Enhancing Environmental Improvement in EJ Communities

Interface images of the Climate Equity project Made by Munsters designed and developed.


Last year our team, in collaboration with MG Strategy + Design and BW Research, designed and developed a platform for the Clean Air Task Force’s (CATF) Climate Equity Initiative called Climate Equity. 

This pilot program was crafted to tackle the challenges faced by communities and community organizations in accessing crucial information. This spans from federal and state programs beneficial to communities to opportunities for securing funding to address essential needs. The tool also incorporates information sharing within and between communities.

“Climate Equity and the Clean Energy Transition is a multi-year project designed to promote a shift from the current binary and often adversarial status quo between environmental justice and low-income communities, and the clean energy industry and climate advocates to a more productive, cooperative, and constructive engagement, leading to a truly “just” transition for underserved communities and achievement of our mid-century climate change goals.”

— CATF on the goal of the project

Our team spearheaded the conceptualization and creation of the web application using WordPress as the foundation. Collaborating with stakeholders, community leaders, and internal staff, we identified a range of challenges routinely encountered by communities. Subsequently, we formulated strategies to address these issues through the implementation of an online platform.

Key Features In The Pilot

  • Opportunities: A search tool to find funding, requests for information, and more specifically tailored for EJ Communities. BW Research assisted in the database creation for this part of the platform. The pilot only scratched the surface of the opportunities available. We hope to grow this in future iterations.
  • Collaboration: A directory of experts that aims to facilitate collaborative connections among groups and organizations. This will allow EJ Communities to link up with organizations who can help them better position themselves for the opportunities they find.
  • Mapping: A tool to locate your community and offer information about federal and private funding opportunities, that are all tied to data integrated from the  U.S Census and EJ Screen APIs. Our platform helps individuals identify what communities are disadvantaged and what criteria qualifies them as disadvantaged. This helps our system find opportunties that best suit its needs.
  • Pilot Community Case Studies: Overviews of the three communities visited this year by the CATF research teams. These long-form posts help non-EJ Communities or community members understand some of the challenges disadvantaged regions of the U.S. face daily.
  • Knowledge Center: A resource library of how tos and best practices meant to help communities navigate the often complexed and confusing world of government and nongovernment RFPs, RFIs, and funding opportunities.

Our hope is that our contributions to this open-source product will guide communities away from relying on climate solutions that originate externally and often neglect the fundamental needs of their residents. This approach aims to rectify the common deficiencies in policies, programs, and community engagement initiatives, consequently breaking the cycle of perpetuating injustice and inequality.

Currently the project is in closed beta and is available by invite only. We will keep you all posted on its public launch.