Frequently Asked Questions

Justice 40

    On January 27, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14008, creating the federal Justice40 Initiative. This effort is a federal policy intended to deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits from Federal investments in climate and clean energy to “disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.” Climate and clean energy investments were broadly defined to include: 

    • clean energy and energy efficiency; 
    • clean transit; 
    • affordable and sustainable housing;
    • training and workforce development; 
    • the remediation and reduction of legacy pollution; 
    • and the development of critical clean water infrastructure. 

    On July 20, 2021, the Office of Management and Budget issued interim guidance to help Federal agencies deliver on the Justice40 Initiative. Various Federal agencies started working on their specific implementation plans, and 21 agencies were identified for a pilot program that fast-tracked their implementation. In January 2023, the White House issued additional guidance and delivered a screening tool to help agencies identify disadvantaged communities and develop their “covered programs” (programs that fall within the scope of the Justice40 Initiative). 

    More information about the Biden Administration’s Justice40 Initiative can be found on the White House website.

    The federal government defined disadvantaged communities to be those that are underserved and overburdened by climate change, energy, health, housing, legacy pollution, transportation, water and wastewater, and workforce development. Explore the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) to identify disadvantaged communities.

    The Justive40 Accelerator recognizes that centuries of structural racism, environmental injustice, and inequitable systems persist today. These systems especially affect Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian-American & Pacific Islander communities and other People of Color. As a result, these communities have been disadvantaged and are now facing the brunt of the climate crisis while still facing extensive barriers to implementing their climate solutions.

    We are a climate justice partnership radically reimagining present government resource delivery systems. The Justice40 Accelerator seeks to uplift climate justice initiatives from Black and other historically disinvested communities of Color. Through a 12-month cohort experience, the Justice40 Accelerator supports climate and environmental justice organizations in building their capacity, partnerships, and readiness to access government funding to implement community-designed solutions. Participants in the Justice40 Accelerator have access to a suite of offerings and opportunities for active, voluntary participation to support the process of learning about and preparing to apply for government funding. Learn more on our About page.

    No. The Justice40 Accelerator is completely independent of the federal Justice40 Initiative or any other government programs. It is designed to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) led nonprofits, non-governmental organizations, and fiscally sponsored initiatives working at the frontlines of environmental crises and advancing community-driven climate solutions to better access government funding opportunities.

    In the U.S., BIPOC communities are disproportionately harmed by the compounding impacts of racism, poverty, and the climate crisis. Being closest to the problems, these communities innovate bold and practical climate justice solutions, yet their climate solutions are under-recognized and underfunded.

    Today, far less than 4% of climate philanthropy is deployed for equitable solutions, let alone for the BIPOC-led, frontline organizations at the forefront of innovation. The U.S. Government also faces significant gaps in resourcing communities of Color and investing directly in BIPOC-led groups’ community programs. The Justice40 Accelerator focuses on these BIPOC-led groups to address this gap.

    The Accelerator is designed to meet organizations’ climate projects where they are to help them become eligible and gain a competitive edge for public funding. We support organizations in building their capacity, partnerships, and readiness. Over 12 months, the Accelerator provides project development support and technical assistance to cohort members.

    Accelerator participants will receive:

    • Training on public grant requirements, federal proposal requirements, and management/reporting  
    • A digest of relevant federal, state, and local government funding opportunities
    • Invitations to calls with federal agency staff to learn about opportunities and to share feedback
    • Support with federal grant registration and requisite policies
    • Support to formulate identified projects with pre-project development, including research and data, capacity-building partners, project design, and evaluation planning
    • Assessment of internal capacity and matching to technical assistance offerings 
    • Grant writing and grant submission support
    • Peer spaces to share learnings, challenges, and resources
    • Post-award management systems guidance
    • A $25,000 unrestricted grant intended to help support organization’s staff participation during the Accelerator
    • A $2,500 technological stipend



    Yes. We offer a curated list of open funding opportunities for a range of public grants available for eligible organizations advancing climate justice solutions on our website. We also share tools and resources created by experts we trust for organizations seeking to navigate the public funding process on their own.

    If your organization is interested in supporting the Justice40 Accelerator as a funder or Technical Assistance provider (paid or in-kind) learn more by visiting our Support page

    We are looking for organizations with a deep commitment to racial equity and supporting our cohort members in a restorative way.


    Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status, fiscally sponsored projects, and cooperatives based in the U.S., including sovereign lands located within the U.S. and its territories, are eligible to apply. Applying projects should have a majority of BIPOC that reflects the communities it serves in leadership. Applicants should also already have identified a project you plan to pursue during the cohort.

    At this time, you are not eligible to apply if you are a(n):

    • Higher education institution
    • Public housing organization
    • Nonprofit organization that does not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS or a fiscal sponsor
    • Federal or state-recognized tribal governments
    • For-profit organization
    • Small business
    • Individual
    • Applicant outside of the U.S. or U.S. designated territories

    Yes. Applicants that are designated under federal tax laws as a cooperative or as a Subchapter T entity may apply for the Justice40 Accelerator. In these cases, there will be a requirement that the project provides a report stating that the funding provided by the Justice40 Accelerator was used for 501(c)(3) charitable purposes.

    The Justice40 Accelerator supports community-based and community-led groups/organizations working at the frontlines of environmental crises. 

    We are looking for applications from groups that have:

    1. A project that addresses Justice40 Initiative covered programs (climate change resilient infrastructure, clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transportation, sustainable agriculture, and food systems*, affordable and sustainable housing, the remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, critical clean water and waste infrastructure, and training and workforce development related to any of the preceding areas); 
    2. Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) leadership and serve BIPOC-majority communities; 
    3. Interest and ability to participate in the Accelerator offerings during the established timeline; and, 
    4. Interest and intent to apply, with Accelerator assistance, for public funds during that time.

    If you fit this criteria, we encourage you to apply! 

    *Agriculture and food systems are not a covered program under the Justice40 Initiative. However, we still invite projects focused on this to apply, given the amount of public funding available and the Accelerator track record of successfully winning these grants.

    No. The Accelerator is only able to support organizations and projects that are located in and benefiting communities within the United States and U.S. designated territories.


    We understand that organizations may have multiple project ideas, but please select and describe one project in the application. If an applicant is invited to join the Accelerator they can discuss their different project opportunities and weigh how best to use the TA and seek funding for those.

    No. We are only accepting applications from new organizations so they can take advantage of the Accelerator.

Application Process

    Organizations can learn more about the application process for becoming a cohort member by visiting our Application page.

    Future Justice40 Accelerator cohorts are dependent on funding available. We expect to source our fourth cohort in 2024-25 from our current waitlist. At this time, open applications will resume in 2025 for our fifth cohort scheduled for 2025-26.

    Former Accelerator cohort members are reviewers for subsequent application cycles. This means that applications are assessed by peers who understand both the unique strengths of frontline groups and the kinds of projects that find the greatest success in the Justice40 Accelerator.

    Reviewers will be looking for projects that are:

    • Clearly defined, address local conditions, and build on existing work of the applicant/s 
    • Address a climate-related impact due to under-investment or legacy impacts from local or regional inequities and/or climate change exacerbating economics
    • Informed by community priorities and guided by established community involvement
    • Solutions-oriented and create a public benefit that is resilient and doesn’t contribute to climate change 
    • In need of capacity-building assistance provided by the Accelerator

    A group of organizations working together on a project may apply for the Accelerator under that project. We ask that one organization be designated to apply on behalf of the coalition and commit to distributing the technical assistance support and funds per internally agreed arrangements. The Solutions Project, the fiscal conduit of the Accelerator, will make only one $27,500 payment per application and disburse the grant funds to the main applicant organization. Our guidance is that collaborating organizations submit one application for their shared project.

    If coalitions or partnerships can clearly delineate different projects, then we recommend separate applications for the respective projects, for example, 1) solar power infrastructure for a community center, and 2) greywater system installation for the adjoining community garden.

    If you plan on applying as a coalition or are considering submitting two separate applications for two separate but related projects, please contact the Accelerator team to discuss your proposal at

    For consistency and fairness, all applicants are required to submit a Justice40 Accelerator application to be considered. We understand that this can be burdensome. During open application cycles we will share tips on how to streamline your efforts. For example, please feel free to copy and paste from other previously prepared documents where it makes sense. Please also feel free to reach out to our team to see if there are ways that we can support you in navigating the application process at

Cohort Requirements

    We ask that applicants ensure that they can commit to fully participating in and taking advantage of the learnings, peer and federal agency calls, and technical assistance (preferably funding leadership, such as development staff or leadership). Time requirements for Accelerator participation will vary depending on the tailored offerings each participant decides to take advantage of.  Expect to spend at least four hours per month on Accelerator offerings over the course of 12 months. 

    Those organizations applying for federal grants should expect a higher time commitment, which will include time spent on preparing a proposal and other Justice40 federal funding application time requirements.

    There are no reporting requirements associated with participation in the Accelerator cohorts.