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The Biden Administration has promised that 40% of all federal climate and clean energy investments will go to communities long burdened by pollution and underinvestment.

“So we’re talking about millions and millions of dollars that will now be appropriated to communities that have been disinvested in for a long time,” says Nathaniel Smith, founder and chief equity officer of the Partnership for Southern Equity.

He says this infusion of federal dollars could be transformative if it goes to the people and groups who need it most.

He says grants are often awarded to the same usual suspects: large, well-connected organizations.

Meanwhile, grassroots groups may not have grant-writing experience, extra bandwidth to devote to fundraising, or connections.

“So there are many, many barriers and challenges that historically organizations and businesses owned by people of color … have to deal with when they’re trying to get federal dollars,” Smith says.

So his organization has partnered on a project called the Justice40 Accelerator. It will provide training and support to local groups applying for funds.

Smith says it will help ensure that federal funds reach environmental justice organizations that are working on local solutions.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media