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April 13, 2023

Wichita State University to Serve as New Technical Assistance Center to Help Communities Across Midwest Access Historic Investments to Advance Environmental Justice

EPA seal

LENEXA, KAN. (APRIL 13, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of Wichita State University to serve as a new Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center (EJ TCTAC) to help Midwestern communities access funding opportunities to advance environmental justice. The university will serve communities throughout EPA Region 7, which consists of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

Wichita State University (WSU) is one of 17 EJ TCTACs, announced in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), that will receive $177 million to help underserved and overburdened communities across the country access funds from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, including historic investments to advance environmental justice. Each of the TCTACs will receive at least $10 million to remove barriers and improve accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns.

“Wichita State University has worked with EPA Region 7 for many years, and we’re thrilled to build upon that partnership to better serve those here in the Heartland who need it most,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “This new center will provide communities throughout Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska with the training, guidance, and technical assistance needed to make the most of EPA’s historic funding opportunities.”

“The Environmental Finance Center at Wichita State University is excited to start supporting communities and organizations in our four states as they tackle environmental justice and energy justice challenges close to home,” said WSU EFC Director Tonya Bronleewe. “We have a strong team of partners who are ready to connect with local champions to start this important work.”

EJ TCTACs will provide training and other assistance to build capacity for navigating federal grant application systems, writing strong grant proposals, and effectively managing grant funding. In addition, these centers will provide guidance on community engagement, meeting facilitation, and translation and interpretation services for limited English-speaking participants, thus removing barriers and improving accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns. Each of the TCTACs will also create and manage communication channels to ensure that all communities have direct access to resources and information.

EPA will deliver these resources in collaboration with DOE, whose funding allows the EJ TCTACs to provide support for identifying community opportunities for clean energy transition and financing options, including public-private partnerships supporting clean energy demonstration, deployment, workforce development, and outreach opportunities that advance energy justice objectives.

The formation of the EJ TCTACs is in direct response to feedback from communities and environmental justice leaders who have long called for technical assistance and capacity-building support for communities and their partners as they work to access critical federal resources. The 17 centers will provide comprehensive coverage for the entire United States through a network of over 160 partners including community-based organizations, additional academic institutions, and Environmental Finance Centers, so that more communities can access federal funding opportunities like those made available through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

In addition to WSU, EPA has selected 13 other organizations to serve as EJ TCTACs, along with their partners:

  • University of Connecticut
  • West Harlem Environmental Action Inc.
  • Inter-American University of Puerto Rico-Metro Campus
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
  • Research Triangle Institute
  • Blacks in Green
  • University of Minnesota
  • New Mexico State University
  • University of Arizona
  • San Diego State University
  • Willamette Partnership
  • University of Washington

EPA has also selected three national EJ TCTACs that will provide additional assistance across the country, with particular capacity to assist tribes, including:

  • International City/County Management Association
  • Institute for Sustainable Communities
  • National Indian Health Board

Additional award information for each selectee will be announced in summer 2023.


The EJ TCTAC program is part of the Federal Interagency Thriving Communities Network and delivers on the Biden-Harris administration’s Justice40 Initiative to ensure that 40% of the benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities. The new TCTACs will help ensure that communities with environmental justice concerns can access President Biden’s historic investments in America to address generational disinvestment, legacy pollution, infrastructure challenges, and build a clean energy economy that will lower energy costs, strengthen our energy security, and meet our climate goals.

Today’s announcement builds on the $100 million announced earlier this year under the Environmental Justice Government-to-Government Program and the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement Program, with applications due by April 14, 2023. EPA has also announced $550 million through the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program, with applications due by May 31, 2023.

Learn more about the selectees, their partners, and the EJ TCTAC program.

Learn more about environmental justice at EPA.

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