communities generate data through community-based science and have helped to engage residents in addressing and understanding the challenges and opportunities for improving community health, safety, and sustainability. These grants are essential support for engaging underserved communities throughout the state.

Project proposals and work plans MUST address ALL of the following criteria:
(1) Project proposal must provide a description of communities’ exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. Multiple harms and risks can occur in several ways:
(a) a community has multiple sources of environmental harms and risks;
(b) a community has multiple sources that contribute to a single environmental harm or risk; or
(c) a community experiences health impacts or risks from a single source of environmental harm (air and water contamination from a single source);
(2) Project proposal must be located within the EJ community served by the eligible applicant organization (see community demographics on page 19); AND
(3) Project proposal must include a research component that will be used to expand the knowledge or understanding of the affected community.

Successful projects DEC has previously funded through Community Impact Grants have included the following:
- An inventory of environmental harms and risks in the community such as: inventory of industrial, municipal or commercial facilities in the community; identification of related environmental or public health harms and risks and development of a community education program to address some or all of the harms and risks.
- Mobile source emission tracking and monitoring (traffic counts, diesel vehicle idling counts) and development of a program to address some or all of the harms and risks.
- Demonstration projects for green infrastructure or energy conservation, i.e., green rooftops, urban tree planting, energy conservation or alternative energy projects. The data from such demonstration projects must be used to expand the community’s knowledge and understanding of how such projects may mitigate exposure to environmental impacts.
- Projects to identify and reduce harms and risks to subsistence fishing populations that use waters restricted for fish consumption, i.e. research habits of fishing populations, develop means to educate populations about associated harms and risks and recommend means to provide safe fishing access to such populations.
- Projects to identify industrial, commercial or municipal processes that result in pollution which impacts the community, research these processes and study and develop potential methods to reduce such exposure.
- Projects to identify lead hazards for children and pregnant women, prevent lead related housing risks and/or promote lead safe work practices by homeowners and contractors involved in residential renovation and remodeling.
- Projects to identify sources of household hazardous waste within the affected community,
identify local hazardous waste facilities, educate community residents on proper disposal and alternative non- hazardous products such as green cleaning products and encourage use of alternative non-hazardous products.
- An inventory of open space in the affected community and construction of community gardens or other park-like features to demonstrate beneficial use of that open space.
- Projects that encourage a connection to nature and the urban environment for inner-city students, develop hands-on stewardship projects for students to help them understand natural processes, and inventory community environmental harms and risks.

For further project guidance, see a list of additional project suggestions in the Request for Proposal document under Attached Files below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 132131

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The minimum grant amount is $2,500.

The new appropriation language allows for applicants to be awarded up to $100,000 each until $2.5 million has been exhausted. The remaining $1,975,929 allows applicants to be awarded up to $50,000 each.

Term of Contract:

All projects must have defined objectives, tasks, and deliverables accounted for in performance measures that can be completed and invoiced within a 36 month contract period/term.

The activity for the request must fall within the dates of October 16, 2018 to October 15, 2021.

Project expenditures prior to MCG start date and after the MCG end date are not eligible for reimbursement.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

An eligible applicant must be a not-for-profit corporation (NFP) community-based organization, or a community-based organization may partner with a NFP that will serve as their fiscal sponsor. For this grant opportunity, a NFP is subject to New York State’s Not- For-Profit Corporation Law, is qualified for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, has an IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter to be incorporated in New York State and is current in their charities reporting requirements with the Office of the Attorney General.

For purposes of this grant application, a “community-based organization” is defined as an organization that satisfies and meets all of the following criteria:
a. Serves the residents of an area equal to or smaller than one town, city or New York City borough; and
b. Has a total annual revenue that does not exceed $3,000,000, based on the applicant’s IRS Form 990 filing from the previous year; and
c. Cannot have its charter revoked or otherwise be dissolved through the action of another organization; and
d. Is able to enter into legal agreements independent of any affiliated not-for-profit organization, government body, university or other entity that would be ineligible to apply for this grant; and
e. Focuses on addressing the environmental and/or public health problems of the residents of the community that is impacted by the multiple environmental harms and risks that are the focus of the project (the “affected community”); and
f. Has its primary office location in the affected community; and
g. Has more than 50 percent of its members residing in the affected community, or more than 50 percent of the people served by the applicant community group residing in the affected community. (A NFP serving as a fiscal sponsor is not required to have members in the affected community.); and
h. The applicant (and partner NFP fiscal sponsor, if applicable) must declare that it has not caused or contributed to the environmental harms or risks that are to be the subject of the proposed project. (Note: A declaration can be viewed on the last page of this RFA. The declaration must be signed and uploaded in the Grants Gateway.)

Projects must serve an EJ community, as defined in DEC Commissioner Policy 29, Environmental Justice and Permitting. See the link in Grant Coverage Areas below for maps.

Entities that are not eligible to apply and receive funding under this grant program are: individuals; universities; government bodies; water districts or similar entities; large nongovernmental organizations such as a county (outside New York City), regional, state or national environmental groups and organizations.

An ineligible organization may be involved in a proposed EJ project by partnering as a subcontractor for an eligible organization.

The following costs are not eligible for grant funding or reimbursement under this program:
1. Costs that are paid from other state or federal funding sources are not eligible for reimbursement.
2. Indirect costs: indirect (overhead) costs such as: utilities, office rent, insurance.
3. Costs of preparing the EJ grant application.
4. Costs relating to the project that were incurred prior to the start date of the grant contract or after the termination date of the grant contract.
5. Legal costs related to the commencement of, or participation in, any action before a municipal, state or federal court or other agency.

A community development corporation or local development corporation can be an eligible applicant if it is not merely a non-profit arm of a local government; the development corporation must have an executive board that is separate from the municipal government and carry out functions independently of the government.

Colleges, universities and other educational institutions are not eligible to apply for an EJ Grant, either as a potential recipient or as a fiscal agent for another applicant. However, they may provide technical assistance to grant applicants.

A graduate student's university stipend cannot come from an EJ Grant, because a university cannot be a recipient of these funds. However, a graduate student can receive a contract fee from a community non-profit organization that has been awarded an EJ Grant.

The organization receiving the EJ Grant funding cannot make a profit from the sale of the produce or other products paid for by this grant.

Pre-Application Information:

Not-for-profits must register in the Grants Gateway and complete the Vendor Prequalification process in order for proposals to be evaluated. Vendors are strongly encouraged to begin the process as soon as possible in order to participate in this opportunity.

The State reserves 5 days to review submitted Prequalification applications. Prequalification applications submitted to the State for review less than 5 days prior to the application deadline may not be considered. Applicants should not assume that their Prequalification information will be reviewed if they do not adhere to this timeframe.

The process of signing and executing the State Assistance Contract and processing the first payment takes approximately three to four months from the date that the grant awards are announced. The EJ Grant recipient must plan for this time when scheduling project expenses.

Timetable of Key Events:

- Application Period Begins April 17, 2018
- Question & Answer Period Ends July 2, 2018; 3:00 PM EST
- Applications Due July 9, 2018; 3:00 PM EST
- Award(s) Announced By September 7, 2018

View this opportunity on Grants Gateway:


Environmental Justice Grant Sample Authorizing Resolution:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Rosa Mendez

Please email al Community Impact Grant questions to the Office of Environmental Justice at:

Specific questions about the prequalification process should be referred to your agency representative or to the Grants Reform Team at

NYSDEC Office of Environmental Justice
625 Broadway, 14th Floor
Albany, New York 12233-1500

Telephone: 518- 402-8556
Toll free: 1-866-229-0497

Grant Coverage Areas:

Maps of eligible regions by county:

Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York