The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights (OEJECR) is now accepting applications for its new Community Change Grants program. The program has approximately $2 billion in funding to support community-driven projects that deploy clean energy, strengthen climate resilience, and build capacity for communities to tackle environmental and climate justice challenges.

The EPA Community Change Grants program is the single largest investment in environmental justice going directly to communities in history and will advance collaborative efforts to achieve a healthier, safer, and more prosperous future for all. It will deliver 100 percent of the benefits of this project to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by air pollution. This program also dedicates $200 million of Inflation Reduction Act funding to provide technical assistance to applicants and grant recipients, which will enhance the ability of disadvantaged communities to access resources for environmental and climate justice activities. Applicants can learn more about the technical assistance on EPA’s Community Change Grants Technical Assistance webpage.

The Community Change Grants Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) has several unique characteristics to advance environmental and climate justice, many of which are responsive to feedback and input the agency has heard from communities. Review the full NOFO to learn more.

The NOFO will be open for a year, closing on November 21, 2024, and the EPA will review applications on a rolling basis. This allows applicants to utilize technical assistance and possibly resubmit a new application if not initially selected. EPA encourages applicants to apply as early as possible.

Project types

This program includes a wide array of possible project types and climate actions. Eligible project activities associated with the Mobility and Transportation Options for Preventing Air Pollution and Improving Public Health and Climate Resilience Climate Action Strategy align most closely with our Clean Air Team’s work and expertise. This strategy focuses on providing community members with access to low- and zero-emission technologies to improve their overall health and well-being, reduce emissions, and increase access to important community destinations such as schools, workplaces, healthcare centers, and community spaces.

Projects funded under this strategy may include installing protected bike lanes or walking paths, supplying traditional or electric bikes to community members, and deploying other low- or zero-emission transportation solutions. The impact of such projects could include improved public health outcomes, reduced GHG emissions from the transportation sector, more equitable access to community resources, increased community connectivity and safety, and greater community resilience to extreme weather events.

Transportation project examples

Projects related to the mobility and transportation options strategy could include but are not limited to the following examples from the NOFO:

  • Construct new, expanded, or enhanced bikeways, walkways, or non-motorized urban trails that reduce vehicle miles traveled and related air pollution by providing safe routes for zero-emission travel between residences, workplaces, commercial and community centers, and schools.
  • Implement “Complete Streets” projects to improve walkability, bike-ability, and transit use, including improved access for people with disabilities. Projects to improve walkability, bikeability, and transit use, including improved access for people with disabilities that reduce vehicle miles traveled and related air pollution.
  • Conduct the measurement, analysis, design, planning, and engineering work necessary to submit a competitive application for state and/or federal funding that will fund large-scale improvements (larger than this competition is able to fund) to significantly reduce a community’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and/or improve climate resilience.
  • Purchase, lease, or contract for the use of zero-emission vehicles for community car sharing, vanpooling, ride-sharing, and related mobility options.
  • Purchase, construct, and/or install infrastructure, equipment, or facilities to create and/or support low or zero-emission transportation options.

Our team would be happy to discuss project ideas for the Community Change Grants; please contact us with questions.