With short notice, Aaron wrote a winning capacity-building grant proposal for the Deep South Center of Environmental Justice (Deep South), resulting in a $2 million grant from one of the country’s largest private foundations. The Gulf Water Justice and Climate Policy Project will bring together communities in the Gulf Coast Region to expand their capacities for climate policy action that tackles a significant, but overlooked, public health concern: community-exposure to hazardous industrial releases that occur during major flood events and storms. Deep South designed this project in recognition of the fact that the impacts of climate change are not felt equally. In the five states of the Gulf Coast Region (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas), the unjust concentration of industrial facilities in and near Black communities exposes residents to toxic pollution and other environmental hazards. This exposure is made worse by the destructive effects of climate change that increases rainfall and supercharges hurricanes, which increase the risks of facility accidents and the migration of toxic substances from industrial sites to nearby homes and schools via storm water. There is, however, no regional response that protects Black and other communities of color, who are disproportionately exposed to the double-disaster of a major storm and industrial hazard.
We are a trusted partner of Deep south, because we share the same values, and because our team gets results. This grant represents our third success in as many attempts. What are the key components to an effective partnership, between a service provider like us an client like Deep South? We think they include: trust, identifying and leveraging existing assets, genuine collaboration, and the willingness to be open and honest with each other.