Pathways to Advance Equity in Federal Programs

From the Justice40 initiative, which kicked off in 2021, to the new White House Office of Environmental Justice established in April 2023, President Biden is centering justice in his environmental endeavors. But the road to achieving his goals — namely, to direct 40% of benefits of federal investments to pollution-burdened, economically under-invested communities — is long. There is no single, sure-fire strategy to ensure that investing government dollars will lead to equitable outcomes.

The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) has experience with a wide array of policy tools that can help. In particular, SGC has incorporated several equity-focused features into one unique, bottom-up investment strategy: the Transformative Climate Communities program (TCC). In October 2022, a team of UCLA public policy graduate students set out to create a roadmap for SGC to engage federal agencies and provide support in achieving Justice40 goals. The team set out to identify federal agencies with the most potential to engage in peer-to-peer learning with SGC, as well as programs that could incorporate features of TCC, working toward the ultimate goal of advancing equity in federal programs. Their findings and recommendations are summarized in the report and summary document below.

The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation provided guidance and financial support for this project.


  • Lindsey Cain
  • Lauren Dunlap
  • Maya Gutierrez
  • Sonia Zamora
  • Lana Zimmerman

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