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EPA awards grants to local communities in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin

Contact Information: 
Joshua Singer (

CHICAGO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will award Environmental Justice Small Grants to Near Northwest Neighborhood, Inc. in South Bend, Ind., Refugee Development Center in Lansing, Mich., Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership in Warren, Ohio, and Midwest Environmental Justice Organization in Madison, Wisc.

EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants program provides funding of up to $30,000 per year for non-profit and tribal organizations to partner with stakeholders in industry, government, and academia to help communities understand and address exposure to environmental harms and risks.

Near Northwest Neighborhood, Inc., will work to address high rates of lead exposure among children in the Near Northwest Neighborhood of South Bend. By partnering with the local health department, the organization will provide lead education and screening opportunities to families in the neighborhood with children under the age of 7. Outreach and education will be conducted through a variety of efforts including going door-to-door, holding public meetings, and engaging with local schools and churches, in a community where many residents live below the poverty line.

Refugee Development Center seeks to reduce the high rates of lead exposure among children in Lansing. Many of the children who test for high blood-lead levels in Lansing are refugees and live in rental properties. RDC will develop print, web, and video materials to educate refugee families on home lead hazards. Materials will be available in six refugee languages to reach a variety of populations. At least 50 refugee residents will pilot test film, booklets, and web materials to be used subsequently in educational home visits.

Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership will create an educational initiative in Warren to reduce exposure to potential soil contamination from former industrial activities. The initiative includes creating a curriculum of best practices for re-purposing vacant land through urban agriculture, recreation or other means. Educational materials will be distributed before, during, and after nearby demolitions; and during the launch or continued re-use of vacant land for food production or recreational use.

Midwest Environmental Justice Organization will develop an interactive watershed mapping tool and educate people about stormwater risks to reduce pollution to Starkweather Creek in Madison. The creek has been degraded from urbanization, airport and industrial waste discharges and stormwater runoff. The project will also engage with minority subsistence fishers in the area about contaminated fish consumption concerns. By hosting community meetings, in-person discussions, and using current EPA stormwater materials, the project will educate and recruit people to help reduce creek pollution.

More information about EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants Program: