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Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program

Grants to USA Nonprofits and Tribes to Address Environmental
and Health Challenges in Underserved Communities

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

02/16/18 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to USA and territories nonprofit organizations, tribal governments, and tribal organizations to address environmental and public health issues impacting underserved communities. Please note that registrations required to apply may take a month or more to complete.

The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program provides funding to support community-based organizations in their efforts to collaborate and partner with local stakeholder groups (e.g., local businesses and industry, local government, medical providers, and academia) as they develop and implement solutions that address environmental and/or public health issues for underserved communities. For purposes of this announcement, the term “underserved community” refers to a community with environmental justice concerns and/or vulnerable populations, including minority, low income, rural, tribal, and indigenous populations.

Eligible projects must demonstrate use of the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Model to support their collaborative efforts during the project period. Applying organizations should have a direct connection to the underserved community impacted by the environmental harms and risks detailed in the workplan.

The long-term goals of the EJCPS Program are to help build the capacity of communities with environmental justice concerns and to create self-sustaining, community-based partnerships that will continue to improve local environments in the future.

Special Consideration:

For the 2018 opportunity, the EJCPS program will give special consideration to high ranking proposals to be performed in rural areas as defined by the program. Rural areas, for the purposes of this competition, are defined as local areas with populations of 50,000 or less that have limited access to public or private resources commonly found in metropolitan areas. Applicants claiming rural status must provide sufficient detail (census data, population figures, descriptions of local resources, etc.) for EPA to validate the rural status of the underserved community. The goal of this special consideration is to encourage and increase project performance in rural areas in the EPA EJ Grants program.

Additionally, EPA will give special consideration to high ranking proposals submitted by eligible organizations that have not previously received an EJCPS award. This means that EPA may factor in an applicant’s award history with the EJCPS program when making final selections among high ranking proposals.

Definition of Environmental Justice:

EPA defines “environmental justice” as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment means that no one group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal environmental programs and policies.

Meaningful involvement means that: (1) potentially underserved community residents have an appropriate opportunity to participate in decisions about a proposed activity that will affect their environment and/or health; (2) the public’s contribution can influence the regulatory agency’s decision;(3)the concerns of all participants involved will be considered in the decision-making process; and (4) the decision-makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially underserved. An “underserved community”, for the purposes of this competition, refers to a community with environmental justice concerns and/or vulnerable populations, including minority, low income, rural, tribal, and indigenous populations that may be disproportionately impacted by environmental harms and risks and has a local environmental and/or public health issue that is identified in the applicant’s proposal.

Background and EJ Collaborative Problem-Solbing Model:

In 2003, the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) initiated the first solicitation for the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement Program.

The purpose of the EJCPS Program is for EPA to provide financial assistance to support community-based organizations to collaborate and partner with other stakeholders (e.g., local businesses and industry, local government, medical providers, academia, etc.) to develop and implement solutions that will significantly address environmental and/or public health issue(s) at the local level. The program’s objective is to support projects that demonstrate the utility of the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Model. Because this program requires substantial involvement and interaction between the applicant and EPA, these awards will be made in the form of cooperative agreements.

For the purposes of this EJCPS Program, collaborative problem-solving is defined as an effort to bring together groups and resources (e.g., information, labor, money) by three or more stakeholders to solve a set of problems that any single entity cannot solve individually. Collaborative problem- solving builds upon existing community understanding to establish and maintain partnerships capable of producing meaningful environmental and/or public health results. To provide a systematic approach towards collaborative problem-solving, OEJ has developed a Collaborative Problem-Solving Model (Model). Such a Model is intended to assist vulnerable and underserved communities in developing proactive, strategic, and visionary approaches to address their environmental justice issues and achieve community health and sustainability.

Collaborative problem-solving also involves developing and implementing a well-designed strategic plan with a built-in evaluation component to measure and achieve results on local environmental and/or public health issues and to sustain the partnerships. These elements are cross-cutting and interdependent and should be utilized in a proactive, strategic, and iterative manner. Determining which elements to undertake, and in what order, can vary greatly, however, depending upon the unique facts and circumstances surrounding each environmental and/or public health issue. Not all the elements are required to be used in every situation. Rather, the CPS Model and its seven elements can be viewed as a “tool box” filled with different tools that can be used as needed.

The seven elements are as follows:
1. Issue Identification, Visioning, and Strategic Goal-Setting;
2. Community Capacity-Building and Leadership Development;
3. Development of Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships and Leveraging of Resources;
4. Consensus Building and Dispute Resolution;
5. Constructive Engagement with Other Stakeholders;
6. Sound Management and Implementation; and
7. Evaluation

A key starting point for any collaborative problem-solving project is the identification of an environmental and/or public health issue and the community’s leadership in formulating goals (e.g., diesel reduction, lead abatement, reducing high incidence of asthma, land use changes, pollution prevention, implementation of fish advisories, hazardous waste, emissions reduction, risk reduction, community cleanups, or compliance with local environmental and/or public health regulations, etc.). Collaborative problem-solving involves the establishment and/or maintenance of partnerships between and among other stakeholders and the underserved community to address the community’s local environmental and/or public health issues.

These partnerships can include, but are not limited to the following stakeholder groups:
-Other local community-based nonprofit organizations;
-Local, regional, and national environmental nonprofit organizations;
-State, local, and tribal governments;
-Federal government agencies;
-Health care providers;
-Faith-based organizations and local churches;
-Philanthropic organizations;
-Civic organizations;
-Local economic and/or community development corporations/organizations; Educational institutions (e.g. schools, colleges, and universities);
-State, local and tribal government agencies;
-Local Businesses and Industry;
-Elected officials (you may not use Federal grant funds or cost-sharing funds to conduct lobbying activities); and
-Labor and professional organizations.

Qualified Environmental Statutes:

The EJCPS Program is designed to address multi-statute environmental and/or public health issues. For this reason, each project must include activities related to at least one of the following federal environmental statutes. Failure to clearly and conclusively identify and cite at least one of the federal statutes in your work plan will result in your project not being considered for award.

1. Clean Air Act, Section 103(b)(3): conduct research, investigations, experiments, demonstration projects, surveys, and studies (including monitoring) related to the causes, effects (including health and welfare effects), extent, prevention, and control of air pollution.

2. Clean Water Act, Section 104(b)(3): conduct and promote the coordination of research, investigations, training, demonstration projects, surveys, and studies (including monitoring) relating to the causes, effects, extent, prevention, reduction, and elimination of water pollution.

3. Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20(a): conduct research, development, monitoring, public education, training, demonstration projects, and studies on pesticides.

4. Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, Section 203: conduct research, investigations, experiments, training, demonstration projects, surveys, and studies relating to the minimizing or ending of ocean dumping of hazardous materials and the development of alternatives to ocean dumping.

5. Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442(b)(3): develop and expand the capability to carry out a program (that may combine training, education, and employment) for occupations relating to the public health aspects of providing safe drinking water.

6. Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001(a): conduct and promote the coordination of research, investigations, experiments, training, demonstration projects, surveys, public education programs, and studies relating to solid waste (e.g., health and welfare effects of exposure to materials present in solid waste and methods to eliminate such effects). Please note that proposals supporting brownfields work are not eligible for funding under this announcement.

7. Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10(a): conduct research, development, monitoring, public education, training, demonstration projects, and studies on toxic substances.

EPA Strategic Plan Linkage and Anticipated Outputs, Outcomes, and Performance Measures:

Pursuant to Section 6a of EPA Order 5700.7, “Environmental Results under EPA Assistance Agreements,” EPA must link proposed assistance agreements to the Agency’s Strategic Plan.

The activities to be funded under this announcement are intended to further EPA’s current priorities for:
1. Improving air quality to ensure more Americans are living and working in areas that meet high air quality standards
2. Ensuring clean and safe water by improving water infrastructure and supporting drinking water, aquatic ecosystems, and recreational, economic and subsistence activities
3. Cleaning up contaminated sites and returning land back to communities
4. Improving environmental protection through joint governance, state/tribal primacy efforts,
and compliance assistance
5. Increasing transparency, public participation, and collaboration with communities.

Applicants should explain in their proposal how their project will further at least one of the current priorities listed above.

EPA Order 5700.7 also requires that grant applicants adequately describe environmental outputs and outcomes to be achieved under assistance agreements. Applicants must include specific statements describing the environmental results of the proposed project in terms of well-defined outputs and, to the maximum extent practicable, well-defined outcomes that will demonstrate how the project will contribute to the goals and objectives described above.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 140174

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Ten awards will be made (one award per region).

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $120,000 per award

Term of Contract:

Funded assistance agreements will have a two-year project period. Applicants should plan for projects to start September 1, 2018.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Entities based on CFDA. In accordance with CFDA 66.306, an eligible applicant must be one of the following:
-Incorporated nonprofit organizations —including, but not limited to, environmental justice networks, faith based organizations and those affiliated with religious institutions;*
-Federally recognized tribal governments—including Alaska Native Villages; OR
-Tribal organizations

* Applicant organizations claiming nonprofit status must include documentation that shows the organization is either a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization as designated by the Internal Revenue Service; OR a nonprofit 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 (see Contracts and Subawards solicitation clause):
-Colleges and universities;
-State and local governments and their entities;
-Quasi-governmental entities (e.g., water districts, utilities)*;
-National organizations and chapters of the aforementioned organizations**;
-Nonprofit organizations supporting lobbying activities as defined in Section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.

* 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 announcement 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.

Qualified Environmental Statutes: Projects must include activities related to at least one of the Qualified Environmental Statutes listed under Section I.C. A project workplan must explain how it is tied to the local environmental and/or public health issue in the underserved community. Any failure to clearly and conclusively identify and cite at least one of the federal statutes in your work plan will result in your project not being considered for award.

Ineligible activities: Projects must not be used for the purposes of routine program implementation, implementation of routine environmental protection restoration measures, duplication of work performed under a prior EPA grant, or completion of work which was to have been completed under a prior EPA grant. If a proposal includes any ineligible tasks or prohibited activities, that portion of the proposal will be ineligible for funding and may, depending on the extent to which it affects the proposal, render the entire proposal ineligible for funding.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Applicants are invited to participate in conference calls with EPA to address questions about the EJCPS Program and this solicitation.

The following are the conference call dates and times:
-Wednesday, December 13, 2017 (EJSCREEN Tutorial for applicants), 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
-Thursday, January 11, 2018 (en Español), 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
-Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
-Thursday February 1, 2018, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Pre-Application Information:

Applicants must have partners from at least THREE different stakeholder groups as documented by at least THREE signed letters of commitment.

Proposal packages must be submitted through and must be submitted by 11:59 PM ET on February 16, 2018. Proposals received after the closing date and time will not be considered for funding.

Proposals submitted after the submission deadline will be considered late and deemed ineligible without further consideration unless the applicant can clearly demonstrate that it was late due to EPA mishandling or because of technical problems associated with or relevant system issues. An applicant’s failure to submit their proposal through because they did not timely or properly register in or will not be considered an acceptable reason to consider a late submission. DO NOT wait to register in or Finalizing these registrations could take a month or more. Register as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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Contact Information:

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

To attend the Pre-Application Assistance calls:
-Dial: 1-866-299-3188
-Code: 202-564-0152 when prompted

To attend the December 13 EJSCREEN Tutorial, register at:

Jacob Burney
(202) 564-2907

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)