Last spring, the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Environmental Philanthropy (InDEEP initiative) released a report, based on confidential interviews with 14 BIPOC leaders, that offered recommendations on how philanthropy can more effectively support BIPOC leaders in environmental justice.

To contextualize that data, NPQ spoke with two leaders referred to us by the study authors—Ángel Peña, president of Nuestra Tierra (Our Land) Conservation Project in New Mexico, and Aasia Mohammad Castañeda, community partnership manager at the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC). Below are highlights of their stories:

As Peña explains, the organization he leads, Nuestra Tierra, is new, launched only in 2017. Based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the organization was at first a one-person shop. Today, its budget remains modest, but is sufficient to support a staff of four.  The organization centers its work around helping youth get access to outdoor activities, building community (especially helping to organize environmental justice coalitions), and preserving land.

One highlight of the group’s work has been the campaign to create an Outdoor Equity Fund. Passed by the New Mexico legislature in 2019, the program helped “a couple of thousand” of children to experience organized outdoor activities in 2020; Nuestra Tierra is now supporting a national campaign, called Outdoor FUTURE (Fund for Under-Represented Tribal Urban and Rural Equity), to create a similar national program. In terms of land preservation, a current active campaign involves an effort to get Castner Range declared a national monument.

Read the full article about environmental justice by Steve Dubb at Nonprofit Quarterly.