About Flourishing in Community

Flourishing in Community is part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program. Our goal is to empower frontline communities to lead efforts for environmental and climate justice in EPA’s Region 2—New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

By leveraging Fordham University's infrastructure, faculty expertise, and commitment to public impact research, Flourishing in Community provides grants to community-based organizations, prioritizing rural, remote, coastal, and urban areas, as well as low-income and communities of color. The initiative features a participatory, community-led governance structure, and we offer grant recipients support services including mentorship and research or technical assistance.

Fordham’s Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) is taking a three-pronged approach to best support your needs.

  • Flourishing in Community is aligned with the U.S. government’s Justice40 Initiative—which mandates that at least 40% of the benefits of certain federal investments must flow to disadvantaged communities. We direct federal funds to projects benefiting communities who are disproportionately impacted by climate change, pollution, and environmental stressors. 

    Our priorities include:

    1. Workforce development and student success programming to support the green economy 
    2. Capacity-building for grassroots community-based organizations and other groups 
    3. Public and environmental health, with a particular emphasis on air quality and its short- and long-term impacts 
    4. Intersectional projects that advance affordable and sustainable housing, food security, racial justice, and financial security 
    5. Environmental recovery, coastal resilience, and managed retreat projects 
    6. Community access to and revitalization of green spaces, waterways, and underutilized areas
    7. Clean energy transitions 
    8. Biodiversity and conservation 
    9. Sustainable transportation, infrastructure, and design
    10. Sustainable agriculture, food systems, and foodways
  • We collaborate with trusted partners to engage hard-to-reach communities. Our partners include

    • New York Immigration Coalition
    • New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice
    • ConPRmetidos
    • Community Foundation for the Virgin Islands
    • Business Initiative Corporation of New York

    With a participatory governance model and extensive community outreach, Flourishing in Community aims to streamline funding pathways, ensure culturally responsive communications, and foster collaborations for long-lasting impact beyond the grant period. 

    Our strategy is informed by community activations and listening sessions. We seek to recognize the specific needs and goals within each community while addressing commonalities shaped by historic injustices, such as high asthma rates in the South Bronx’s “Asthma Alley” and in Puerto Rico. We also seek to address issues like mass migration, extreme weather events, and workforce challenges to create positive change in EPA Region 2.

  • Fordham’s Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) connects grant recipients to the broader University community, fostering meaningful relationships with diverse faculty members at the School of Law, Gabelli School of Business, Graduate School of Social Service, Graduate School of Education, and in the arts and sciences. 

    Over the past year, CCEL has initiated 27 neighborhood projects, 16 of which specifically address environmental justice issues like air quality, green spaces, farmers markets, community gardens, and food justice, directly benefiting 2,000 Bronx families and indirectly reaching 10,000 more. Through its Global Outreach program, CCEL also extends support to community-led environmental justice projects in St. Thomas and Puerto Rico.