(Washington, DC – March 29, 2022) Environmental Defense Fund and the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) are partnering to provide local governments with the expertise and funding needed to develop climate-resilient infrastructure projects.The inaugural EDF Fellowship for Environmental Justice and Climate Equity is a two-year, $250,000 grant investment providing capacity support for AAMA mayors and collaborates with EDF to best position mayors to connect local infrastructure projects with climate and environmental justice goals.
“This is the kind of partnership needed to spur co-created, community-driven solutions that are critical to solving the climate crisis. The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report specifically identified the need to encourage government at all levels working alongside communities. Climate-resilient development is enabled when we prioritize risk reduction, equity and justice,” said Heather McTeer Toney, Vice President for Community Engagement at EDF. “It’s our hope that other organizations will see the benefits of collaboration and join us in making sure these partnerships grow and expand.”
In support of AAMA and EDF’s shared interests in improving the health and well-being of communities most impacted by environmental injustices, AAMA will use the grant funds to select a fellow to support capacity-building in the areas of public health, climate, environmental justice advocacy and clean energy initiatives in the petrochemical corridor – an 85-mile stretch of land that runs alongside the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans that is home to more than 150 petrochemical plants and refineries.
AAMA CEO Phyllis Dickerson stated, “African American Mayors are leaders on the frontlines of climate change and environmental justice. At the same time, they serve centers of innovation and are the decision-makers for infrastructure development on the local level. This fellowship will be an excellent way to equip mayors with even more knowledge and resources to create solutions that their communities need and deserve.”