Harlem’s WE ACT Receives $1 Million For Environmental Justice Capacity-Building Grant

WE ACT for Environmental Justice (WE ACT) in Harlem has been awarded a $1,000,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
The money is earmarked to help build administrative, technical, and programmatic capacity of grassroots and community-based organizations working to achieve environmental justice and sustainability in low-income communities, communities of color, or underserved communities across the state. WE ACT will use the funds for the development and administration of an environmental justice capacity-building grant program that will review, award, and administer competitive grants to qualified organizations. Nine-hundred thousand dollars of grants will be awarded to eligible groups throughout New York State’s nine DEC regions.

“We are proud to have been selected by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to administer these funds to environmental justice organizations throughout the state,” said Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder & Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “Governor Cuomo and the State clearly recognizes the need to invest in environmental justice capacity building to protect frontline communities, and WE ACT has been developing its capacity and expertise in regranting to organizations in its national coalition. This innovative philanthropic model reflects New York’s leadership in the way in which state resources are being directed to grassroots organizations.”

WE ACT has been working with New York State organizations and coalitions for more than 30 years, earning a reputation as a leader in the New York State environmental justice movement. The organization also has a deep understanding of the capacity building. Its advocacy helped create and progressively increase the State’s Environmental Protection Fund.

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“Achieving environmental justice for New Yorkers is a critical piece of Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading efforts to reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions, transition to clean energy sources, and protect the environment while bolstering the state’s economy,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. “WE ACT has an exemplary record of pursuing environmental justice and empowering residents to participate in environmental decision-making. I have complete confidence that in this new role WE ACT will support DEC’s ongoing efforts to help community-based organizations taking on environmental justice challenges.”

WE ACT will issue the request for proposal (RFP) for these grants in December 2019 and will provide additional details about the process at that time. The RFP will include opportunities for projects involving advocacy, professional development, technical development, operational and administrative development, and organizational development.

These grants, funded through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund, are in addition to the DEC’s existing Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant program, which it has been administering since 2006.

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WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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