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HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 20, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University was selected as one of the eleven “Grantmakers” under its $600 million Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking (EJ TCGM) program, created by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the largest investment in climate action in history. “I am happy to say Texas Southern University is the HBCU that served as the ‘launching pad’ for my environmental justice career way back in 1979—before EJ had a name or initials.” And today, 44 years later, TSU was selected to serve as a Regional Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaker,” says Center director and professor Dr. Robert D. Bullard, who is often referred to as the “father of environmental justice.”
The Center will work closely with its community-based organization partner, Achieving Community Tasks Successfully (ACTS), led by Ms. Bridgette Murray focused on engaging, educating, and empowering communities impacted by industrial sources of pollution. "ACTS is honored to serve as a partner for the Bullard Center. Our success as a CBO is a result of the mentorship of the HBCU-CBO Gulf Coast Equity Consortium and the Houston Data to Action Project, which provided both technical and financial assistance. It is our desire to assist other nonprofit organizations in the environmental justice space to lead mitigation efforts in their own communities. It is our belief this award will assist other communities to thrive in their desire to improve their own quality of life and health, states Murray, a native Houstonian.”
ACTS has been a long-time collaborative partner of the Bullard Center as a member of the HBCU-CBO Gulf Coast Equity Consortium and the Houston Data to Action Project. “The Bullard Center is proud of our decades-long relationships with HBCU-CBO partnerships that make us uniquely positioned to successfully carryout the grantmaking work in the region. We are committed to ensuring that 80% of this grant funding will be awarded to organizations committed to understanding and addressing environmental justice concerns in some of the most vulnerable communities,” says Dr. Denae King, associate director of the Bullard Center.
The Bullard Center will also work with the EPA Region 6 EJ Thriving Communities Technical Assistance (TCTAC), South Central Environmental Justice Resource Center at New Mexico State University, HBCU-CBO Consortia and the National Black Environmental Justice Network to maximize the impact of these combined environmental justice funds—and ensure the resources follow the needs of disadvantaged communities and organizations that historically have been left out and left behind.
This new Grantmakers Program is designed to make it easier for small community-based organizations to access subgrant funding by reducing obstacles and barriers. “Our plan includes streamlining grant application and submission procedures, providing resources and technical assistance, improving the efficiency of the awards process, building in a more diverse pool of reviewers, and adopting a transparent tracking and reporting system, with the goal of ensuring communities that have long faced underinvestment can access the benefits of the IRA,” says Bullard.
The Grantmakers Program has tremendous potential to deliver on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative whose goal is to ensure 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. Communities will be able to apply to the TSU Grantmakers Program for subgrants to fund a range of different environmental project activities, including (but not limited to) small local clean ups, local emergency preparedness and disaster resiliency programs, environmental workforce development programs for local jobs reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fence-line air quality and asthma related projects, healthy homes programs, and projects addressing illegal dumping and a host of other environmental areas.
For more information on the EPA Grantmakers Program, click HERE.
About the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice
The Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University was launched in 2021 to address long standing issues of systemic inequality and structural racism that cause disproportionate pain, suffering and death in Black and other people of color communities. The Bullard Center works to promote environmental, climate, economic, energy, transportation, food and water and health justice. Texas Southern University is a student-centered comprehensive doctoral university committed to ensuring equality, offering innovative programs that are responsive to its urban setting, and transforming diverse students into lifelong learners, engaged citizens, and creative leaders in their local, national, and global communities.
Achieving Community Tasks Successfully (ACTS)
Achieving Community Tasks Successfully dba ACTS has been engaged in community level mitigation efforts from historical inequality and structural racism since 2013. Environmental and climate justice concerns are sometimes slow to be recognized and even harder to correct. ACTS has been working in communities overburdened by recurring flooding and air pollution from freeways, industrial and other sources to correct community concerns. Providing resources such as food distribution, disaster preparedness and equitable recovery, COVID vaccinations, and permitting advocacy remain a major component of ACTS community efforts. Advocacy on behalf of residents that includes citizen-science is essential to ACTS work to enhance the quality of life for impacted communities.