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Justice Climate Fund Applies for EPA Grants to Benefit Low-Income Communities Most Impacted by Climate Change

Oct 12, 2023

Communities-First Coalition Well-Positioned to Mobilize Capital to Deliver on EPA Goals

(Washington, DC/October 12, 2023)—The Justice Climate Fund (JCF), a nonprofit that represents a broad coalition of diverse communities of color, submitted today its application to ensure those who have been left behind and are most impacted by climate change benefit from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Clean Investment Fund (NCIF) competitive grant program, which is part of the EPA Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund framework. A broad spectrum of individuals, community leaders and organizations who work every day to empower the most vulnerable supported the JCF application.

Under the NCIF program, the EPA will award up to $14 billion to support initiatives like the one proposed by JCF to reduce pollution by increasing investment in smaller scale renewable energy, clean transportation, and energy smart buildings, while creating jobs and growing local businesses, particularly in disadvantaged communities who can be the nucleus of change.

With its communities-first approach and support from ImpactAssets, a major nonprofit impact investing firm, as well as green banks that specialize in financing green technologies, the JCF is well positioned to reliably deploy intentional and coordinated investments that will lower carbon emissions and strengthen the country’s climate resilience at the community level.

Additionally, the JCF coalition brings decades of collective experience and billions of dollars in delivering a wide range of improved outcomes for communities of color in low-income regions across the country–from affordable housing, improved health and cleaner transportation to lower energy costs and economic growth.

“There’s no trade-off between reducing emissions and lifting up communities,” said Douglass Sims, JCF interim Chief Executive Officer. “The JCF brings together the whole ecosystem of players necessary to deploy capital into clean energy, clean transportation, clean buildings, and beyond. Our coalition touches the entire country from rural, suburban and urban areas. We can bring solutions to communities from as small as replacing a gas boiler with a heat pump in a single-family home to building new multifamily affordable housing or large-scale community solar panel systems. With EPA funding, we will bring good-paying jobs, investment and climate resilience to every community.”

Mr. Sims added that JCF will leverage private capital and investments to fuel the growth of the permanent single fund for generations to come. “Our strategy will not only ensure that those most impacted directly benefit from the EPA grant program but that these communities are empowered to help build a greening economy over the short-, medium-, and long-terms,” Sims said.

“We are determined that no one is left behind. People of color, including Latinos, have shouldered much of the burdens that come with living in our most environmentally vulnerable states,” said Marla Bilonick, Vice Chair of JCF and President and CEO of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders. “Working together we strengthen our communities. They are our first line of defense in safeguarding the future of our neighborhoods and the planet.”

JCF is founded by the Community Builders of Color Coalition and its Board includes the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, Inclusiv, National Bankers Association, Oweesta Corporation, Opportunity Finance Network, Partners for the Common Good and Community Development Bankers Association,ImpactAssets, the Housing Partnership Network, and the Connecticut Green Bank.

"Today marks a transformative moment not just for climate justice, but for the very fabric of our communities. For decades, BIPOC-led organizations have been fighting for equity and justice in underserved communities. This application to the EPA is more than just a grant proposal; it's a call-to-action, a rallying cry, a testament to decades of advocacy and a declaration that these communities matter,” said Lenwood V. Long, Sr, Board Chair of JCF and President and CEO of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs. “Through the JCF, we aim not merely to respond to climate challenges but to champion our collective right to a greener, more equitable future, irrespective of one's zip code.”

The JCF is also applying to the EPA’s Clean Communities Investment Accelerator (CCIA) program, which will award up to $6 billion to hub non-profits. The program will deploy seed capital to strengthen the capacity of nonprofit lenders to manage environmental projects. The JCF CCIA application will be closely coordinated with separate applications being submitted by Inclusiv, which has a network of 481 community credit unions, and OFN, which represents 406 community development financial institutions.

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About JCF

The Justice Climate Fund is a nonprofit that provides capital, leverages resources and supports zero-emission technologies in underserved communities across the country. JCF is founded by the Community Builders of Color Coalition. It is steered by a Board that includes the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, Inclusiv, National Bankers Association, Oweesta Corporation, Opportunity Finance Network, Partners for the Common Good and Community Development Bankers Association, ImpactAssets, the Housing Partnership Network and Connecticut Green Bank. They have come together to ensure that all communities equitably benefit from the GGRF. See www.justiceclimatefund.org.

Press Contact

press@justiceclimatefund.org

(202) 987-3770