Environmental Justice Resourcing Collective Redistributes $31.75 Million to BIPOC-Led Organizations

The Kataly Foundation
4 min readAug 24, 2021


The Environmental Justice Resourcing Collective (EJRC) at the Kataly Foundation is proud to announce it has redistributed $31.75 million to 78 organizations across the country. Grantees will receive the funds over a span of five years.

The EJRC was established at the Kataly Foundation in 2020. A collective of nine women of color, the EJRC is comprised of leaders who have a long history of engagement in intersectional environmental and social justice work in communities of color.

Members of the Environmental Justice Resourcing Collective (from top left): Gloria Walton, Dara Cooper, Andrea Cristina Mercado, Enei Begaye, Colette Pichon Battle, Miya Yoshitani, Tania Rosario Mendez, Vanessa Daniel, Ozawa Bineshi Albert.

Collectively, the members of the EJRC have established their purpose and priorities: to support work that builds power in communities of color, champions frontline communities, grows progressive movements for racial, social, economic and environmental justice, and is led by and for the communities most impacted by environmental racism, climate impacts, and unjust systems.

“Frontline communities are not only the most impacted by environmental racism — they are also powerful leaders whose work is often made invisible by white-dominant environmental organizations,” said Andrea Mercado, Executive Director at Florida Rising, and a member of the EJRC. “Philanthropy’s long-term, systemic underfunding of work led by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color has undermined movements for climate and racial justice. Our people have solutions and by investing in their leadership with multi-year funding, we are investing in a liberatory and just future for all of us.”

A report by Bridgespan and Echoing Green in 2020 found that of the 164 groups they studied, white-led organizations had budgets 24% larger than those led by people of color. Additionally, a 2019 study by the Association of Black Foundation Executives found that only 23% of the 66 Black-led groups it surveyed had reserves of 3 months or more. The EJRC calls on foundations to disrupt these inequitable funding dynamics and support the self-determination of communities of color by making transformative investments in their work.

In its grantmaking strategy, the EJRC prioritized collective healing, community infrastructure and collective land strategies, and strengthening movement power. Grantees are creating and innovating community-led solutions for climate change, environmental, and economic justice. Some of the strategies grantees are pursuing include challenging private ownership of land and displacement, land reclamation for Indigenous and Black communities, and building alternative and sustainable food systems, regenerative agriculture, and land stewardship. The focus on collective healing is expansive and includes diverse methods such as music, song, and dance, natural medicines, rituals, and other cultural practices. Grantees are also strengthening grassroots community power through integrated voter engagement, leadership development, and advocacy skills in communities of color to win transformative policy at local, state, and national levels.

“In order to identify grantmaking priorities and develop a trust-based strategy for redistributing these funds, we needed to build relationships with each other,” said Colette Pichon Battle, Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, and a member of the EJRC. “Grant applications, site visits, and reporting requirements take up an inordinate amount of movement leaders’ time — time better spent on their brilliant, innovative work. Our process was unique in that we did not require grant applications, and instead relied on our deep knowledge of, and relationships within, the field.”

In an open letter to philanthropy, two members of the EJRC, Vanessa Daniel and Gloria Walton, specifically call on philanthropy to acknowledge “the essential role that people of color-led, movement-accountable foundations play in the larger philanthropic ecosystem.” The EJRC echoes this call for “a significant transfer of resources into the control of institutions where people of color, who are primarily accountable to their communities, have the ultimate decision-making power over where dollars go.”

“Being a practice-based funder, or putting funding decisions in the hands of people who do the work, is a critical part of our ethos at Kataly,” said Nwamaka Agbo, CEO of the Kataly Foundation, and Managing Director of its Restorative Economies Fund. “It is equally important to ensure that the resources the collective has decision making power over are at a meaningful scale. We have entrusted the EJRC with $50 million because these leaders know where resources are most needed and will have the greatest impact.”

To learn more about the organizations receiving grants, as well as the EJRC’s participatory grantmaking process, please join a webinar hosted by the collective on September 29, 2021 at 9 am PST, 12 pm EST. Register here.

For a list of organizations supported by the EJRC, please see their grantee list on the Kataly website: https://www.katalyfoundation.org/#grantees. Please reach out to Marni Rosen (marni@kataly.org) for more information.



The Kataly Foundation

The Kataly Foundation moves resources to support the economic, political, and cultural power of Black and Indigenous people, and all communities of color.