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News Releases from Region 04

EPA Awards $60,000 to Organizations in Georgia and North Carolina for 2020 Environmental Justice Small Grants

Agency selects 12 organizations to receive $360,000 nationwide

Contact Information: 
Jason McDonald (
404-562-9203, 404-562-8400

ATLANTA (June 29, 2020) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced 12 organizations will receive a total of $360,000 to help address environmental justice issues in their communities. Metro Community Ministries in College Park, GA and Sustain Charlotte in Charlotte, NC will each receive $30,000 in grant funds. The organizations announced today were selected from the large pool of applicants in 2019. This funding is in addition to 50 organizations awarded $1.5 million in grants nationwide in November 2019.

“Regardless of zip code, the EPA works day in and day out to provide clean air, clean water, and clean land to all Americans,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These grants further the Trump Administration’s commitment to support low-income and minority communities, providing critical infrastructure to areas with environmental justice concerns.”

“Small grants such as these aid local efforts to raise awareness and bring about action to help mitigate challenges to healthy air, water, and land environmental justice communities face daily,” said Mary S. Walker, EPA Region 4 Administrator.

Seven of the 12 grants selected, or almost 60%, will support communities with census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones – an economically-distressed community where new investment may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Most often, those who reside near these sites are low-income, minority, and disadvantaged Americans. By focusing resources on these areas, we can multiply the impact of the tax incentive and attract even more economic development to these areas.

Metro Community Ministries will use the funding for the Healthy Communities, Healthy Minds (HCHM) project. This project will conduct public education through youth presentations targeting community organizations, schools and other community groups. Metro and its partners will collaboratively identify 15 youths to serve as Youth Advocates. Youth Advocates will participate in continuous monthly education seminars and distribute water testing kits with their presentations, available free of charge, and will be certified as Hazwoper Technicians at the end of the contract period.

“Metro Community Ministries Inc. is pleased to work with Environmental Justice to provide services to the Metro Atlanta region, providing water safety education to communities that have the highest impact of poverty and crime,” said Lorna M. Pallares, Chief Operations Officer. “Based on historical information, communities with highest levels of poverty seem to have higher levels of impact of environmental factors.” 

Sustain Charlotte will fund the Community-based Education on Smart Growth for a Healthier Charlotte project with the grant. This community-driven project engages residents of Charlotte’s North End neighborhoods to learn about the health impacts of air pollution and the impact of transportation choices on both environmental and public health. Information about how more sustainable choices can be made will be transferred through a series of six educational workshops, a Community Transportation Fair, and a community visioning session to identify resident-chosen locations in need of improved connections for bicycle and pedestrian access so that unnecessary car travel can be avoided. 

"The Charlotte metro area is experiencing rapid population growth, which means more people are moving to the area and bringing their cars. Even as vehicles become more fuel-efficient, the area is facing ongoing challenges to keep ground-level ozone within the health-based federal standard,” said Meg Fencil, Program Director. “This grant will allow Sustain Charlotte to build partnerships with residents in neighborhoods historically impacted by poor air quality and other environmental justice challenges. We will work together to support better health outcomes by encouraging active and sustainable transportation choices like walking, biking, and public transit instead of driving alone."

EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants program provides critical support to organizations that otherwise lack the funding and resources to address environmental challenges in underserved and overburdened communities. The following organizations will receive grants:

  • Groundwork Lawrence, Lawrence, MA
  • Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
  • Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Philadelphia, PA
  • Metro Community Ministries, College Park, GA
  • Sustain Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
  • Heartland Communities, Inc., Fort Wayne, IN
  • The IPM Institute of North America, Milwaukee, WI
  • Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, Albuquerque, NM
  • Taos Valley Acequia Association, Taos, NM
  • Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego, CA
  • Rural Community Assistance Corporation, Yurok Indian Reservation, CA
  • One Step A La Vez, Santa Clara River Valley, CA

The grants will enable these organizations to conduct research, provide education and training, and grants will enable these organizations to conduct research, provide education and training, and develop community-driven solutions to local health and environmental issues in minority, low-income, tribal, and rural communities.

This month, as part of its 50th anniversary commemoration, EPA is highlighting some of the key state, tribal, international, non-profit, and private sector partnerships that have helped our nation further its progress toward cleaner air, water, and land. As one example, EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice coordinates with multiple partners that include federal and local government, business and industry, and academia to help improve environmental and public health conditions of low-income and minority communities.

For more information on the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, including descriptions of previously funded grants:

For more information on additional winners, please visit:

For more information on the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, including descriptions of previously funded grants:  


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