Bezos Earth Fund Awards $40M for Climate Justice and Green Jobs, Meet the Father of Environmental Justice

by | Oct 20, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

The Bezos Earth Fund awards $40 million for climate justice and green jobs, plus meet the Father of Environmental Justice, Dr. Robert D. Bullard!



Here at The Climate Daily, we profiled, Hazel M. Johnson—the mother of environmental justice.  She fought for clean air and water on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois by empowering, educating, and organizing her community in Altgeld Gardens, until her death in 2011.

Today, we’re going to introduce you to the father of environmental justice, Dr. Robert D. Bullard. He’s the author of 18 books on sustainable development, urban land use, community reinvestment and environmental racism, including co-authoring, The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities.

He is the former Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University 2011-2016. In February 2021, the Houston Endowment awarded a $1.25 million grant to support establishment of the Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice (CECJ) at Texas Southern University in Houston.  

The Center assists and supports underrepresented and marginalized populations to build healthy, sustainable and resilient communities in the era of climate change. Professor Bullard currently is Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at the center that bears his name. Prior to coming to TSU he was founding Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University.

He’s also co-chair of National Black Environmental Justice Network. Dr. Bullard also is co-founder of the HBCU Climate Change Consortium, and he is a Marine Corps Veteran. Oorah!

In 2018, the Global Climate Action Summit named Dr. Bullard one of 22 Climate Trailblazers.  In 2019, Apolitical named him one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy, Washington State University honored him with the William Julius Wilson Award for the Advancement of Justice

Dr. Bullard is also a 2020, UNEP’s Champions of the Earth Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Champions of the Earth is the UN’s highest environmental honor, recognizing outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have a transformative impact on the environment.

DEEPER DIVE: Dr. Robert Bullard, Twitter, NBEJN,Hazel M. Johnson



Speaking of environmental justice, last month the Bezos Earth Fund awarded $4 million to Texas Southern University (TSU) to support the Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice. The Fund’s grant will continue groundbreaking environmental justice initiatives led by Dr. Robert Bullard, a distinguished TSU professor known as the “father of environmental justice.”

In a statement released by TSU president Lesia L. Crumpton-Young, “TSU is proud to have our Bullard Center included in this critical environmental justice work and we are grateful for such generous support from the Bezos Earth Fund. Congratulations to Dr. Bullard.”

The Bezos Earth Fund was launched in 2020 and is a $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and private-sector entities that are taking critical action to combat the climate crisis, preserve and protect the natural world, and support climate justice.

Dr. Bullard, founder of the Center for Environmental and Climate Justice, said “This grant will enhance the Bullard Center and our partners’ capacity to develop ‘roadmaps’ for directing much-needed Justice40 and infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities that historically have been left behind. It will also create a rapid response team of experts and professionals to perform ‘quick-strike’ support to our most vulnerable and marginalized communities where structural inequality and systemic racism pose equal access challenges to Justice40 benefits, funding and investments.” 

Justice40 is a federal effort to ensure that government agencies work with states and local communities to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.

DEEPER DIVE: Bezos Earth Fund , Dr. Bullard



Not sure if the stinging mocking Jeff Bezos received for his space cowboy shenanigans over the summer influenced him, but his Bezos Earth Fund recently granted $20 million across four climate justice groups. It’s also made a pledge of an additional $130 million by the end of 2021. 

Recipient organizations are creating the building blocks for Justice40 — a whole-of-government effort in the U.S. to deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.

They include the Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University ($4 million), the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice ($4 million), the Partnership for Southern Equity ($6 million), and WE ACT for Environmental Justice ($6 million).

These groups are increasing community access to the Justice40 decision-making process, encouraging front-line organizations to apply for Justice40 funding, assisting in the monitoring of implementation of Justice40 to local levels, and expanding a partnership with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) into 12 southern states.

Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said, “We appreciate that the Bezos Earth Fund has made a strong commitment to advancing climate justice with the understanding that those advances cannot be achieved without supporting grassroots front-line organizations that represent and mobilize the most affected residents to engage in the solutions that can work. With this robust support, we will be able to work with other environmental justice groups to advise and monitor the distribution and implementation of Justice40 funds at the local and federal levels in order to help ensure that Justice40 funds reach the communities for which they are intended.”

Andrew Steer, president of the Bezos Earth Fund, added, “The link between climate action, good jobs, and human health can no longer be denied.”

DEEPER DIVE: PR NewsWire, Bezos Earth Fund, PSEquity, DSCEJ, WeACT, Justice40



According to a recent press release from PR Newswire, the Bezos Earth Fund just distributed another series of grants totaling $20 million dollars to two organizations helping communicate accurately about the positive impacts of smart action against climate change.

There is sufficient evidence that links smart climate action to jobs creation, health and overall well-being. $15 Million was given to Climate Power and $5 Million was given to the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Climate Power is an independent strategic communications and paid media operation focused on building the political will and public support for bold climate action. 

The League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) works to turn environmental values into national, state and local priorities. 

The Bezos Earth Fund is Jeff Bezos’s $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs and other actors that will drive climate and nature solutions. The goal of the Bezos Earth Fund is to fully disburse all ten billion by 2030—the date by which the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved. 

DEEPER DIVE: PR NewsWire, Bezos Earth Fund, LCVEF, Climate Power