A historic amount of federal funding is being allocated to climate-resilient infrastructure with social equity in mind. The Justice40 Initiative, launched in 2021 via Executive Order, is an intentional, “whole-of-government effort to… deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from Federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.” It is a core part of the Administration’s strategy to achieve goals of racial, environmental, and economic justice.
The White House has shared a Path to Achieving Justice 40, which outlines “21 priority programs to immediately begin enhancing benefits for disadvantaged communities.” But enhancing federal programs is just the start of what is needed to achieve goals of racial, environmental, and economic justice. A new report from the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, Making Justice40 a Reality for Frontline Communities: Lessons From State Approaches to Climate and Clean Energy Investments lays out principles for resourcing frontline communities, achieving community-powered transformational change, and ensuring accountability while institutionalizing justice. Guided by advice from movement leaders, this report makes recommendations for operationalizing these three guiding principles by ensuring that: 1) under-resourced communities can access funding opportunities through strategic technical assistance, capacity building and partnership development support, 2) front-line communities have power and agency, both in Justice40 policy-level and local investment decision-making, and 3) Justice40 will be a catalyst to help institutionalize environmental, climate, racial, and economic justice not only into certain funding approaches but also into government practices, policies, and systems more broadly. Making Justice 40 goals a reality will not be easy. A coordinated and collaborative approach will be needed, and philanthropy will have a crucial role to play in helping governmental and community organizations within Southern California successfully obtain and administer these funds. At this upcoming convening, we’ll discuss what it will take to make our nation’s ambitious Justice40 agenda a reality in Southern California. We will explore the opportunities, barriers, and strategies needed to reduce environmental health disparities. And, we’ll learn from a set of local stakeholders working on developing a just economy and society for all in Southern California, with clear-eyed suggestions to funders who want to support a just transition.
This convening is part of a series of quarterly conversations hosted by the Southern California Grantmakers Environmental Funders Group. The convening will continue lifting up themes from previous SCG Environmental Funder Peer Group convenings, including our Bolstering the Green Workforce Ecosystem, Climate, Health and Equity in SoCal, Climate Resilience Investments in SoCal, Urban, Green Infrastructure Investments Under a New Administration.
The Southern California Grantmakers (SCG) Environmental Funders Group meets quarterly to educate prospective and current environmental funders about environmental challenges and opportunities in Southern California as well as foster collaboration and share successes and challenges. This convening concept was developed in partnership between members of the SCG Environmental Funders Steering Committee, SCG staff, and Ron Milam (who as a consultant, has helped organize these quarterly convenings for the last couple of years). We welcome your feedback, as this is a work in progress.
Please contact Katy Pelissier at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Co-Executive Director, UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation
President, Communities First
Deputy Director, Planning and Community Investment, California Strategic Growth Council
Director, Policy Accelerator, The Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund
Associate Director of Capacity Building, The Greenlining Institute