CEH Justice Fund

The 2017 grant cycle has closed. Please check back spring 2018

BACKGROUND: The Center for Environmental Health is an Oakland-based nonprofit organization that helps protect the public from toxic chemicals. As an important part of our work, we file public interest lawsuits against corporate polluters who endanger the health of children, families, and communities in California. Our cases have:

  • stopped a central dry cleaning repository from exposing workers and residents of a low- income neighborhood to cancer-causing chemicals;
  • forced companies to remove lead from candy, baby powder, and jewelry; and
  • led to industry changes that are protecting public health throughout California and beyond.

For other success stories and more information, please click here.

Our victories in these lawsuits sometimes force polluters to pay settlements to our organization. We set aside part of these settlement funds to provide small grants to grassroots community-based organizations that serve and are led by low-income people, people of color, Indigenous peoples, and residents of disproportionately affected communities in California.

The Center for Environmental Health makes these donations through an annual grant cycle titled “Community Environmental Action and Justice Fund” (referred to as the Justice Fund). The amount of money available for Justice Fund grants varies from year to year, depending on the success of our lawsuits and the amount of the settlement awards.

The majority of Justice Fund grants will range in size from $250 – $5,000. In 2016, we received applications from 27 organizations and made 21 grants totaling $80,000. To date since 2002, we have made over 115 grants totaling about $610,000 to fund critical environmental justice work across California.

ELIGIBILITY: Grants are awarded to 501(c)(3) organizations (or projects fiscally sponsored by 501(c)(3) organizations) working in pursuit of environmental justice and community empowerment in California. The Justice Fund Committee will only consider applications from California, grassroots, community-based environmental justice groups with annual budgets of less than $500,000. The Committee usually does not fund local chapters of larger organizations. Groups that have been funded for more than four years may be considered only for smaller grant amounts.

Most grants will be for specific campaigns, projects, or activities, such as attendance at conferences and trainings, strategic planning, producing outreach materials, or providing internship stipends. However, the Justice Fund will also consider applications for general operating support, emergency assistance, and for filling small gaps in organizations’ budgets. Grants will not be made to government agencies or to support religious activities or lobbying. Grants will only be made to groups led by and serving low-income communities in the state of California in support of environmental justice efforts.

Note: Successful grant applications will show how your organization’s values align with ours and, as specifically as possible, how the award will directly support a project or program that addresses environmental justice. If you are applying for funds to support a project/program on economic, food, or transportation justice, please be as explicit as possible in describing how these issues directly affect environmental justice in the communities your organization is working in.

We cannot consider incomplete applications, so please submit your completed application, including your 501(c)(3) letter or that of your fiscal sponsor, and all other attachments requested below by the April 14, 2017 deadline.

IMPORTANT: We will send emails to confirm receipt of your application. If you do not receive a confirmation email within one week of submitting your application, this means we have NOT received your application.

If you have questions about the application, the process, or do not receive a confirmation email, please contact Laura Szabados at (510) 655-3900 extension 323 and lszabados@ceh.org.

APPLICATION REVIEW PROCESS & TIMELINE: Completed applications must be received by April 14th, 2017. A committee of CEH’s current and past board members and non-profit community leaders reviews applications to the Justice Fund. The committee will meet in May or June to review applications and determine funding decisions. CEH staff or board members may contact applicants for further information to inform the decision-making process. Applicants will be notified and grant checks posted by the end of June.

To allow us to respond to unanticipated and timely needs, the Justice Fund also makes occasional awards outside this schedule. If your organization would like to apply for emergency, off-cycle funding, please contact Laura Szabados ((510) 655-3900 extension 323 and lszabados@ceh.org) to explore eligibility.

EVALUATION: The Center for Environmental Health’s board and staff aspire to provide effective support to communities disproportionately affected by chemical pollution. We also seek to create meaningful alliances and partnerships with the leaders and organizations that work in affected communities.

To help us pursue these goals, we ask that grantees complete a brief, one- to two-paragraph evaluation after the grant year has been completed. If you wish to apply for a new grant during your current grant cycle, please complete your evaluation form early and submit it with your new application. Photographs that show your work or your staff in action are particularly appreciated as part of your report.

CEH JF Feedback Form (MS Word)

CEH JF Feedback Form (PDF)