Great Lakes Partnership Selected as Regional Grantmaker in New EPA Program
Minneapolis Foundation and partners chosen to receive $50 million
Communities throughout six states will receive a major infusion of federal support for environmental justice projects over the next three years, thanks to a new program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is directing $50 million to a partnership serving the Great Lakes region.
Today the EPA announced that the Minneapolis Foundation, in partnership with the Midwest Environmental Justice Network (MWEJN), NDN Collective, and RE-AMP Network, has been selected as one of 11 grantmakers around the nation in its new Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking program. This EPA program aims to strengthen the capacity of underserved communities to address the environmental and public health challenges they have historically faced, as well as current and future challenges.
To reduce barriers to the federal grants application process, the EPA selected Regional Grantmakers across the nation to issue subgrants to community-based nonprofits and other eligible organizations, with each grantmaker designing and implementing a grant distribution program best suited to communities in their region. The Minneapolis Foundation and its partners have been chosen to issue subgrants in Region 5 of the EPA, an area that includes Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and 35 federally recognized tribal nations.
“This funding will strengthen the ability of communities throughout the Great Lakes region to think locally but act globally, delivering large-scale federal resources to scores of organizations and individuals who together are building the movement for climate justice.” — R.T. Rybak, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation.
In the coming months, the partners will finalize the grantmaking guidelines and process, which will center those most impacted by environmental injustice in the decision-making for this program.
“Our communities must be at the center of climate and environmental solutions,” said Eartha Borer-Bell, Director of MWEJN. “We are committed to creating a grantmaking process that is accountable to environmental justice communities and that will build the long-term capacity of grassroots organizations to address priority public health and environmental challenges.”
Grants—both small and large—will be made to address local environmental and public health issues in underserved communities. The partnership aims to distribute 30% of grant funding through this program to Indigenous communities, 25% to rural and 45% to urban areas.
“We are honored to work with our partners on all aspects of this program, and to ensure that Tribes and Indigenous communities across rural, remote, and urban areas can use this funding to pursue and lead the environmental justice projects that matter to them,” said Nick Tilsen, President & CEO of NDN Collective.
“This project provides an unparalleled opportunity to bring resources and attention to environmental injustices in rural communities, which are too often overlooked,” said Melissa Gavin, CEO of RE-AMP. “RE-AMP is honored to join this partnership and lead the outreach to rural and remote environmental justice communities in our region.”
Over the next three years, subgrants will be distributed to community-based nonprofits and other eligible organizations in these three concurrent tiers:
- Tier One: Grants for $150,000 for assessment.
- Tier Two: Grants for $250,000 for planning.
- Tier Three: Grants for $350,000 for project development.
In addition, grants of up to $75,000 will be available for capacity-constrained communities and community-based organizations through a noncompetitive process under Tier One.
It will take several months for the partnership to finalize its contract with the EPA and develop a grantmaking process and guidelines. More information about the grants will be announced in 2024. For news and updates, please continue to check the Minneapolis Foundation’s website. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about the partners:
The Minneapolis Foundation drives collective action to realize strong, vibrant communities. It cultivates generosity by taking action on the greatest civic, social, and economic needs—partnering with nonprofits, facilitating grantmaking, driving research and advocacy, and providing services to donors seeking to make a difference in their communities. The Foundation’s work as a Regional Grantmaker in this EPA program reflects its commitment to investing in community-led solutions, empowering those who are most affected by society’s challenges and viewing all its work through an equity lens. The Foundation has a long track record of investing in climate justice, including support for RE-AMP and the Environmental Justice Coalition, a partnership with the McKnight Foundation and City of Minneapolis on the Climate Action and Racial Equity Fund, and the recent Climate Re:Action series. www.mplsfoundation.org
The Midwest Environmental Justice Network (MWEJN) works to connect and strengthen frontline and grassroots organizations to achieve environmental justice in the Midwest. Led by and accountable to environmental justice organizations, the Network seeks to increase the capacity and impact of environmental justice leaders and organizations based in the tribal nations and following Midwestern states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. www.mwejn.org
NDN Collective is a national organization that creates sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms. The organization brings critical and deep experience in building the collective power of Indigenous peoples, communities, and Nations to exercise the inherent right to self-determination, while fostering a world that is built on a foundation of justice and equity for all people and the planet. https://ndncollective.org/
RE-AMP seeks to equitably eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the Midwest by 2050. The Network works with organizations across nine states: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. As a network, RE-AMP combines the strategy of taking a systems approach with the power of working and acting in collaboration with organizations who know their communities best. The RE-AMP Network has done extensive work building capacity and funding efforts in rural Midwestern communities on clean energy, air and water quality, and energy efficiency. RE-AMP believes strategy and solutions should be set for the Midwest by Midwesterners, and as a Midwest climate network, it is rooted in, and reflects, the Midwest. https://www.reamp.org/
Press Contact: Sarah Lemagie, email@example.com, 612-672-3877