This practical discussion and workshop is geared towards non-profit organizations or community groups desiring information on New York State’s environmental justice policy and the ways in which communities can improve environmental conditions in their neighborhoods. Participants will discuss the relevant laws as well as federal, state, and municipal programs. For example, we will consider current grant opportunities for community-based projects under the federal and state environmental justice policies. We will also discuss the recent grass-roots governance approach using participatory budgeting. The approach (used in NYC and most recently Buffalo) allows residents and community groups to have a say in how discretionary funding is spent in their community. This approach benefits the physical environment, but also creates important social networks, engages residents in the democratic process, and often gives politically disadvantaged populations a “voice at the table.” Lastly, the group will consider the current lack of programs for assessing disparate distributions of environmental toxins and health disparities amongst communities, but will then refocus on practical methods that communities can use to diagnose problems and formulate solutions.