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Environmental Justice Grant Frequently Asked Questions

For answers to questions not listed here, please see the Information for Applicants or Application Instructions pages, or contact the DEC Office of Environmental Justice at 518-402-8556, toll free in New York State at 1-866-229-0497, or by e-mail.

To be eligible for an Environmental Justice Community Impact Research Grant (EJ Grant), what is the largest geographic area that an applicant organization can serve?

To be eligible for an EJ Grant, an organization must serve a specific local community, defined as the human residents of an area equal to or smaller than a town or or city (outside of New York City) or one of the five boroughs of New York City. An eligible EJ Grant project must be located within the community served by the applicant organization.

Can a county-wide organization (such as a cooperative extension) or state-wide organization be eligible for an EJ Grant?

No, but a county-wide or state-wide organization may partner with an eligible organization. These grants are intended for local community-based organizations whose members primarily reside within the communities that will benefit from the grant projects. There are two ways that a county-wide or state-wide organization can be involved in a project that receives funding through an EJ Grant: (1) if the county- or state-wide organization is not-for-profit, the organization can act as a fiscal agent for an applicant that has not yet received not-for-profit status; or (2) the county- or state-wide organization can be a project partner or subcontractor for an applicant that receives an EJ Grant.

My organization does not have members, but we serve the residents of a local community. Is my organization eligible to apply for an EJ Grant?

Yes. The requirement that 50% of the applicant organization's members reside in the community that will benefit from the project can also be met if at least 50% of the residents served by the applicant organization reside in the community that will benefit from the funded project.

Can a Community Development Corporation or Local Development Corporation be an eligible applicant?

A community development corporation or local development corporation can be an eligible applicant if it is not merely a non-profit arm of a local government; the development corporation must have an executive board that is separate from the municipal government and carry out functions independently of the government. The development corporation must also meet the other applicant eligibility criteria, e.g. it must be a not-for-profit corporation that serves an area no larger than a town or city outside New York City, or a single borough in New York City.

Can a not-for-profit organization with tax exempt status other than 501(c)(3) be a sole applicant or a fiscal sponsor?

No. The sole applicant or fiscal sponsor (if applicable) must have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Organizations with other types of tax-exempt status, such as 501(c)(4), are not eligible to apply for an EJ Grant without a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.

Can EJ Grant funding be used for an ongoing research and public education project?

Yes, an EJ Grant can be used for an ongoing project as long as the money is used to cover eligible expenses, as described in the EJ Grant Application Instructions.

Can a college or university act as a fiscal agent for a community organization applying for an EJ Grant?

No. Colleges, universities and other educational institutions are not eligible to apply for an EJ Grant, either as a potential recipient or as a fiscal agent for another applicant. However, they may provide technical assistance to grant applicants.

Can an EJ Grant pay for a graduate student stipend?

A graduate student's university stipend cannot come from an EJ Grant, because a university cannot be a recipient of these funds. However, a graduate student can receive a contract fee from a community non-profit organization that has been awarded an EJ Grant.

Can the person designated by the applicant organization as the Authorized Official also sign the Authorizing Resolution?

No, an officer of the applicant organization who is not the Authorized Official must sign the Authorizing Resolution.

Once an organization is awarded an EJ Grant, how long will it take for the recipient to receive its first EJ Grant payment?

The process of signing and executing the State Assistance Contract and processing the first payment takes approximately three to four months from the date that the grant awards are announced. The EJ Grant recipient must plan for this time when scheduling project expenses.

Can an EJ Grant recipient receive the first two advance payments at the same time?

No. The first advance payment will be received with the State Assistance Contract upon the awarding of the grant. The second EJ Grant advance payment will be sent to the recipient after the Office of Environmental Justice has received and approved the expense report from the first advance payment.

If my organization's community garden project receives funding from an EJ Grant, can the produce be sold locally?

Yes, so long as the produce is sold to the local community and the proceeds from the sale are used as additional funding for the project covered by the grant. The organization receiving the EJ Grant funding cannot make a profit from the sale of the produce or other products paid for by this grant.