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2021 Environmental Justice Small Grants: For Communities Living Near Port and Rail Facilities

EPA’s Ports Initiative is pleased to share news that funding is available for approximately six Environmental Justice Small Grant (EJSG) projects that address air quality issues at coastal and inland ports or rail yards. A maximum of $50,000 is available for each one-year project. This funding opportunity is part of a larger EJSG Request for Applications (RFA). Applications must be submitted by May 7, 2021. The EJSG Program, established in 1994, awards grants to projects designed to develop strategies that address local environmental and public health issues, build consensus in the community, and set community priorities.


Emissions from diesel equipment at ports disproportionately impact nearby communities that are often comprised of low-income populations and people of color. Since 2016, EPA’s Environmental Justice and Ports Initiative programs have partnered to support effective and meaningful engagement between communities, the port industry, and other port stakeholders to improve air quality and health outcomes for disadvantaged communities.


Applying organizations should have a direct connection to underserved communities impacted by environmental harms and risks. Community-driven projects include activities where community residents and/or representatives are integrally involved in the thinking behind and execution of those activities.

Eligible entities for this opportunity include:

  • Incorporated non-profit organizations,

  • Federally recognized tribal governments, and

  • Tribal and indigenous peoples organizations

EPA plans to fund projects that prepare community stakeholders to effectively engage with operators and other stakeholders of nearby port or rail facilities. This preparation is intended to help communities influence decision-making on operations and projects that may impact diesel engine emissions and related air quality. To be eligible for the Ports Initiative funding, EJSG applicants must include:

  • An explanation of community concerns related to diesel engine emissions from a port or rail facility; and

  • A description of how the project will prepare the community to engage with other port or rail facility stakeholders to address these concerns.

Contact GMA for grant writing assistance

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