How we do our work
Since the Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS in February 2018, we has raised about $110,000 and disbursed almost $90,000 to environmental justice causes in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. The IACJ does not have administrative overhead or paid staff; with the exception of modest fees for web maintenance, all funds go directly to those who need them. We employ non-hierarchical organizing strategies and consult with a variety of voices around the region to determine collectively how funds are distributed.
Who have we funded?
These are a few of the many individuals, families, and organizations we have assisted:
Union Hill, Va.
With the approval of a toxic compressor station fueling the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dominion Energy is about to start the process of undermining the African-American community of Union Hill in Buckingham County, Va., including the historic Union Hill and Union Grove Baptist churches. Union Hill is an 85 percent African-American community on land that was once part of Variety Shade Plantation. Human chattel there labored to produce tobacco and many lay buried today in unmarked graves. Today, as more and more people come to support Union Hill, the churches are struggling financially as it welcomes large numbers of supporters from around the United States.
Climate change-induced disaster relief
In the wake of Hurricane Florence, residents of North Carolina faced significant flooding and power outages. Robeson County, N.C., and the surrounding area were especially hard hit. The region is the ancestral home of many Native American tribes and the home of the Lumbee, the largest tribe east of the Mississippi River. The county also is the designated terminus of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, another example of environmental racism by the fossil fuel industry. Working with volunteers there, the IACJ assisted the indigenous community with funds for food, water, medical supplies, and home repairs.
For more than two seasons and 21 episodes, the End of the Line Podcast has documented the stories and history of people resisting ecological devastation along the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. Created and produced by long-time activist Whitney Whiting, EOTL airs on radio station WRIR in Richmond, Va., and is available on SoundCloud. Costs for travel, editing software, and file hosting, as well as covering this ongoing saga is a fulltime job supported entirely by unpaid volunteers.
Preparing leaders for the continuing environmental justice movement is essential to its success, and among the key providers of that is the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, who organize on eight campuses across Virginia. Among its activities are a summer organizing program and several training weekends during the year.
Supporting families and individuals committed to non-violent civil disobedience
Along with lobbying, legislative, and judicial attempts to protect the environment, non-violent civil disobedience plays an important role as well in resistance to fossil-fuel infrastructures. This year, activists climbed into tree sits in the path of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipeline, sometimes for weeks at a time, and mounted blockades of constructions sites. As activists are arrested as part of this important witness, they incur legal fees and court costs.