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FAQ: Environmental Justice Impact Grants

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Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

FAQ: Environmental Justice Impact Grants

The Michigan Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate in the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) offers the Environmental Justice (EJ) Impact Grant program to reduce environmental health burdens and impacts in Michigan’s Environmental Justice communities.

The goal of the program is to positively impact residents in Environmental Justice communities by funding place-based and equity-focused projects.

Eligible applicants

  • These eligible applicants are listed on page one of the MI EJ Impact Grant Program Guide:

    • Federally recognized Tribes.
    • Community-Based Non-Profit Organizations, including:
      • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.
      • Grassroots/frontline organizations receiving fiscal sponsorship from 501(c)(3) organizations with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) demonstrating commitment: fiscal sponsor will sign grant agreement and be accountable for reporting, project completion, etc.).
    • Schools.
      • Licensed childcare facilities
      • Adult day care facilities.
      • PreK-12 schools.
      • School districts, including intermediate school districts.
      • Other state/federally funded adult education facilities.
    • Institutions of higher education.
    • Local governments.

    The following are examples of eligible applicants:

    • Tribal government agencies.
    • Development and other local authorities, such as:
      1. Land banks.
      2. Transportation authorities.
      3. Regional planning authorities.
      4. Brownfield redevelopment authorities.
      5. Economic development authorities.
      6. Public libraries.
      7. Schools, including Local Education Agencies (LEAs), Public School Academies (PSAs), and Intermediate School Districts (ISDs).
      8. County or regional health departments.
      9. Public or municipal utilities.
    • Community Action Agencies.
    • Non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) status (including organizations acting as fiscal sponsors for smaller or unincorporated organizations).
    • Licensed child-care facilities.
    • Township, municipal, or county government agencies.

    Examples of ineligible applicants:

    • Tax exempt entities that are not 501(c)(3).
    • Non-licensed childcare providers.
    • Entities located outside of Michigan.
  • Businesses that operate schools or licensed child-care facilities can apply for a Michigan Environmental Justice Impact Grant.

Application process

  • Applications for the Michigan Environmental Justice Impact Grant program must be submitted by email by 11:59 p.m. on July 15.

  • All applicants should attempt to use the budget template.  If the budget template does not support an accurate reflection of your project’s budget, you may choose to use the alternative budget worksheet provided below.  The only difference in the alternative budget worksheet is protections have been removed so applicants can edit as needed. 

    Caveats for using the alternative budget worksheet:

    • Only use the alternative budget worksheet if you have moderate comfort with Excel, including Excel formulas. Use of this worksheet has a higher chance for error than use of the original budget template since protections have been removed.
    • Make sure to carry over formulas for any added rows or columns as appropriate.
    • Take care to keep all budget category names unaltered, and do not add any subcategories. These are mandatory categories for EGLE grants.
    • Explain your reasoning for using the alternative budget worksheet within your budget narrative.

    Alternative budget worksheet (Excel file)

  • Email the required documents as attachments and any additional attachments to EGLE-CentralGrants@Michigan.gov

  • Responses to answers to all relevant questions for Workplan Sections 1-5. See MI EJ Impact Grant Program Guide pages 6-10. There are no limits on length for the individual sections.

    • References or citations: please use numeral references and list sources in a bibliography in an attachment.
    • Required attachments and templates.
      • MiEJScreen report.
      • Timeline template.
      • Budget template.
    • Additional attachments:
      • Letters of support (optional).
      • Additional environmental justice screening tool maps or visualizations (optional).
      • Additional documents such as photos, media stories, etc. (optional)
  • Yes.

    However, any one applicant can only be awarded up to $500,000 in EJ Impact Grant funds.

  • EGLE does not require a resolution to be passed.

    Any requirement to pass a resolution, and the stage in the process at which a resolution would be required, would be based on the applicant entity’s governance (charter, bylaws, etc.).  Similar internal governance process requirements also may apply to non-profit applicants. 

  • No match funding is required.

  • Yes. Letters of support should be attached and submitted with your application submission email. 

     

    Letters of support should be addressed to:

    Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate
    Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

     

    *Please do not mail letters via postal service – mailed letters may not be received in time for consideration. 
  • Download a new copy of the Application Form (EQP1130) (revised July 2024)

    An updated version of the form ensures that applicants can include up to 250 words in Brief Project Summary field.  The correct version has a revised date in the document footer of 7/2024.

Partnerships and contractors

  • Partners are not required for this grant, and there are no specific requirements for partnership structures.

    EGLE is unable to support applicants in identifying partners or match-making.

  • Any eligible applicants can also be partners for your EJ Impact Grant project. 

  • For purchases under $5,000, no bid process is required.

    Purchases over $5,000 require at least three valid quotes, and purchases over $50,000 require a publicly-posted competitive bid or request for proposals (RFP) process.

Project fit and project categories

  • Please apply! We encourage all applicants who understand their projects to align with the project categories and program purpose to apply, and in the project workplan to connect their project to expected category-aligned outcomes from project activities. 

  • Category A: 

    • Green infrastructure to reduce flooding in an environmental justice community.
    • Vegetative buffers to reduce exposure to air pollution in an environmental justice community.
    • Filtration to improve indoor air quality for homes in an environmental justice community.
    • Lead remediation for homes in an environmental justice community.
    • Pilot water affordability program in an environmental justice community.

    Category B:

    • Purchase and installation of non-regulatory outdoor air quality sensors (for example, PurpleAir devices) in an environmental justice community.
    • Training and wages for personnel to do device installation, data collection, or data analysis for monitoring of background levels of pollution.

    Category C: 

    Purchase, installation, expansion, improvement, repair, or routine maintenance of:

    • air filtration systems,
    • heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) systems,
    • ventilation improvements,
    • ducting,
    • moisture control,
    • increased use of low-emitting materials,
    • radon testing/mitigation,
    • vapor intrusion testing/mitigation,
    • indoor plants or nature-based indoor air quality solutions, and/or
    • other projects designed to improve the indoor air quality within school or day care facilities.

    Category D: 

    • Clean-up of blighted sites and contaminated properties.
    • Remediation and demolition, including asbestos removal or lead abatement.
    • Purchase of a blighted or contaminated property for remediation and/or redevelopment.
  • Yes.

    Be sure to answer all the questions in the MI EJ Impact Grants Program Guide under Workplan Section 3: Project Activities, Deliverables, and Target Dates for every category that applies to your project proposal.

    For example, if your project work involves a community improvement project designed to improve public health and redevelopment of blighted sites, be sure to answer all questions for Category A and Category D.

  • It depends on how these activities are incorporated into the project being proposed. Application reviewers will look at how clearly the proposal describes the link between these activities and the expected outcomes, and how well those outcomes align with the goals of the project category.

    For example, a hypothetical Category D project including outreach around the health impacts of contamination as a smaller component with most funds going toward contamination remediation costs would probably align fairly well.

    In contrast, a hypothetical Category A project that is primarily designed to fund a general environmental education program that has potential to indirectly improve public health would probably align less well.

Focus communities for funding

  • These grants are intended to fund projects in communities with environmental justice concerns, including those that self-identify as environmental justice communities. 

    Applicants should describe the environmental justice concerns in the community that the project is designed to impact. This description should include narrative responses to questions in Workplan Section 2: Linkage to Impacted Community (MI EJ Impact Grants Program Guide pages 6-7).

    Data from MiEJScreen or other environmental justice screening tools can be used to support these descriptions. There is not a threshold qualifying MiEJScreen score.

Budget and financial considerations

  • We encourage applicants to budget for 10% indirect costs, even if the applicant has a federally negotiated indirect cost rate that is higher than 10%.

    Per EGLE department policy for state-funded grants, indirect costs are allowable up to a maximum of 20% of the salary plus fringe costs, and EGLE maintains the right to ask for verification of how indirect rates are determined. Indirect cost rates higher than 10% used for proposed project budgets will be negotiated with EGLE on a case-by-case basis in the award agreement process.

  • No.

    Only expenses for activities that occur after the start date of the grant agreement will be paid. 

  • We encourage grantees to consider prevailing wages for contractors and subcontractors.

    Federal Davis-Bacon Act requirements do not apply to this state-funded grant program.

  • Award amounts may differ from the amounts requested in the proposed budget.

    Final amounts will be determined in the award agreement process.

  • No.

    These grants are intended to fund projects making direct positive impacts for environmental justice communities. 

  • All applicants should attempt to use the budget template.  If the budget template does not support an accurate reflection of your project’s budget, you may choose to use the alternative budget worksheet provided below.  The only difference in the alternative budget worksheet is protections have been removed so applicants can edit as needed. 

    Caveats for using the alternative budget worksheet:

    • Only use the alternative budget worksheet if you have moderate comfort with Excel, including Excel formulas. Use of this worksheet has a higher chance for error than use of the original budget template since protections have been removed.
    • Make sure to carry over formulas for any added rows or columns as appropriate.
    • Take care to keep all budget category names unaltered, and do not add any subcategories. These are mandatory categories for EGLE grants.
    • Explain your reasoning for using the alternative budget worksheet within your budget narrative.

    Alternative budget worksheet (Excel file)

Award selection and announcements 

  • The required MiEJScreen report will help application reviewers to understand the environmental justice context of the proposed project location. Points will not be awarded specifically based on MiEJScreen scores for the impacted community.

    Applications will be scored according to the scoring table on page four of the MI EJ Impact Grant Program Guide.  

  • Applications will be reviewed and scored by members of the Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate staff, as well as EGLE staff and staff from other State of Michigan departments with appropriate expertise in the four project categories.

  • We plan to announce awards in early September 2024. 

Post-award processes

  • The reporting requirements will be detailed in each grant award agreement.

    An example reporting scheme could include submitting quarterly or semi-annual progress reports, financial status reports to claim reimbursements, and supporting documentation of eligible grant expenses. The specific timing of required reports will depend upon project needs and State year-end closing procedures.

Category-specific questions

Category A: Community improvement projects designed to improve public health

  • Applications for Category A projects should define the improved public health outcomes that their project is designed to achieve and should adequately describe how the proposed community improvement project will lead to those outcomes.  

  • Applications should adhere to the appropriate best practices for the type of project being proposed.

    If your proposed project would typically warrant engineering plans or similar technical documents, please include those with your application. 

  • We encourage those seeking funding for lead service line replacement to pursue the larger and more comprehensive resources for this type of project, such as the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

Category B: Non-regulatory monitoring of pollution

  • Yes.

    Responses to the category-specific questions must detail the proposed methodology.

Category C: School indoor air quality improvements

  • Awarded applicants will receive State of Michigan indoor air quality assessments for the facilities included in the project.

    These assessments will be initiated by the Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate and fulfilled by state-contracted providers. 

    Further details will be determined in the grant award agreement process.

  • No.

    Only licensed childcare or daycare providers can apply.

  • Yes.

Category D: Blighted or contaminated site cleanup/redevelopment

  • The property owner – whether public or private property – needs to be included in the application.

    Applications should include documentation of permission from the property owner to do any proposed work.

  • Yes.

    Cleanup or redevelopment of private property affected by blight or contamination can be funded.

  • Previous cleanup work would not categorically affect site eligibility.

    Potential considerations related to previous cleanup work will be reviewed according to the specifics of the proposed project.

Technical assistance for applications

  • Please apply! We encourage all applicants who understand their projects to align with the project categories and program purpose to apply. The project workplan should connect their project to expected category-aligned outcomes from project activities.

    If you have specific questions not covered in the Program Guide or other application materials please email them to HutchensK1@Michigan.gov or EGLE-EnvironmentalJustice@Michigan.gov, or call Kate Hutchens, EJ Project Coordinator, at 517-599-3904.

    The Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate staff is able to clarify eligibility and application processes, and not able to consult on competitiveness or fit of specific proposals.

  • Yes.

    There are no requirements beyond standard intellectual property rights regarding who authors or submits the grant application materials. The application form must include an authorized signature from the applicant entity.

  • The Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate staff is able to clarify eligibility and application processes, and not able to consult on competitiveness or fit of specific proposals.

    Appendix F of the MI EJ Impact Grant Program Guide includes a non-exhaustive list of TA providers and resources.

    In addition to that list, please note these TA providers.

    Environmental Protection Network (EPN)

    The EPN’s pro bono Capacity-Building Technical Assistance Program provides assistance to communities; NGOs; and state, local, and tribal agencies disproportionately impacted by environmental and health issues. The EPN’s network of volunteers assists organizations to more effectively and meaningfully participate in government decision-making by helping them navigate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, potential grants, regulatory processes, federal policies, and publicly available data to support their work.

    Contacts

     

About the EJ Impact Grant program

  • EJ Impact Grants were funded through the State of Michigan 2024 fiscal year budget.

    There are no federal funds connected to this program.

  • This is one-time funding included in the state budget. 

  • There may possibly be a second round of awards if all funds are not awarded in this round.