Community Environmental Action & Justice Fund

Application Closed (please check back in May 2019)

Notice: the Office of the Attorney General of California has issued regulations that will reduce the number and amount of Justice Fund grants that CEH will be able to make in the future to community- based environmental justice organizations. The Justice Fund will continue unchanged in 2018 and 2019, but may not be available beyond that. For more information, see below.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) 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 scroll to the bottom of this document for all applicable links.

Our victories in these lawsuits sometimes force polluters to pay settlements to our organization. In the past when the Attorney General’s regulations allowed us to do so, 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 grants we disburse in 2018 will come from settlements paid to CEH in cases from 2016 and earlier.

The majority of Justice Fund grants will range in size from $250 – $5,000. To date since 2002, we have made over 115 grants totaling about $610,000 to support critical environmental justice work across California.

The Justice Fund grants are a portion of the settlement funds we received in past cases we filed under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (also known as Proposition 65). Until 2016, CEH shared settlements from all of our Prop 65 cases with environmental justice advocates in California.

But on October 1, 2016, the Office of the Attorney General of the State of California issued new regulations that restrict the funds from these cases to uses that “address the same public harm as that allegedly caused by the defendant(s) in the [original Prop 65] case.” Because many of our cases focus on toxics in consumer products rather than other issues that environmental justice advocates prioritize for themselves, the Attorney General’s decision will greatly reduce the funds that we can share with environmental justice communities. (In our cases on air and water pollution, we continue to share settlement funds directly with the affected communities.)

Note: CEH still holds funds that we intend to share with Environmental Justice advocates from settlement payments received in prior years. We project that in 2018 and 2019 we will be able to continue to make grants to grassroots environmental justice organizations in the way we always have. However, current Justice Fund grantees should note and plan for the fact that this fund will likely not be available after 2019.

Justice Fund 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.

To be considered for funding during the current grant cycle, please submit your application and all supporting materials by May 30, 2018. Current Grantees are also required to submit a brief feedback form when submitting an application.

Applications will be accepted the following ways:

  1. Online application form at  (preferred method)
  2. By email (one consolidated PDF file, if possible) to Christina Medina at
  3. PDF Application
  4. Hard copy via USPS mail at:
    Center for Environmental Health – Justice Fund
    2201 Broadway, Suite 302
    Oakland, CA 94612

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 May 30, 2018 deadline.

The Center for Environmental Health’s aspires 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 in 2018, please complete your evaluation form early and submit it with your new application. Please share photographs that show your work or your staff in action.


Grantee List

Succes Stories