Expanding Community Tree Equity and Sustainability

America’s under-resourced urban communities have historically borne the brunt of environmental hazards and lacked their fair share of resources to support green infrastructure and climate resilience. With an unprecedented level of federal funding for urban greening and infrastructure recently made available by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), it is vital to ensure accountability to all citizens as these funds are distributed.

In 2011, PolicyLink, a Black-founded and -led equity policy organization, in partnership with the Latino-led USC Equity Research Institute, developed the National Equity Atlas, a powerful data platform for supporting civic leaders and policymakers with actionable data and strategies to advance racial equity and shared prosperity. 

Through robust data analysis, PolicyLink and ERI can identify areas that are being least served by federal programs and help launch efforts to accelerate policies and accountability measures that will help narrow the climate and infrastructure gaps in the urban greening arena.

With support from the Bezos Earth Fund, PolicyLink and ERI will add environmental justice indicators to the Atlas to support urban greening and climate resilience initiatives in underserved communities and will support community leaders and policymakers in Los Angeles and Atlanta track federal urban greening investments and investments in infrastructure designed to increase tree canopy, reduce air pollution, and expand urban green space. PolicyLink will partner with LA-based Earth Fund grantees TreePeople and the Urban Trees Initiative and Atlanta-based grantee Partnership for Southern Equity.

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